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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Thomas Allen   29 April 1875

42, Connaught Square, | Hyde Park.

Apr: 29./75.

Dear Darwin

The enclosd. xtract I recd. this morng. frm. the Cruelty Socty. (Jermyn St.)1 I make no doubt it was sent me because I refused to believe, 2 days ago, that you and others mentioned were opponents of any restriction being placed on vivisectn.—and told them I had furnishd. you with my skeleton bill.2

I wish you wd. let me know how this is. I mean as to your principles in the matter. Another bill has bn. sketched wch. some professors, among them Dr Sanderson—have been invited to inspect, and wch. also is not for abolishing but placing the practise of vivison under certain conditions. but it wd. b. useless to submit it to him if he’s agst. any bill at all.3

Yours very truly | Thomas Allen


The extract has not been found. The headquarters of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were at 105 Jermyn Street, London (Moss 1961, p. 189).
Allen had drafted a bill on the regulation of vivisection (see letter from Thomas Allen, 14 April 1875 and n. 1).
John Scott Burdon Sanderson had been working with CD on a vivisection bill that they hoped to present to Parliament (see letter to J. S. Burdon Sanderson, 24 [April 1875]). Another bill was being prepared at the initiative of Frances Power Cobbe, who had first approached the RSPCA (the Cruelty Society) on the subject of vivisection in January (see letter to T. H. Huxley, 14 January 1875 and n. 1). Cobbe was now proceeding to present her bill without the support of the RSPCA (see Cobbe 1904, p. 640).


Cobbe, Frances Power. 1904. Life of Frances Power Cobbe as told by herself. Posthumous edition. London: Swan Sonnenschein.

Moss, Arthur W. 1961. Valiant crusade: the history of the RSPCA. London: Cassell.


Encloses extract which suggests that CD and friends oppose any restriction on vivisection; asks CD to state his principles. Another bill is being sketched for Cruelty Society.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Allen
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Connaught Square, 42
Source of text
DAR 159: 52
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9954,” accessed on 4 April 2020,

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