skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Thomas Allen   14 April 1875

42, Connaught Square, | Hyde Park.

Apr: 14. 1875.

Dear Darwin.

I was sorry not to b. able to see you on Sunday.

I now enclose the drt. bill abt. Vivisection wch. I promised Mrs. Darwin to send you.1 I drew it up hastily when leaving town for the Circuit.

I think it might b. sent to Messrs. Shaen & Roscoe—Bedford Row—who have taken up the subject, and that they mt. set a more xperienced drtsman to work upon it—2 When completed you and your friends mt. have influence eno. to get it introduced into the Ho. of Commons—or Lords—but I dont think we have. i.e. the Cruelty Society—3 At the same time I think the Society would meet all the xpense of preparing the bill— I am very glad to hear that you are interested abt. vivisection. Our Secry. tells me that from what he has learnt since I went out of town there is plenty of it going on, but of this I shall hear more particulars on Friday—when we are to have a meeting abt. it.4 My opinion is that we shall do nothing in the matter, and therefore I am the more anxious that you should try yr. hand at it.

Believe me | very truly yours | Thomas Allen


Thomas Allen was Emma Darwin’s second cousin. There is a handwritten draft in Allen’s hand titled ‘An act for restricting the vivisection of dumb animals’ in DAR 139.17: 20; for a transcription, see Appendix VI. CD had already prepared a draft bill on vivisection with the assistance of Richard Buckley Litchfield (see letter to J. S. Burdon Sanderson, [11 April 1875], and letter from J. S. Burdon Sanderson, 12 April [1875]).
Shaen, Roscoe, Massey & Co were a firm of solicitors based at 8 Bedford Row, London (Post Office London directory 1875). William Shaen visited CD on 11 April (see letter to J. S. Burdon Sanderson, [11 April 1875]).
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
John Colam was secretary of the RSPCA and part of a subcommittee appointed to investigate the practice of vivisection in England after Frances Power Cobbe had presented her memorial to the society in January 1875 (see letter to T. H. Huxley, 14 January 1875).


Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


Encloses draft bill about vivisection; CD and friends may have influence enough to get it introduced in Commons or Lords; TA and the Cruelty Society do not. The Society, however, can pay for preparation of bill.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Allen
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Connaught Square, 42
Source of text
DAR 159: 51
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9926,” accessed on 28 March 2020,

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