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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Smith, Elder and Company   5 March [1863]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

March 5th

Dear Sir

I am much obliged for your letter & accounts.1 As I am sure that you would offer the full amount of what is fair, & as it will save all future accounts I will gladly accept the 5£, & you can at your convenience send me a cheque for that & balance of £11:s13. d1. Will you be so good as to send me a proper form of receipt, to which I will affix a stamp & my signature.—

Please remember that you have to deduct small enclosed account.—2

One of my Boys has the common passion for collecting Postage stamps:3 he tells me that you issue some peculiar kinds:4 I know not in the least what they are & perhaps they are for India5 (at least I have never met with them) & can only be sold in number; but if you have odd copies & could enclose one or two of each kind deducting amount from your cheque, I shd. be glad to please my Boy, but of course you must not think of this for a minute if in in anyway inconvenien⁠⟨⁠t.⁠⟩⁠

Pray believe me | Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin


The enclosure has not been found. See letter to Smith, Elder and Company, 14 January [1863].
Leonard Darwin.
From 1857, firms were given the opportunity of having their names and addresses embossed on a circular collar placed around standard issue British postage stamps. Smith, Elder and Company was one of the first companies to make use of this facility, registering their collar in October 1857. It consisted of a plain circular band forming a complete ring around the stamp, with the name of the firm on a plain cartouche above the stamp, and the address on a similar cartouche below (Huggins 1970, pp. 167–70).
Smith, Elder and Company were also East India agents (Post Office London directory 1863).


Huggins, A. K. 1970. British postal stationery. A priced hand book of the postal stationery of Great Britain. London: Philatelic Society.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


Accepts offer of £5 [for remaining stock of Geology of "Beagle"].

Orders postage stamps for son.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Smith, Elder & Co
Sent from
MR 5 63
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (Ms.23181, ff.6-10 (S. E. & Co. work slip, ff.6-7, letter ff.8-9, address envelope f.10))
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4025,” accessed on 6 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11