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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. M. Herbert   7 May [1867]1

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

May 7th

My dear Herbert

It has given me great pleasure to receive a letter from you after the interval of so many years.2 I saw a good deal of poor Dawes when I was an undergraduate & was charmed with him, but I have never seen him excepting once since that period.3 His subsequent career every one must honour & I will send by this post a subscription of 2 guineas to the treasurer for his memorial.4 It has often amused me to reflect how little a man sometimes knows himself, or his friends know him, for I well remember Ramsay of Jesus5 chaffing Dawes that he was a man who wd go through life laughing & doing nothing else, & Dawes himself & all of us quite agreed that this was true.

Thank you for your kind enquiries about my health; I had two or three bad years but am now much better, & am able to work; but Tyndall gave too flourishing an account, for I am never well for the whole day; this prevents me going any where, & we cannot accept your cordial invitation, which I shd in every way have much enjoyed.6 Whenever you & Mrs Herbert7 (to whom we both send our very kind remembrances) happen to be in London & have a little spare time, we should be extremely glad if you would pay us a visit.

Believe me my dear old friend | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. M Herbert, 3 May 1867.
Letter from J. M. Herbert, 3 May 1867. The last known correspondence with Herbert is a letter to Herbert of 18 November [1856] (Correspondence vol. 13, Supplement), evidently a response to a letter from Herbert.
See letter from J. M. Herbert, 3 May 1867, n. 1. CD spoke to Richard Dawes in or before July 1853 (see Correspondence vol. 5, letter to W. D. Fox, 17 July [1853] and n. 6).
See letter from J. M. Herbert, 3 May 1867 and n. 1. CD recorded a payment of £2 2s. to ‘Dawes memorial’ on 6 May 1867 (CD’s Account books–cash account (Down House MS)).
Marmaduke Ramsay was a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, while CD was an undergraduate at Christ’s.
CD refers to John Tyndall. See letter from J. M. Herbert, 3 May 1867.
Mary Anne Herbert.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Contributes to a memorial for Richard Dawes.

Describes his health.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Maurice Herbert
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.327)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5529,” accessed on 21 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15