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Darwin Correspondence Project

From F. W. Farrar   21 February [1871]1

The Lodge, | Marlborough College

Feb. 21

My dear Sir,

I feel it a very great honour to have received from you a copy of your new work on “The Descent of Man”.2 I shall read it with the deepest interest. The severe exigencies of my daily work leave me no leisure for my thoughts or studies beyond those that affect my immediate duties, but they have not lessened the deep admiration wh I have always felt for your writings, or the honour with wh I have regarded your name.

I have recently been elected Master of Marlborough College. I have not forgotten an anecdote wh. you once gave me about the manner in wh. Science was treated at Shrewsbury in old days.3 I send you the last report of the Nat. Hist. society established among the boys here, to shew you that we do all we can to encourage a taste for observation & for Natural History here. It is my very strong desire to do more for education in science as opportunity offers.4

I am, dear Sir, with many thanks & with the sincerest respect,

Very truly yours | F W Farrar


The year is established by the reference to Descent, which was published 24 February 1871 (Freeman 1977).
Farrar’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for Descent (Appendix IV).
See Correspondence vol. 15, letter to F. W. Farrar, 5 March 1867, and letter from F. W. Farrar, 7 March [1867]. According to CD, his headmaster at Shrewsbury School, Samuel Butler, had called him a ‘pococurante’ (uninterested person) in front of the whole school, and sneered at him for his interest in chemistry.
The report has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL. It was probably the Report of the Marlborough College Natural History Society, for the half-year, ending Christmas, 1870 (Marlborough: printed by C. Perkins). The society had been founded in 1864. The Science Department at the college dates from 1871, when Farrar appointed the first science teacher (Marlborough College Archives).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.


Thanks for copy of Descent.

Letter details

Letter no.
Frederic William Farrar
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Marlborough College
Source of text
DAR 164: 39
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7504,” accessed on 21 January 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19