RECORD: Spencer, Herbert. 1882.05.04. Letter to [Francis] Darwin. CUL-DAR215.10t. 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.


38 Queen's Gardens, W.

May 4/82

Dear Mr Darwin,

Thank you for your explanatory letter. I regret that any misunderstanding should have entailed on you the trouble of writing it.

I fancy some remark of Huxley's (made probably to Galton rather than to you) to the effect that my very pronounced non-conformity in the matter of ecclesiastical ceremonies (which he knew had prevented me from being present at Tyndall's marriage) might perhaps be an obstacle to my attendance. But


I felt the occasion of your father's funeral to be so exceptional that I could not let this feeling prevent me from manifesting my great respect.

The first ticket which you had sent was in some way delayed, and did not reach me until after the second and alternative one, which you were good enough to send me. This it was that led to my second note. I somewhat regret that, not understanding what were the implications, I did not choose the one which would have joined me with the procession. I did not understand that, taking my seat in the choir, I should simply be one of the spectators.

I hope that recovery from the fatigues, which I can well understand must have been great, will not be long delayed. If anything could serve as adequate consolation to Mrs. Darwin and yourself it would be the immense manifestation of sympathy –


a manifestation which I should think has never been paralleled in the case of any man of science.

Very truly yours

Herbert Spencer

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

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