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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. S. Burdon Sanderson   28 April [1875]1

49 Queen Anne St

Wednesday Ap 28

Dear Mr Darwin,

I have put myself into communication with L. Playfair but have not yet received his answer.2

I have taken no further steps about the petition. All who have signed it at my instance have done so on the understanding that it would not be presented unless an objectionable bill were actually introduced.3 In the meantime I will take no further steps without communication with you.

I will write again as soon as I have seen L. Playfair

Yours very truly | J B Sanderson


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. S. Burdon Sanderson, 24 [April 1875].
Burdon Sanderson intended to ask Lyon Playfair to present a vivisection petition prepared by CD and his friends to Parliament (see letter to J. S. Burdon Sanderson, 24 [April 1875]). Burdon Sanderson was also in contact with Playfair about the vivisection bill (see letter from J. S. Burdon Sanderson, 30 April [1875]).
John Lubbock had advised CD that Playfair was the best person to present vivisection petition to Parliament, but he saw the vivisection bill as much more important step (see letter to R. B. Litchfield, 24 April [1875]). ‘Objectionable bill’: probably the rival bill that was being prepared by Frances Power Cobbe (see Appendix VI).


Informs CD that he has taken no further action about the petition concerning animal experimentation on the understanding that it would be presented only if the government introduced an objectionable bill. [See 9948.]

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9953A,” accessed on 25 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23