RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1893. [Letters to William Lonsdale] In Jerom Murch, Biographical sketches of Bath celebrities, ancient and modern, with some fragments of local history. London: Isaac Pitman and Sons, pp. 436-7.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by John van Wyhe. RN1

[page] 436

Down, Bromley,

Kent; May 6th. [1864]

My Dear Lonsdale,

I received your letter with as much surprise as from one dead; for it so happened that 3 or 4 nights ago I was thinking about you and I saw you as plainly as in the old days in your little room at the Geolog. Soc. I was thinking how I could learn any news of you. I am sorry at the poor account that you give, and I know how long and how much you have suffered. I had quite forgotten about the coral, but I now remember its appearance. Your MS. is arrived and I am fairly astounded at the labour you have bestowed on the subject.

[page] 437

It seems a very great pity that such labour should be wasted. Had I not better send the specimen and MS. to the Geolog. Soc. to be printed or kept in the archives? It might be of extreme use to any one working on the subject.

I have myself been ill for the last 9 months, but am slowly recovering and hope still to do a little work in Nat. History.

Believe me, my dear Lonsdale, I shall ever remember your uniform kindness to me in old long past days, and our many pleasant conversations.

I remain yours

Very sincerely,

Charles Darwin.



KENT, S.E.; Feb. 1st. [1868]

My Dear Lonsdale,

It was very kind of you to send me such hearty congratulations and the newspaper. Our son's success, as you may believe, has delighted us. It was a pleasure to me to see your handwriting again and it is very little altered from old times. I am very sorry to hear so poor an account of your health. What a life of suffering you have led! You speak of Sedgwick in your letter; I hear from my son that though he looks extremely old, he seems cheerful, and talks to a wonderful degree. He has at last given up lecturing, and it is a pity, from all I hear, that he did not take this step earlier.

My own health is considerably better, and though not free from discomfort I am able to do a fair share of work in Natural History. I have just published a rather large book on the variation of domesticated animals and plants; but I do not think it would interest you, even if you had strength to read it. 

I shall always retain very pleasant recollections of our former intercourse, and I earnestly hope that your health may cause you less suffering.

Believe me, my dear Lonsdale,

Yours very sincerely,


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