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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Edward Cresy   15 May [1853]

Down Farnborough Kent

May 15th

My dear Sir

I am not a little ashamed of myself for all the trouble I have given you: I write now to confess my sins, & say that in despair I have given up the siphon-plan: and intend only to make an ordinary tank, of no very great diameter with pump.—1 I called at Burgess & Keys & found that the coated Hose was flat & of course wd. not do for suction: & that the gutta Percha wd not stand frequent moving. Hence there was nothing left but the Leather & this would have cost me nearly £20,—a sum which I grudged, especially as it, the Leather Hose, it seems, requires care &c.— The only apology I can make for all the trouble I have given, is, that I was bonâ fide in strong earnest, when I wrote to you, on the scheme.

With thanks, pray believe me, my dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin


CD recorded the expenses of the construction of a tank and of gutta percha pipes in his Classed account book (Down House MS). Isaac Laslett, the builder in Down village, was paid £32 3s. 7d. on 22 April 1853 and £40 15s. on 4 July. Gutta percha pipes cost CD £1 7s. and £1 15s. on 17 June and 18 August, respectively.


Apologises for the trouble he has given EC. CD has given up the siphon plan and intends to make only an ordinary tank with a pump.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Edward Cresy, Jr
Sent from
Source of text
R. M. Smythe (dealer) (March 2002)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1682,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5