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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. H. Darwin   5 November [1874]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Nov. 5.

My dear George

I did not think you in the least wrong, but I was in despair, as Norman has lately made such slow progress with my M.S. but he writes to day that he has done one of the 2 long chapters, & I have now written to him to finish yours.—2

I was very anxious to get your letter, for in your card you wrote “I think I shall come home Wednesd tomorrow wk” & I read this “tomorrow evening”, & we feared, when you did not appear, that you were very bad.—3 If you do not get much worse it will be a grand triumph, & I rejoice; but you seem rather bad now— Poor mother has been 2 days in bed with very bad cold, but she is no longer feverish.—4

We have put off the Jos’ till Saturday & they will be here till Friday week.—5 I shall be anxious to read your Pol. Econ. M.S. though Heaven knows whether I shall understand it.6

Yours affectly | C. Darwin

We were much interested by your account of the grand assemblage at Trotters’ rooms.7


The year is established by the references to Emma Darwin’s illness and the visit from the Josiah Wedgwoods (see nn. 4 and 5, below).
The letter to Ebenezer Norman and CD’s reply have not been found. George had asked Norman to make a fair copy of one of his manuscripts (see letter from G. H. Darwin, [4 November 1874] and n. 2).
CD refers to the letter from G. H. Darwin, [4 November 1874]; the card from George has not been found. George’s health had been improving for four months (letter from Emma Darwin to Leonard Darwin, 25 November [1874] (DAR 239.23: 1.25)).
Emma recorded in her diary that her cold began on 1 November and confined her to bed on 3, 4, and 5 November 1874 (DAR 242).
Emma recorded in her diary (DAR 242) that ‘Jossi & Harrison’ arrived on Saturday 7 November 1874, and in a letter to Leonard Darwin, 15 November [1874] (DAR 239.23: 1.24), she mentioned that Lucy Caroline Harrison (a daughter of Josiah Wedgwood III) and her husband Matthew James Harrison, together with Josiah Wedgwood III’s family from Leith Hill Place, stayed at Down. They left on Wednesday 11 November (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
George was writing on political economy and thought the topic might be suitable for a lecture he had been invited to give at the Royal Institution of Great Britain (letter to G. H. Darwin, 19 October [1874]). After discussion with CD, George decided to decline the invitation (see letters from Emma Darwin to Leonard Darwin, 15 November [1874] and 25 November [1874] (DAR 239.23: 1.24 and 25)).
The account was probably in the card sent by George (see n. 3, above) that has not been found. The ‘assemblage’ was probably held in the college rooms of Coutts Trotter, lecturer in physical science and senior dean at Trinity College, Cambridge.


Mainly family news.

Eager to read GHD’s political economy MS "though Heaven knows whether I shall understand it".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Howard Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.1: 37
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9712,” accessed on 17 January 2022,

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