Letter from Erasmus Darwin to Matthew Boulton, 1778/04/05

5 April 1778

Darwin sends his apologies to Boulton for being absent from a Lunar Society meeting with a lively description of discussions he will be missing. He also enquires after the Kauffmann prints.


Dear Boulton

I am sorry the infernal Divinities, who visit mankind with diseases, and are therefore at perpetual war with Doctors, should have prevented my seeing all you great Men at Soho today – – Lord! What inventions, what wit, what rhetoric, metaphysical, mechanical and pyrotecnical, will be on the wing, bandy’d like a shuttlecock from one to another of your troop of philosophers! While poor I, I by myself I, imprizon’d in a post chaise, am joggled, and jostled, and bump’d, and bruised along the King’s high road, to make war upon a pox or a fever! Now had I pack’d up a print of Prince Pretty-man, for you, and a book on opake colours for the society, in vain!

Now I wish you would do me the honour to let me open a correspondence with one of your clarks, to know if I am ever to have the prints framed of Mrs Kaufman, – and direct the said Clark to write to me that he has pack’d them up, and sent them to Lichfield – – far [be] it from me to think of corresponding on these subjects with the great man himself.

When my Brother’s Plate is sent, you will also please to order the bill to be sent to me. There is a small account also between you and me, viz. that last year when you sent me a receipt for 200£ I sent you 205£ not having other bills. This also when I pay for the plate may be settled.

Adieu, the Lord bless you and keep you.

Remember my prints,


Apr. 5-78

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Image creators: Dr Darwin, Erasmus (Creator)
Image courtesy of: Birmingham Archives
Donor ref: MBP/304/27