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Darwin Correspondence Project

To [Edward William Blore]   [October 1870 or later]1

Dear Sir

I hope that you will excuse the l. which I take in troubling you.— My son H.2 has had bad health for several years, & partly in cause of this is extremely backward in Classics & many other subjects. He is now much better but Dr Bence Jones3 not very long ago said that he must not work hard. My son has a strong taste & some capacity for mathematics. I have [therefore much] fear that he will not be able to pass his little-go4 & have advised him to get a private tutor for this sole object; but as he has a strong taste & some cap. for math. I have allowed him to attend Mr Routh’s l but I doubt whether he will he will have strength or time for both Private tutor & the College Lectures.5 Under these peculiar circumstances wd it be possible for you to excuse him at present attendance at College Lectures.— I hope that you will forgive me for calling your attention to my son’s case & that you will not think of answering this note; but inform my son what you may think right to do.— Dear Sir


The date is established by the fact that Horace Darwin matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, in the Michaelmas term of 1870 (Alum. Cantab.); the Michaelmas term begins in October. There is a payment to Blore of £25 ‘for Horace (last year)’ recorded in CD’s Classed account books (Down House MS) on 31 January 1871, which suggests that Blore was Horace’s tutor at Trinity.
Horace Darwin.
Henry Bence Jones.
The little go, or previous examination, was an examination in Latin, Greek, mathematics, and theology usually taken in the second year of residence (Winstanley 1947, pp. 144–5).
Edward John Routh, a highly successful mathematics tutor at Cambridge, had been private tutor to George Howard Darwin (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter to Edward Cresy, 19 October [1865]; for Routh’s career, see Warwick 2003, pp. 229–40).


Alum. Cantab.: Alumni Cantabrigienses. A biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900. Compiled by John Venn and J. A. Venn. 10 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1922–54.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Warwick, Andrew. 2003. Masters of theory: Cambridge and the rise of mathematical physics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Winstanley, Denys Arthur. 1947. Later Victorian Cambridge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Horace Darwin wishes to have private tuition to help him pass the "Little Go" and so CD wonders if he might be excused College lectures for the present, to prevent undue strain.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Edward William Blore
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 96: 82
Physical description
Adraft 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7049,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18