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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Spottiswoode   [8 April 1873]1

[16 Montague Street, London]


Hooker & Tyndall proposed to lunch with me today, & Lubbock & Busk on hearing this said they wd to join them & we sent for Herbert Spencer.2 For They all thought that it wd be very advisable to act as soon as possible; but I greatly regretted, as did the others, that you were not present.— After a very long discussion our little meeting decided that only personal friends shd be allowed to subscribe (& this I think & so stated was your view), & that the affair shd be kept strictly secret. It was determined to collect the money as soon as possible & send it all to Sir J. Lubbock, who will pay it in a sum to Huxley’s account.—3 It was decided, after much doubt & deliberation, that it wd be best then to inform Huxley of the fact, but with no detail beyond this statement that the subscription was confined to his warm personal friends. Much against my will the others decided that I shd make the communication, & a most difficult work I shall find it.4 You will be glad to hear that we are sure of above 1000 & the total will possibly amt to 1600 or 1700.— As you wd have known, if present, what sums were subscribed, I think I had better mention them. Tyndall £200, Busk 200 (we others thought that the sum far too magnificent) H. Spencer 100—myself—300—my Brother5 100. Hooker 25£ Lubbock 100—Hirst6 has promised 50£

Let me thank you cordially for your great kindness, when I called on you7 & believe me | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Tyndall, 8 April [1873].
CD refers to Joseph Dalton Hooker, John Tyndall, John Lubbock, and George Busk.
Lubbock was head of the bank Robarts, Lubbock & Co.
On the subscription for Thomas Henry Huxley, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, [6 April 1873] and n. 2. See also letter to T. H. Huxley, 23 April 1873.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin.
Thomas Archer Hirst.
CD evidently called on Spottiswoode on 7 April 1873 (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [6 April 1873]).


Discusses the arrangements being made to present a gift to Huxley [see 8872].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Spottiswoode
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 96: 169–70
Physical description
AdraftS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8851,” accessed on 19 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21