RECORD: Stephen, Leslie. 1882.04.21. Letter to William Erasmus Darwin. CUL-DAR215.7q. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 11.2021. Corrections by Anne Secord 4.2022. RN2

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.

"Stephen, Sir Leslie, 1832-1904. Biographer, author and critic. Editor of DNB. Founder of Sunday Walking Club, nicknamed the "Sunday Tramps". Father of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. 1880 S was amongst the friends who advised CD to ignore Samuel Butler's attack on him. 1878 Nov. 25 ED recorded "Leslie Stephen to lunch". 1881 May 14-16 S stayed. 1882 Jan. 8 S came to Down House on a Sunday tramp. CD enjoyed their visit heartily. 1882 S was on "Personal Friends invited" list for CD's funeral. 1902 KCB. Recollections of CD and ED in Darwin Online." (Paul van Helvert & John van Wyhe, Darwin: A Companion, 2021)





My dear Mr Darwin,

Perhaps I ought not to intrude upon you just now. I can only express a feeling common to every one who knew your father. But you will let me say in one word that I never knew and in all probability never shall know any human being so deserving at once of affection and veneration. At this moment the memory of his


Kindliness and sweetness of nature is more vividly present to my mind than any thought of his intellectual position.

But I will only say what I cannot help saying

I hope that your mother is as well as it is permitted to hope.

Ever yours sincerely

L. Stephen

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 16 October, 2023