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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Charles Lyell   31 May [1874]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

May 31st

My dear Lyell

I have been glad to receive your note & see Mr Scrope’s.2 What you have done may be the first step in an admirable plan.— I admire the wisdom of your bequest,3 & if I had not so many sons I would have followed your steps. I much enjoyed seeing you here.4

My dear Lyell | Your affectionate old pupil | Ch. Darwin

I am glad you sent Dohrn’s paper to Mr Scrope5


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Charles Lyell, 24 April 1874.
In his letter of 24 April 1874, Lyell pledged to give £25 to the subscription to complete Anton Dohrn’s Zoological Station at Naples. The note from George Julius Poulett Scrope has not been found.
In his will, dated 1874, Lyell made a bequest to the Geological Society of London of £2000, and a medal to be awarded annually. One-third of the annual interest on the fund was to accompany the medal, and the rest was for the encouragement of geology and allied sciences (K. M. Lyell ed. 1881, 2: 477–8).
According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), Lyell visited Down on 13 May 1873.
The paper was probably Dohrn 1872, an article on the foundation of zoological stations published in Nature.


Comments on CL’s planned bequest to science. CD would do the same if he had fewer sons.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.442)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9477,” accessed on 30 July 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22