Qualifications of John Lindley, Huxley, Albany Hancock, Joseph Prestwich, J. C. Ross, and Francis Beaufort for Royal Medal.
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Hooker
I will write about science &c another day, but I must just say how very very kind you always are in helping me.—
Now about medals: I thought that you had quite fixed not to
propose Lindley except for Copley: for a Royal I
I will, however, (subject to my manifest ignorance) express strongly my opinion: the letter shall go in day or two.— I am rather taken aback by hearing that my letter to Sharpey was read aloud, as I meant it only for him & fear I expressed myself dogmatically: I am rather annoyed at this, for I cannot remember exactly what I said.—
I am exceedingly glad to hear that Lyell has chance of Copley sometime.—
Now for your remarks on some of the other men: I must think that you underrate Hancock.
Do pray talk with Huxley. I think he will be surprised at your speaking of him as a
“local cork” sic.— (No No I see it is local
My only fear is that Lindley might not think the Medal any honour after ourselves have had it, before him.—
I am heartily sorry you will not be at Club. I had quite calculated on meeting you there.
My wife & Etty have just started for Moor Park: she will stay a fortnight, & then I shall relieve guard for another fortnight.— It is most provoking that a cold on leaving Moor Park suddenly turned into my old vomiting, & I have been almost as bad since my return home as before, notwithstanding the really surprising state of health I was in there. I fear that my head will stand no thought, but I would sooner be the wretched contemptible invalid, which I am, than live the life of an idle squire.
Yours affecty | C. Darwin
Have you got settled your Household troubles?
P.S. | In rereading your letter I see I have misunderstood one part, viz that Prestwich was in a quite inferior class to Huxley— I see you do not think so.—
I have written my letter to Sharpey, and as I could not
remember any previous expressions of yours, I have given my independent impression,
which I have picked up in general reading.— I sincerely hope that you may
succeed.— I am glad that Richardson is the last preceder to Lindley, as no one
I hope that my letter to Sharpey will satisfy you, but reflect how absurd it must strike anyone in my expressing an opinion.
- f1 2099.f1The year is given by the discussion of nominations for medals of the Royal Society in 1857 and by CD's reference to visits to Moor Park (see n. 17, below).
- f2 2099.f2Hooker was on the council of the Royal Society of London in 1857 and 1858. CD had retired from the council in November 1856. Balloting for the society's awards took place early in June.
- f3 2099.f3Hooker had been attempting to secure the Copley Medal, the Royal Society's highest honour, for John Lindley for a number of years. In 1856, Hooker had suggested Lindley's name to CD for this medal, but CD apparently convinced Hooker that Lindley had little chance of being selected that year (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 8 April ).
- f4 2099.f4The previous year, CD had supported Joseph Prestwich and Albany Hancock as ‘eminently well qualified for the Royal Medal’ (letter to Edward Sabine, 23 April ).
- f5 2099.f5See letter to William Sharpey, 2 June . William Sharpey was one of the secretaries of the Royal Society.
- f6 2099.f6Edward Sabine was treasurer of the Royal Society.
- f7 2099.f7This letter to Sharpey has not been found, but see the letter to him, 2 June , in which CD refers to this incident again.
- f8 2099.f8Charles Lyell received the society's Copley Medal in 1858.
- f9 2099.f9Perhaps a reference to the fact that Hancock lived and worked in Newcastle upon Tyne, far from the scientific circles of London.
- f10 2099.f10Albany Hancock's insistence on the existence of a circulatory system in Mollusca had been recently confirmed, after years of controversy with Jean Louis Armand de Quatrefages de Bréau and Henri Milne-Edwards, by an independent commission set up by the Société de Biologie of Paris. Hancock's views, first put forward in Alder and Hancock 1844, were given in detail in Alder and Hancock 1845–55, pt 7. The work is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
- f11 2099.f11A. Hancock 1850 and 1858.
- f12 2099.f12A. Hancock 1848 was a study of the boring powers of Mollusca; Hancock 1849 was concerned with the excavating powers of sponges.
- f13 2099.f13Prestwich, a specialist on the Tertiary geology of England and Europe, was the author of numerous scientific memoirs.
- f14 2099.f14James Clark Ross, naval officer and explorer, had commanded the Antarctic expedition (1839–43) on which Hooker had served as assistant surgeon and botanist. He subsequently commanded an expedition to find Sir John Franklin and was generally regarded as the first authority on matters relating to Arctic navigation (DNB).
- f15 2099.f15Francis Beaufort, a former naval officer, had retired as hydrographer to the Admiralty in 1855. He was 83 years old and died at the end of 1857.
- f16 2099.f16The Philosophical Club of the Royal Society was to meet on 11 June 1857 (Bonney 1919, p. 136).
- f17 2099.f17Emma Darwin took Henrietta Emma Darwin to Moor Park for hydropathy on 29 May 1857 (Emma Darwin's diary). See also letter from Henrietta Emma Darwin, [2 August 1857].
- f18 2099.f18See letter to William Sharpey 2 June .
- f19 2099.f19John Richardson had received one of the Royal Medals in 1856. CD had supported his nomination (see letter to Edward Sabine, 23 April ).