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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Burdon Sanderson   18 April 1875

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Ap 18 75

My dear Sanderson

I have heard from Ld Derby & I enclose a copy of his note.1 Huxley who is here agrees with me that nothing could be better.2 I hope that we may hear from the Home Secry.;3 if not we must consider what is next to be done

On my return home last Tuesday, I wrote to Sir J. Lubbock for an interview & he answered that he would see me the first day that he was at home; but I have not yet heard from him4   It has occurred to me now that we have got such a potent man as Ld Derby to speak to the Home Sec whether we had not better drop the petition.5 Litchfield6 is strongly of this opinion, & Huxley thinks it well worthy of consideration. I suppose we are not bound to the men who have signed to present it, & that a little explanation would suffice

Hooker writes that he forgot to add “Pres R S” to his signature to the petition & authorizes us to add it   He has read the sketch of our bill & quite approves of it.7

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin



April 17. 1875

Dear Mr Darwin

I am honoured by your selection of me as the medium of your communication with the Government; & I have sent on your letter9 to the Home Secretary in whose department the matter lies

Very faithfully yours | Derby

C Darwin Esq


The enclosure is a copy in Francis Darwin’s hand of the letter from E. H. Stanley, 17 April 1875 (see Correspondence vol. 23 for a transcription of the original). CD and Burdon Sanderson were promoting a bill to regulate vivisection.
Thomas Henry Huxley visited Down from 17 to 18 April 1875 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
The home secretary was Richard Assheton Cross; no letter from him has been found, but see the draft letter to R. A. Cross, May 1875 (Correspondence vol. 23).
CD had been in London from 31 March to 12 April 1875 (Correspondence vol. 23, Appendix II). John Lubbock lived at High Elms, near Down.
The petition had been drawn up by Burdon Sanderson (Correspondence vol. 23, letter from J. S. Burdon Sanderson, 12 February 1875). For CD’s work on the subject, see ibid., Appendix VI).
CD’s son-in-law, Richard Buckley Litchfield, was at Down from 17 to 18 April 1875 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Joseph Dalton Hooker was president of the Royal Society of London. See Correspondence vol. 23, letters from J. D. Hooker, 7 April 1875 and 15 April 1875).
F.O.: Foreign Office. Edward Henry Stanley (Lord Derby) was the foreign secretary.
See Correspondence vol. 23, draft letter to E. H. Stanley, 15 April 1875.


Encloses a copy of Lord Derby's note of 17 April 1875 (DCP-LETT-9938).

Sir John Lubbock has agreed to meet CD, but no arrangement has been made.

Maybe they should drop the petition, since Lord Derby has agreed to help.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9939F,” accessed on 22 September 2023,