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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Arthur Mellersh   2 February 1872

Fernhurst | Haslemere

February 2d. | 1872

My dear Darwin,

I am very gratified at receiving the Photograph as well as your kind letter, which I should have answered before but the continued wet had crowded so many shooting engagements into the last few days that I had no time and I am now rather done.1 I had procured your Photo, somewhere in London, but it is not so good as that you sent me which I think is excellent.2 I send mine which I had taken the last time I went to the Levèe;3 I have none in plain clothes some of which were thought to be better. The beard alters me, though I do not think I am so changed as the “Claimant”.4

But I do not think I should know King if I were to meet him.5 I met two years ago the late 1st. Lt. of my last ship the Forte, and could not call his name to mind until he told me, when of course I knew him at once.6 Would not Sergeant Ballantyne like to hear this.7 I am now living in sight of the ruins of the pretty cottage where I was born, and surrounded by land that was my Fathers; and I have managed to buy a “corner of about 40 acres of wood land part of a very old inheritance but I am a tenant of the great Architect Mr. Salvin who builds the ugliest houses I ever saw, though his own is rather pretty.8

His second son Osgood tells me he knows you well, and I think he is a very nice fellow.9

I am my dear Darwin | Yours very sincerely | A. Mellersh


CD’s letter to Mellersh has not been found.
The photograph that CD sent has not been identified, but he sat for Oscar Rejlander in April 1871 and probably ordered some of the photographs in August 1871 (Correspondence vol. 19, letter to Elliott & Fry, 23 April [1871]; CD’s Classed account books (Down House MS)).
Levee: ‘in Great Britain and Ireland, an assembly held (in the early afternoon) by the sovereign or his representative, at which men only are received’ (OED). The photograph has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
Mellersh refers to the Tichborne claimant, a person who, in a series of dramatic legal cases, claimed to be the rightful heir to the Tichborne estates (ODNB s.v. Tichborne claimant).
Mellersh refers to Philip Gidley King; see letter from Arthur Mellersh, 25 January 1872.
Mellersh was in command of the Forte between 1862 and 1864, when he retired. The first lieutenant during this time was George Lyon Tupman (Navy list).
William Ballantine, serjeant-at-law, had appeared on behalf of the Tichborne claimant in 1871 (ODNB).
Anthony Salvin designed his own house, Hawksfold, in Fernhurst (ODNB).
Osbert Salvin mentioned meeting Mellersh in his letter of 21 September 1871 (Correspondence vol. 19).


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

Navy list: The navy list. London: John Murray; Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. 1815–1900.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.

OED: The Oxford English dictionary. Being a corrected re-issue with an introduction, supplement and bibliography of a new English dictionary. Edited by James A. H. Murray, et al. 12 vols. and supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1970. A supplement to the Oxford English dictionary. 4 vols. Edited by R. W. Burchfield. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1972–86. The Oxford English dictionary. 2d edition. 20 vols. Prepared by J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989. Oxford English dictionary additional series. 3 vols. Edited by John Simpson et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993–7.


Exchange of photographs among CD, AM, and Philip G. King.

Letter details

Letter no.
Arthur Mellersh
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 147
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8196,” accessed on 29 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20