skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To A. C. Ramsay   22 November [1854]

Down Farnborough | Kent

Nov. 22d

Dear Ramsay

I am extremely much obliged to you for writing, but I had heard the news from Lyell, in a letter full of grief, the day before.1 It is really under every point of view dreadful. What a loss to his singularly numerous friends & to Natural Science! The gaps left by the dead are generally soon, too soon, filled up; but this assuredly will not be the case with poor Forbes. His loss will be felt for long years. What attainments he united; & what a career cut short; I had forgotten till today how young he was.2 As for his poor wife I pity her from my soul; I have lost a child, & I can, therefore, in some degree realise what death in its worst form is.

Once again I thank you much for writing.— I heard, also, from Hooker in a letter full of deep grief.3

Yours very truly | C. Darwin


Edward Forbes had died on 18 November. Charles Lyell’s letter has not been found.
Forbes was 39 years old. He had been appointed professor of natural history at Edinburgh in May 1854 (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [9 October 1853], n. 9).
Joseph Dalton Hooker’s letter has not been found.


Grief at the death of Edward Forbes.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Andrew Crombie Ramsay
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1606,” accessed on 24 November 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5