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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Lawson Tait   8 April [1875]1

7, Great Charles St. | Birmingham.

April 8th.

Dear Sir,

Thanks for your kind note. I shall visit you on the 18th.2

I am sorry that I cannot get to Down the previous evening as I have to take the chair at a public dinner. But I can reach Orpington at 8.36 a.m. on Sunday morning, no doubt in time for breakfast

It will give me great pleasure to meet Prof. Huxley, with whom already I have a slight personal acquaintance.3

Thanks for your offer of the carriage. As the hour on a Sunday morning would be very inconvenient for your man, and as there might be no flies about then I should be glad if you would order one for me.

Yours faithfully, | Lawson Tait

I enclose a newspaper account of my little paper4

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Tail of Mouse Henslow’; ‘Order Fly’ pencil5


The year is established by the reference to Tait’s visit to Down (see n. 2, below).
Tait visited Down on 17 April 1875 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Thomas Henry Huxley and George John Romanes also visited Down on 17 April 1875 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
A notice of Tait’s lecture, ‘The use of tails in animals’ (Tait 1875a), appeared in the Birmingham Daily Post, 8 April 1875, p. 6. See letter from Lawson Tait, 16 March [1875] and nn. 2–4. The lecture cited the letter to Lawson Tait, [13–15 March 1875], and referred to the letter from Lawson Tait, 16 March [1875].
The annotation probably connects Tait’s work on tails with the earlier work done by John Stevens Henslow on the tails of mice; see letter to Lawson Tait, 11 June [1875] and n. 6. CD also made a note to order a fly (a horse-drawn carriage used as a cab) to transport Tait from Orpington station to Down House.


Arrangements for a visit to Down.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 178: 6
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9918,” accessed on 18 February 2020,

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