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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. G. Cresy   19 April 1871

Bedford House, | Milton-next-Gravesend,

April 19th. 1871.

My dear Mr. Darwin

I have just been informed of your excessive kindness and liberality to my dear Brother Edwards Widow.1

I together with Mother & sisters feel the benevolence acutely.2 Most unfortunately my father,3 contrary to his general principles, acted in making his Will directly in opposition to the Law of Gavelkind, upon which as a Kentish Man, he used to boast, And strictly entailed all his property, at my mothers death, thereby preventing any of us from benefitting immediately, from our inheritance. I therefore as a hard worked general Med Pract with six youngsters4 & without a penny Capital (being unable to raise on my reversion) could only offer my brothers widow a share of our home, to which she is heartily welcome. The generosity of yourself & other friends have now placed her in an independent position. I have therefore great cause to be grateful to you, and if as the Mouse observed on a memorable occasion I can serve you in any way please give me the pleasurable opportunity,5 sometimes in your laborious investigations, you may require data, which the pursuits of Leech craft yields, should such a requirement arise, please remember that it would be a delight to me, to work out your behests.

Some few years since I gave Edward the history of a rather interesting case, which may be a bit of an illustration of your Grand Theory, I dont know if ever he remembered to hand it to you. A farmer in Suffolk smashed three ribs, they united badly, the case being a bad one, I wont lay all the blame upon the old bone setter who officiated, but by some smal adaption, one rib crossed the other & adhered. Years afterwards the old man came under my care for Organic Disease he lost flesh & the old fracture became more observable; eventually his son came under me, and then I discovered a precisely similar congenital deformity of the same ribs, he was born within 12 months of the fathers accident.6

I hoped to have obtained for you a Leperine, as the fancier who lived here, calls some rabbits, which he declares, he has bred, as follows, he puts a doe rabbit with a male hare he expects, that they connect, but would not breed, he then admits the Buck rabbit, and the progeny partake of some properties of the Hare7   I have made him extensive offers & am this season promised a specimen, I dont trust to the fellow as he is a sporting Character, but he persists in his yarn. Is it probable?.

With Thanks for your goodness | I remain My dear Mr. Darwin | Yours obliged | Theodore Grant Cresy

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Leperine | Ribs | very kind Letter — The loss of your Brother [2 words illeg]pencil


Cresy refers to Edward Cresy (1824–70) and Mary Louis Cresy. See letter from Mary Charlton, 25 March 1871.
Cresy’s mother was Eliza Cresy; his sisters were Adelene and Bertha Cresy.
Edward Cresy (1792–1858).
Courtney, Norman, Bertram, Hubert, Bernard, and Theodora Cresy.
Cresy may refer to the country mouse in Horace’s Satires, Book 2, Satire 6: 77–115.
The farmer, the bonesetter, and the farmer’s son have not been identified.
The rabbit-fancier has not been identified. CD mentioned claims to have produced hare–rabbit (leporine) hybrids in Variation 1: 105, 2: 152 n. 20; see also Correspondence vol. 16.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks for contribution to fund for his brother’s widow.

Letter details

Letter no.
Theodore Grant Cresy
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 252
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7700,” accessed on 21 June 2024,

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