RECORD: Darwin, William Erasmus. 1882.05.16. Letter to Anthony Rich. CUL-DAR210.12.12. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 8.2023. 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. The volume CUL-DAR210.12 contains Correspondence concerning Anthony Rich (1878-1885).

"Rich, Anthony, 1804-91. Chappel Croft, Heene, Worthing, Sussex. Honorary Fellow of Caius College, Cambridge. 1878 R made a will leaving nearly all his property to CD, on death of himself, then 74, and his sister; at that time it included some property in Cornhill, London, with income above £1,000. As CD predeceased R, CD's children wrote to R in May 1882 expressing how grateful they were for his generous intention of leaving his property to CD. They also said R was free to alter his will. In the return letter R wrote "nothing could induce me to alter it in that respect. It is a source of pleasure and pride to me to think that it could have been in my power to do anything which would give him ever so small an amount of gratification, and I am equally pleased to think that, when my course is also run, property which belonged to me will descend to the worthy children of so noble a man". ED2:259." (Paul van Helvert & John van Wyhe, Darwin: A Companion, 2021)
This letter, without the post script was first published in Litchfield, H. E. ed. 1904. Emma Darwin, wife of Charles Darwin. A century of family letters. Cambridge: University Press printed. Volume 2, pp. 334-5.






May 16th 1882


My dear Mr Rich,

Since my Father's death my brothers and sisters and I have been thinking much over your generous intention of leaving you property to my Father, & as we understand to us as his heirs.

We wish to tell you how grateful we feel to you for this emphatic recognition of his services to science


and the world. It deeply gratified him, and we never shall forget this. I gather that it was your intention that his death should make no difference in the disposition of your property, but we want you to be assured that we feel that a new state of things has arisen, and one of which you could not calculate the effect until it actually came. No one as long as they live can help acquiring


new interests, and it is impossible for you to foresee what may happen in the years I hope you may still have to live.

We, therefore, earnestly beg you to remember that if you should see fit to alter the disposition of your property, we shall never feel that we owe you any less gratitude for your generous intentions towards our dear father, and we ask you to keep this letter, in


order that you may always bear in mind that this is our most deliberate request.

I am,

Yours always gratefully and sincerely,


Anthony Rich Esqr

P.S. I enclose one of the last photographs and I think one of the best of my Father. If you do not answer this Letter, we shall take it as a mark that you understand what our feelings are.

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

File last updated 15 October, 2023