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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin   17 [March 1874]1


Dear Charles

The Ballot has gone off all right 206 to 5.2 A great many of your friends put down their names on his card in fact so many that I was rather afraid when Fairie told me the head of the blackballers had asked him if he knew him personally & luckily he had seen him at my house.3 I was rather relieved when Courteney4 (the blackballer) came to me just before the ballot & told me he was going to vote for Henry. There were two Parkers & they helped one another for numbers voted for both they were so bothered to know which was which.5 One poor man the Rugby Mr Green the friend of Dr Hayman got heavily blackballed.6

E. D.


The month and year are established by the date of Henry Parker’s election to the Athenaeum Club in March 1874. See letter to George Bentham, 9 March [1874] and n. 3.
CD and Erasmus’s nephew Henry Parker was elected a member of the Athenaeum Club on 16 March 1874 (see letter to George Bentham, 9 March [1874] and n. 3; Waugh [1888]); candidates were excluded if there was one black ball in ten (Athenæum: rules and regulations, and list of members, p. 9).
Several members of the Courtenay family belonged to the Athenaeum Club (see Waugh [1888]). Erasmus probably refers to either Josceline Courtenay or Henry Reginald Courtenay.
Alfred Traill Parker was also elected to the Athenaeum Club in 1874 (Waugh 1888).
William Charles Green was assistant master of Rugby School. He had been appointed in 1871 by the conservative headmaster Henry Hayman, who was ousted from his post in December 1873 on the unspecified grounds that he was unfit to hold the office. See J. B. H. Simpson 1967, pp. 78 and 87–8. The Athenaeum election coincided with the Chancery proceedings that Hayman had instituted to challenge his dismissal (ODNB). It is possible that Green’s chances of being elected a member of the Athenaeum were affected by the hostility towards Hayman in liberal circles.


Athenæum: rules and regulations, and list of members. London: n.p. 1862.

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.

Simpson, John Barclay Hope. 1967. Rugby since Arnold: a history of Rugby School from 1842. London: Macmillan.

Waugh, Francis Gledstanes. [1888.] Members of the Athenæum Club, 1824 to 1887. N.p.: privately printed.


Reports the balloting [for Henry Parker at the Athenaeum?] went off just right.

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 105: B92
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9365,” accessed on 23 January 2021,

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