RECORD: [Vaughan, E.T.] 1893. [Recollections of Charles Darwin at Christ's College] Some recollections of Christ's College. Christ's College Magazine. Michaelmas Term. 8: 1-13, pp. 2-3.
REVISION HISTORY: Scanned & OCRed & corrected by John van Wyhe 8.2006. RN1
NOTE: Mr Shaw, who is also mentioned, was Darwin's tutor. Photocopy kindly provided by The Old Library, Christ's College.
Garden and adjoining the passage which led between the Hall and the Butteries into the 'old' or outer Court.
The Tutor of Christ's was the future Bishop Graham of Chester. The Master was the excellent Bishop Kaye of Lincoln, the Senior Wrangler and Senior Medallist of 1804; who had not very long ceased to be Regius Professor of Divinity, and was supposed to be the most learned and able Theologian in Cambridge. Bishop Kaye had known and honoured my father, as one of the best clergymen in his enormous diocese, which then and for many years afterwards stretched literally from the Thames to the Humber. I shall never forget the kindness with which the bishop received me. I had been a very few days in College when I heard one morning a very gentle tap at the door of my room, and calling 'Come in' saw the Bishop's wig, and his face, as full of kindness as of bright intelligence; he had come, he said, to see how I was 'getting on in my new College life.' A few days later he resigned the Mastership, which he had held from 1814, and was succeeded by Mr Graham. The Tutorship so vacated was filled by the Reverend E. J. Ash, who held it until some years after I had ceased in 1839 to be a Fellow of the College.
Mr Shaw, who had been Mr Graham's predecessor in the tutorship, had not been distinguished either as a scholar or a mathematician, but was a man of good sense, a gentleman, easy-going in all things, himself a constant visitor to Newmarket, and, I believe, an excellent judge of a horse. He was supposed to be an insatiable devourer of the novels in the University Library, and to have a very quick and true ear for music. Under his indulgent sway the College had not done particularly well in the Senate House, but was well filled in point of numbers; most of the men were
gentlemen, who shared their tutor's love of Newmarket, and spent their money freely both there and elsewhere. Mr Graham's more intellectual rule had not been equally popular, though he was one of the ablest of the many able men then in Cambridge. He had been fourth Wrangler, and bracketed as Senior Medallist, in the remarkable year 1826, and was said by capable judges to have been even more excellent as a Mathematical than as a Classical lecturer. The College had declined in numbers. In the October Term of 1830 only ten freshmen had come into residence. Of these I was the youngest, only just seventeen. Not very many of the ten entered very deeply into Mr Graham's lectures in our first term, of which the subject was Thucydides, Book II. I had reason to be very thankful for them.
Among the men of higher years who were still to be seen in College in my first Term one even now stands out clear and sharp in my remembrance:—Charles Darwin. The rugged form, as kindly as it was full of intellectual power, could never be forgotten. It was even then the same essentially as the striking photograph shows it to have been in old age. His mastery of Botany, and of Natural History generally, was even then acknowledged; and we knew that he was going on a scientific expedition round the world in the 'Beagle.' He had not read for University honours, but was placed very high on the 'Poll' in January 1831.
Another friend of early days, belonging to the year above my own, James Hildyard, a Tancred student, ran a most brilliant course as a classical scholar at Christ's. In 1831 he gained the Battie's University Scholarship against many of the remarkably able men in the year above his own;
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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
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