On his mother's death Robert gave up his profession and resided ever afterwards at Elston Hall. Of this Robert, Charles Darwin writes (What follows is quoted from Charles Darwin's biography of his grandfather, forming the preliminary notice to Ernst Krause's interesting essay, 'Erasmus Darwin,' London, 1879, page 4.):--
"He seems to have had some taste for science, for he was an early member of the well-known Spalding Club; and the celebrated antiquary Dr. Stukeley, in 'An Account of the almost entire Sceleton of a large Animal,' etc., published in the 'Philosophical Transactions,' April and May 1719, begins the paper as follows: 'Having an account from my friend Robert Darwin, Esq., of Lincoln's Inn, a person of curiosity, of a human sceleton impressed in stone, found lately by the rector of Elston,' etc. Stukeley then speaks of it as a great rarity, 'the like whereof has not been observed before in this island to my knowledge.' Judging from a sort of litany written by Robert, and handed down in the family, he was a strong advocate of temperance, which his son ever afterwards so strongly advocated:--
>From a morning that doth shine, >From a boy that drinketh wine, >From a wife that talketh Latine, Good Lord deliver me!
"It is suspected that the third line may be accounted for by his wife, the mother of Erasmus, having been a very learned lady. The eldest son of Robert, christened Robert Waring, succeeded to the estate of Elston, and died there at the age of ninety-two, a bachelor. He had a strong taste for poetry, like his youngest brother Erasmus. Robert also cultivated botany, and, when an oldish man, he published his 'Principia Botanica.' This book in MS. was beautifully written, and my father [Dr. R.W. Darwin] declared that he believed it was published because his old uncle could not endure that such fine caligraphy should be wasted. But this was hardly just, as the work contains many curious notes on biology--a subject wholly neglected in England in the last century. The public, moreover, appreciated the book, as the copy in my possession is the third edition."
The second son, William Alvey, inherited Elston, and transmitted it to his granddaughter, the late Mrs. Darwin, of Elston and Creskeld. A third son, John, became rector of Elston, the living being in the gift of the family. The fourth son, the youngest child, was Erasmus Darwin, the poet and philosopher.
TABLE OF RELATIONSHIP. (An incomplete list of family members.)
ROBERT DARWIN of Elston, 1682-1754, had three sons, William Alvey Darwin, 1726-1783, Robert Waring Darwin, 1724-1816, and Erasmus Darwin, 1731-1802.
William Alvey Darwin, 1726-1783, had a son, William Brown Darwin, 1774- 1841, and a daughter, Anne Darwin.
William Brown Darwin, 1774-1841, had two daughters, Charlotte Darwin and Sarah Darwin.
Charlotte Darwin married Francis Rhodes, now Francis Darwin of Creskeld and Elston.
Sarah Darwin married Edward Noel.
Anne Darwin married Samuel Fox and had a son, William Darwin Fox.
ERASMUS DARWIN, 1731-1802, married (1) MARY HOWARD, 1740-1770, with whom he had two sons, Charles Darwin, 1758-1778, and ROBERT WARING DARWIN, and (2) Eliz. Chandos-Pole, 1747-1832, with whom he had a daughter, Violetta Darwin, and a son, Francis Sacheverel Darwin.
ROBERT WARING DARWIN, 1767-1848, married SUSANNAH WEDGWOOD and had a son, CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN, b. February 12, 1809, d. April 19, 1882.
Violetta Darwin married Samuel Tertius Galton and had a son, Francis Galton.
Francis Sacheverel Darwin, 1786-1859, had two sons, Reginald Darwin and Edward Darwin, "High Elms."
The table above shows Charles Darwin's descent from Robert, and his relationship to some other members of the family, whose names occur in his correspondence. Among these are included William Darwin Fox, one of his earliest correspondents, and Francis Galton, with whom he maintained a warm friendship for many years. Here also occurs the name of Francis Sacheverel Darwin, who inherited a love of natural history from Erasmus, and transmitted it to his son Edward Darwin, author (under the name of "High Elms") of a 'Gamekeeper's Manual' (4th Edition 1863), which shows keen observation of the habits of various animals.