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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Thomas Salt   9 February [1861]

Down Bromley Kent

Feb. 9th

Dear Sir

You may perhaps remember that my Trustees lent Major Owen on mortgage 20,000£, On August 19th 1850 for five years at 334 per cent. I believe I agreed on August 1855 to lend on the same interest for a second five years; but from some carelessness I cannot lay my hand on the agreement. If my memory is correct, the term was up last August.— Now, will you be so good as to give me your advice, firstly, whether 334 is a fair & sufficient interest to ask, and secondly whether I ought not to ask for a fresh agreement for a certain period of years.— Otherwise whenever the general rate of interest falls, I may be suddenly asked to reduce it for a new term. I will, however be guided by your advice, & should be much obliged if you would act for me.— But please observe that I am not certain that any fresh agreement was entered on Aug. 19. 1855, or if it was agreed on for five years.—1

Whenever quite convenient, would you be so good as to let me hear from you,2 & I beg leave to remain Dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Chas. R. Darwin

P.S. | To make quite certain that I have made no mistake about the rate of Interest, I may add that I received last August 359£ "7s "6d, income-tax having been deducted.—3


CD’s loan to William Mostyn Owen is recorded in his Investment book (Down House MS), p. 33. There is no note of an extension, but in ibid., p. 86, CD noted that on 15 August 1861, Salt advised him to allow the agreement to run on indefinitely and that Salt thought the interest fair. Some of the loan was from Emma Darwin’s trust: her trustees were Erasmus Alvey Darwin and Josiah Wedgwood III (see Correspondence vol. 4, letter to Salt & Son, 26 November [1850]).
Salt’s reply has not been found.
CD noted this amount in his Investment book, p. 87.


Asks for advice about the mortgage to Major Owen for £20,000.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Salt
Source of text
Rachel Salt (private collection); sold by Spink’s (dealers), July 2018
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3061F,” accessed on 23 June 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)