RECORD: Carpenter, W. B. (British and Foreign Unitarian Association). 1882.04.30. Letter to Emma Darwin. CUL-DAR215.11e. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 11.2021. RN1

NOTE: See record in the Darwin Online manuscript catalogue, enter its Identifier here. Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.


56 Regents Park Road, N. W

April 30 1882

Dear Mrs Darwin

That I have not sooner written to express my profound sorrow at the unlooked for removal of one whom I equally venerate, esteemed, and love, - and to assure you of the heartfelt sympathy of Mrs Carpenter and myself in your sad bereavement, has been only because & would not too soon intrude upon the sacred privacy of your grief. But I would now express my full participation in the feeling which will, I am certain, be borne to you from every side, that not only has Natural Science lost its Newton, but that Scientific men have lost their realized ideal in one who was at the same time the sagacious, accurate, and untiring investigator, - the calm, profound, and philosophic thinker, - and the consummate teacher. Our greatest consolation in this loss, is that he has been permitted so nearly to complete his work, and


to see the great doctrine for which he anticipated but a scant acceptance during his lifetime, already dominating the thought of the age; and that the example he has left will become more and more influential on the lives and characters of those who follow in his steps, the more the true nobleness of his own life and character is brought before the world, as it could not be whilst he was yet among us. For in him there was no other side; the spirit that dwelt in him dominated his conduct in every relation of life. To myself nothing has been a more valuable lesson than the equanimity with which he bore the obloquy that in the early days was so abundantly heaped upon him; and the quiet faith in the ultimate victory of truth, which led him to abstain from all controversy, and to devote himself to the completion of his great fabric of thought, and to the strengthening of its weaker points.

It will always be a satisfaction to me, that, first in the 'National Review', and then in the 'Medical Quarterly', I was very early able to bring the "Origin of Species" before the public, in what I at once recognised as its true light; when other Quarterly Reviewers were doing their best to depreciate it.

The proceeding of which I enclose the official record, may have some interest for you, as having been taken, on my motion, immediately after the deeply impressive scene in the Abbey on Wednesday last, by the representatives of a Religious body which claims for itself the character of not being afraid of any truth whatever.

I trust that your family will regard


what I have here written as addressed equally to them; and that they will believe that by no one was their illustrious Father more deeply and entirely valued than by, Dear Mrs Darwin, always yours faithfully

William B. Carpenter

Mrs Darwin

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