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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Horace Darwin   9 January [1874]

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Jan. 9th

My dear old Horace

I heartily rejoice that you have stood the examination without being bad & have done pretty well.— I suppose that you will try what you can do in the harder subjects.—1 If you keep well, I think it wd. be a pity if you were to come to London tomorrow.

Your affectionate Father | Ch. Darwin

Smith & Elder will publish a new Edit. of Coral Reefs. & this I owe wholly to you.—2


Horace was taking the examination for the BA degree in the mathematical tripos at the University of Cambridge. The examination consisted of several parts. On the first three days the basic subjects in geometry and algebra were examined, followed by easier parts of advanced subjects like calculus on the fourth day. There was then an interval of ten days after which those declared to deserve honours were admitted to the rest of the examination. The examination began on the first Monday following 29 December, which in 1874 was 5 January. Horace went on to complete the more advanced part of the examination, which included differential calculus and analytic geometry, and was ranked sixth among senior optimes (second class honours; see Cambridge University calendar 1874).
Horace had told CD about the demand for a new edition of Coral reefs in Cambridge; CD included this information in his letter to Smith, Elder & Co, 17 December [1873] (Correspondence vol. 21).


Cambridge University calendar: The Cambridge University calendar. Cambridge: W. Page [and others]. 1796–1950.

Coral reefs: The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1842.

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


CD is glad Horace has done "pretty well" in his examination.

Smith and Elder will publish new edition of Coral reefs [1874]; thanks HD for aid.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Horace Darwin
Sent from
JA 9 74
Source of text
DAR 185: 3
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9234,” accessed on 7 July 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22