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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Edward Atkinson   9 June 1877

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | (Railway Station | Orpington S.E.R.) [Leith Hill Place, Surrey.]

June 9th. 1877


I am greatly obliged to the Council for their wish to offer a grace to the Senate for conferring on me the Honorary Degree of L.L.D..— I should consider this as an extraordinary honour, & it would be particularly gratifying to me as coming from the University at which I was formerly a student.1 I feel, however, bound to add that my health is so precarious that I may be prevented, when the day arrives, from attending to receive this honour.— Permit me further to return to you my sincere thanks for your very kind & courteous letter.2

I beg leave to remain, Sir | Your obedient servant | Charles R. Darwin

To the | Vice-Chancellor.—


For previous correspondence about the offer to CD of the honorary degree of doctor of laws (LLD), see the letter to G. H. Darwin, 30 May [1877] and n. 2. CD entered Christ’s College, Cambridge, in January 1828 (ODNB); he obtained a BA in 1831 (Freeman 1978).
The letter from Atkinson has not been found.


Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Pleased that a Grace has been submitted to confer on CD an honorary LL.D.; hopes his health will permit him to attend the ceremony.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Edward Atkinson
Sent from
Leith Hill Place Down letterhead
Source of text
Cambridge University Library (MS Add. 6582: 377)
Physical description
2pp & Adraft 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10993,” accessed on 19 September 2021,