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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Darwin to F. J. Hughes   13 February 1882

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Feb 13 1882

My dear Mrs Hughes

Charles desires me to join him in thanking you for your very kind, & especially for your expression of sympathy in the loss we have had, which is felt as much by the sons & daughter to whom Erasmus was more than most uncles are—1

Charles begs me to say that he has not the least objection to the sentence in which you refer to him & he begs you will use whatever words you prefer.—only it looks a little like praising himself if you put it exactly in the way you propose viz. “I know from my cousin that he also gained his views by his (wonderfully acute) observations &c— If the words I have marked were omitted it would not have the effect I think—2

I often think of the happy days at Penally, & now my sister is gone there is no one to whom I can recall old times.3 I very often used to hear of you—

Will you give my kind remembrances to Mrs Fox & her son Charles whom we saw here4 & believe me with C’s kindest regards sincerely | E. Darwin


No letter of condolence from Hughes has been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL. Erasmus Alvey Darwin had died on 26 August 1881.
In her book, Harmonies of tones and colours developed by evolution (Hughes 1883, p. 9), Hughes wrote that she asked CD whether he gained his views on evolution from his ‘wonderfully acute observations’ rather than from the ideas of his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin. See also Correspondence vol. 28, letter to F. J. Hughes, 5 May 1880 and n. 2.
Penally, near Tenby in Wales, was the home of Hughes and her husband, John Hughes, who was vicar there. Emma’s sister Elizabeth Wedgwood had died in 1880.
Ellen Sophia Fox and Charles Woodd Fox. Charles visited Down in April 1881 (letter from Emma Darwin to H. E. Litchfield, [11] April 1881; DAR 219.9: 261).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Hughes, Frances Jane. 1883. Harmonies of tones and colours developed by evolution. London: Marcus Ward and Co.


Thanks for sympathy on death of Erasmus [Alvey Darwin].

Suggests rewording statement concerning source of CD’s views on evolution.

Recalls happy days at Penally.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13683,” accessed on 12 August 2022,