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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Thomas Carlyle   4 December 1875

December 4th 1875

To Thomas Carlyle


We beg leave, on this interesting and memorable anniversary, to tender you the expression of our respectful good wishes.1

Not a few of the voices which it would have been dearest to you to hear today are silent in death. There may perhaps be some compensation in the assurance of the reverent sympathy and affectionate gratitude of many thousands of living men and women, throughout the British Islands and elsewhere, who have derived delight and inspiration from the noble series of your writings, and who have noted also how powerfully the world has been influenced by your great personal example. A whole generation has elapsed since you described for us the Hero as a Man of Letters.2 We congratulate you and ourselves on the spacious fulness of years which has enabled you to sustain this rare dignity among mankind in all its possible splendour and completeness. It is a matter for general rejoicing that a teacher whose genius and achievements have lent radiance to his time still dwells amidst us; and our hope is that you may yet long continue in fair health, to feel how much you are loved and honoured, and to rest in the retrospect of a brave and illustrious life.

We request you to do us the honour to accept the accompanying copy of a medal, designed by Mr. J. E. Boehm, which has been struck in commemoration of the day.3

We remain, | Sir, | Yours with deep respect,

J. E Boehm

Robert Browning

Richard Owen

Charles Darwin

Eras. Darwin4

George Eliot

Jos D. Hooker

Thoms H Huxley

G H Lewes

John Lubbock

Harriet Martineau

F Max Müller

Godfrey Lushington

Vernon Lushington

Leslie Stephen

A Tennyson

Anne Isabella Thackeray

Anthony Trollope

Hensleigh Wedgwood

F E Hensleigh Wedgwood5

[and 99 others]


Carlyle’s eightieth birthday was on 4 December 1875.
‘The hero as man of letters’ was the fifth lecture in a series given by Carlyle in 1840, published as On heroes, hero-worship, & the heroic in history (Carlyle 1841, pp. 249–315 ).
Joseph Edgar Boehm; the medal presented was gold (for details, see Kaplan 1983, p. 523).
Erasmus Alvey Darwin.
Frances Emma Elizabeth Wedgwood, the wife of Hensleigh Wedgwood.


A letter of congratulation to Thomas Carlyle on his 80th birthday signed by CD and 118 others; to accompany the gift of a commemorative medal.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Carlyle
Source of text
National Trust (Carlyle’s House)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10288G,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)