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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   15 August 1871

Bank, Southampton,

Aug 15 1871

My dear Father,

I send a long letter from Hacon which please read.1

The blot in Capt Litchfield’s will of course cannot be cured.2 As far as my opinion goes, and from what you have said about your will I should suppose you would think so too, it is quite just that in case there are no children L. should only have a life interest in Hs fortune, especially as Hacon says it is easy to make the provision only extend to property acquired from you, so as not to be unjust as regard otherwise acquired property.3

I am most likely to see H. on Friday so you can either send me a line, or write to him.

Please remember to say about disposing by will or deed, I should think by will as regards the bulk was the best.

I got here yesterday all serene.

Please return Hacon’s letter.

Your affect son | W E Darwin

PS. Please write tomorrow to the Bank, or on Thursday to the N. University Club.4


William Mackmurdo Hacon was CD’s solicitor; his letter has not been found.
Richard Litchfield, the father of Richard Buckley Litchfield, Henrietta Emma Darwin’s fiancé, had died in 1865. He divided his estate between his three children, giving each a life interest in the property. The will stipulated that his property could not be freely disposed of, but must be passed ultimately to his grandchildren. Should R. B. Litchfield have no children, the inherited property would be transferred to his siblings’ descendents.
CD was considering the marriage settlement for Henrietta Emma Darwin, who became engaged to Richard Buckley Litchfield in July 1871 [corrected from June 1871; May 2019]; the couple married on 31 August 1871 (Emma Darwin (1915) 2: 204). For details of the settlement, see Correspondence vol. 19, letter from G. H. Darwin, [17 July 1871] and n. 5.
The New University Club, St James’s Street, London, was opened in 1864 for graduates of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge (Lejeune 1979). William was a partner in the Maddison, Atherley, Hankinson and Darwin Bank in Southampton (Banking almanac 1872, p. 114).


Sends on letter from Hacon about Captain Litchfield’s will.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Bank, Southampton
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 45)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7904F,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)