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Darwin Correspondence Project

To K. M. Lyell   26 December [1875]1

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

Dec 26.

My dear Mrs Lyell

I used formerly to burn all letters excepting a few, and such as I have kept from Lyell I now send.2 From the year 1862 I preserved all letters, and wish I had done so earlier. I am thus enabled to send all the letters from Lyell from 1862 to 1869 inclusive. Since ’69 I have not received many, & they have not been classed by my son George (who is just going to start abroad) and therefore I cannot send any if I possess them.3 Should I hereafter find any, they shall be sent to you. Although I valued most highly all the letters I received from Lyell, I suspect that they are much too special to be of any interest to the public; but I am at present so busy that I have not had time to read over a single one

Pray believe me | my dear Mrs Lyell | yrs sincerely | Charles Darwin

P.S The letters are so heavy that I have been forced to put them in 2 parcels.—


The year is established the reference to George Howard Darwin’s travelling abroad (see n. 3, below).
Following Charles Lyell’s death on 22 February 1875, Katherine Murray Lyell was gathering the letters he had written in order to prepare a biography; this was published in 1881 (K. M. Lyell ed. 1881).
CD kept notes and letters pertinent to the topics he was working on in portfolios; it is unclear how George organised them once CD no longer needed them for research purposes. George travelled to Malta at the start of January 1876 (see letter from Emma Darwin to J. B. Innes, 24 December [1875]). Leonard Darwin had been stationed there from September 1875 (see letter to C. E. Norton, 7 October 1875 and n. 6).


Sends Charles Lyell’s letters. Those from 1862–9 are so heavy that they have to be put in two parcels.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Katharine Murray Horner/Katharine Murray Lyell
Sent from
Source of text
Kinnordy MS (private collection); sold at Bonhams, New York, 4 December 2019, lot 18
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13826,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23