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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Lyon Playfair   21 May 1875

House of Commons1

21 May /75

My dear Sir

Your letter of the 15th only reached me today on my return to town.2 The Government have determined to issue a Royal Commn on the subject with Lord Cardwell as Chairman.3 Therefore our Bill will only be read a 2nd time pro forma4

Yours truly | Lyon Playfair


Playfair was the member of Parliament for the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews.
Playfair had introduced a bill on the regulation of vivisection to the House of Commons on 15 May 1875; however, another bill on the same subject had been introduced in the House of Lords by Lord Hartismere (John Henniker-Major) on 4 May (see letter from J. S. Burdon Sanderson, [8 May 1875] and n. 3). A Royal Commission was appointed to gather information and report on the subject before legislation was drawn up (Hansard parliamentary debates 3d ser. vol. 224 (1875), col. 794). Edward Cardwell was chairman of the commission.
The first reading of the vivisection bill occurred when Playfair formally presented it in the House of Commons; the second reading would usually provide an occasion for debate, but in this case, because a Royal Commission was set up to look at the issues involved, it was a formality.


Hansard parliamentary debates:


The Government has decided to hold a Royal Commission on vivisection with Lord Cardwell as chairman.

Letter details

Letter no.
Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair of St Andrews
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
House of Commons
Source of text
DAR 174: 49
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9987,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

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