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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Lubbock   5 April [1875]1

15, Lombard Street, E.C.

5 April


My dear Mr. Darwin

Having occasion to write to Mr. Ffinden2 about another matter, I incidentally expressed my regret at the coolness between you, & my conviction that it must arise from some misapprehension on his part.

In reply Mr. Ffinden expressed his regret that there should be any want of harmony between himself & one “so highly gifted both intellectually & morally,” but he refers to two matters, the first being your having written to the education department about the school, which he considered an intentional slight. The second was that you ordered five pounds worth of repairs to the Infant school whereas the Committee only sanctioned an expenditure of £4, & he thinks that in this also you intended to slight him.3

I have already assured him that as regards the first case I was sure that you intended no discourtesy, & I understand that if you confirm this he would be quite satisfied in his mind on that point.

I need hardly say that as regards his second complaint I am equally sure that there is some misapprehension, & I should be very glad if I could be the means of restoring harmony for the present state of things must be very unpleasant to you, & far from advantageous to the Parish.

I hope you will not think I have been interfering in the matter, & I should be very glad if you would let me know how the matter as regards the Infant school really stands.

I hope you are better for your visit to London4

Believe me | Yours most sincerely | John Lubbock


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Lubbock, 8 April 1875.
George Sketchley Ffinden was vicar of Down.
CD had supported the committees of the church in Down for many years, and had assumed more responsibilities in the period before Ffinden’s appointment, when the curates appointed to replace the absentee vicar, John Brodie Innes, had proved incompetent (see Moore 1985 and White 2010). In 1873, the Darwins and the Lubbocks were involved in a dispute with Ffinden over the use of the Down schoolroom as a winter reading room; see Correspondence vol. 21, letter to Down School Board, [after 29 November 1873].
CD was in London from 31 March to 12 April 1875 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


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

Moore, James Richard. 1985. Darwin of Down: the evolutionist as squarson-naturalist. In The Darwinian heritage, edited by David Kohn. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press in association with Nova Pacifica (Wellington, NZ).

White, Paul. 2010. Darwin’s church. In God’s bounty? The churches and the natural world, edited by Peter Clarke and Tony Claydon. Rochester, New York: Boydell and Brewer.


Expresses concern about the "coolness" between CD and [G. S.] Ffinden in regard to the Infant School.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Lombard St, 15
Source of text
DAR 198: 128
Physical description
C 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9914F,” accessed on 24 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23