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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. H. Darwin   [14 May 1871]1

14 Arlington St | or rather 6 New [Square]2

Sun. Morn

My dear Father,

I have just come back from a Sunday at Cambridge where I have pretty nearly settled with Pryor3 about our American trip— he had unfortunately half engaged to go with an undergraduate called Everard4 & so we shall have to go 3— Everard is a very nice fellow only quite a boy & it wd have been perhaps rather better without him.— I write now just to say how much jollier we shd be if Frank could go too—but then you know he has got no money;5 he has no idea of going himself & of course I have not stirred him up to wish to go. There was some talk of his coaching a man called Maudsley & he will settle about it very soon.6 Of course if you think it wd be too extravagant & that he wd have plenty of other opportunity of going then there is nothing more to be said. Even if he went Frank might very possibly coach Maudsley till the end of July. Would you answer me pretty soon—please as the Maudlsey scheme must come to a crisis soon.

Balfour & Strutt are both coming down on Saturday & I hope they’ll make themselves pleasant—but Balfour sometimes seems shy & Strutt sometimes silent. How wd it be to ask Sackv. Cecil over to dinner on Sat or Sund, he might possibly come to see two men he knows.—7

I met G. O Trevelyan on Sunday at Jackson’s at breakfast & found him very pleasant.8 Last night there was a great gathering at Pryors at wh. I think that nearly every one I know at the University was present. I hope you are getting on well at Bassett—9

Your affectionate son | G H Darwin

P.S The “Malthus”10 you gave me was 2 old vols. of Brit. Assoc. Trans. but I found a copy in our Club library & so it did’nt make any diffce & I spouted at the debating club all the same11


The date is established by the reference to George’s planned trip to the United States, and by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Francis Darwin, 16 May [1871]. In 1871, the Sunday before 16 May was 14 May. George and Francis Darwin visited the United States from August to October 1871 (see letter to Asa Gray, 16 July [1871]).
In the original manuscript, George drew a square.
Probably Nugent Talbot Everard, a student at Trinity College, Cambridge (Alum. Cantab.).
In the previous year, CD had paid off the debts that Francis Darwin had incurred while a student at Cambridge (see Correspondence vol. 18, letters to Francis Darwin, 18 October [1870] and 5 December [1870]).
Alfred Percival Maudslay was preparing for his examinations in the Natural Sciences Tripos at University of Cambridge (Alum. Cantab.). Francis had completed the examinations for his degree in Natural Sciences in December 1870 (The Times, 19 December 1870, p. 6).
Francis Maitland Balfour, John William Strutt, and Sackville Arthur Cecil had all studied at Trinity College, Cambridge (Alum. Cantab.). Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) records that Balfour, Strutt, and Cecil visited Down on 20 May 1871.
CD was in Bassett, Southampton, from 11 to 19 May (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
The reference is probably to Malthus 1826 (An essay on the principle of population, in two volumes); CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 562–3).
George refers to the Cambridge Union Society; on the history of the society, see Parkinson 2009.


Alum. Cantab.: Alumni Cantabrigienses. A biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900. Compiled by John Venn and J. A. Venn. 10 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1922–54.

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

Malthus, Thomas Robert. 1826. An essay on the principle of population; or, a view of its past and present effects on human happiness; with an inquiry into our prospects respecting the future removal or mitigation of the evils which it occasions. 6th edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Parkinson, Stephen. 2009. Arena of ambition: a history of the Cambridge Union. London: Icon.


Has arranged a trip to the U. S. with Cambridge friends; believes it would be much jollier if Frank could go too.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Howard Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, New Square, 6
Source of text
DAR 210.2: 18
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7757,” accessed on 28 September 2022,

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