skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Lyon Playfair   29 April 1875

Athenæum Club | Pall Mall S.W.

29 April/75

My dear Mr Darwin

Many thanks for your letter.1 I had already seen Sanderson who supplied me with a copy of the Bill.2 I think with a few alterations, especially with a more humanitarian preamble, it will do well. I am in communication with Lord Cardwell & Lord Shaftesbury who represent the more reasonable of the humanitarians,3 and if as I hope, their cooperation can be secured, I would suggest that the Bill should be introduced by the former into the House of Lords. If he do not consent to this initiation, it can be introduced into the Commons by who ever you deem best.

I spoke to the Home Secretary4 about the proposed Bill & showed him your letter. I think he is much inclined to support a reasonable Bill.

Yours Sincerely | Lyon Playfair


Playfair had visited John Scott Burdon Sanderson to discuss the vivisection bill drawn up by CD and his friends on 28 April (see letter from J. S. Burdon Sanderson, 30 April [1875]).
Edward Cardwell (Viscount Cardwell) and Anthony Ashley-Cooper (the earl of Shaftesbury) were both vice-presidents of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. John Lubbock had also recommended changes to the preamble (see letter to R. B. Litchfield, 24 April [1875]).
Richard Assheton Cross was home secretary.


Supports the Vivisection Bill, with a more humanitarian preamble. Working to get it through the House of Lords.

Letter details

Letter no.
Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair of St Andrews
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Athenaeum Club
Source of text
DAR 174: 48
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9956,” accessed on 19 September 2021,

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