Supports nomination of John Lindley for award of Royal Medal of the Royal Society.
Down Bromley Kent
I have heard from Hooker that he has proposed Lindley for the Royal medal; & as
I expressed my opinion to you on Hancock & Prestwich, I hope you will forgive me
troubling you with a few lines. You may with truth think it
absurd in a man not a Botanist, expressing an opinion on a Botanist, but my work for
several years has led me to read a good deal on Botany, especially in foreign Journals
&c., & it has been of consequence to me to form the best opinion I
could, how much to trust the remarks & generalisations of various authors. This
being so, I may state that I have been led to form a very high opinion of
Lindley's work, so that in my opinion neither Hancock or Prestwich could for a
minute be placed in competition with him for one of the R. medals. His claim
under many points of view seems to me very strong. To make a first rate monograph on any
one small department seems not to be very difficult,—still less so to gain a
wide but superficial knowledge; but to have so profound a knowledge as to discuss on
sound principles the classification of the whole vegetable kingdom, as Lindley has done,
shows extraordinary talents & knowledge: I have
observed frequently that foreign authors on whatever class or family they are treating,
seem to consider Lindley's opinions as deserving serious consideration. If I
were on the Council, I sh
Permit me to say one other word: Hooker tells me that my letter to you was read to the
Council: I had thought that you had asked merely for my
private opinion,—all that I said in that letter expressed my
deliberate conviction, whatever that may be worth, but I am rather alarmed that
I expressed myself dogmatically under the impression that I was writing to a private
friend & not to a Body like the Council of the Royal
Believe me dear Sharpey | Your's sincerely | Ch. Darwin
- f1 2100.f1Dated by the relationship to the letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 June .
- f2 2100.f2See letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 June . CD's previous note to Sharpey supporting Joseph Prestwich and Albany Hancock has not been found.
- f3 2100.f3John Lindley was the author of The vegetable kingdom; or, the structure, classification, and uses of plants, illustrated upon the natural system (Lindley 1846; 2d ed., 1853).
- f4 2100.f4Lindley was awarded a Royal Medal in 1857. Hancock received one of the two Royal Medals in 1858, and Joseph Prestwich was a recipient in 1865.
- f5 2100.f5See letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 June .