In view of the charges directed by Edward Blyth against George R. Gray for gross incivility and discourtesy in discharging his duties as assistant in the zoological department at the British Museum, CD is asked by the Trustees to comment upon his own experience with Gray and to offer his judgment of these charges.
I take the liberty of troubling you with a Copy of a Letter addressed to the Trustees of the British Museum by a Mr. Edward Blyth, in which he accuses Mr. Geo. R. Gray of gross incivility and uncourteous conduct in the exectution of his official duties, as one of the Assistants in the Zoological Department in this Institution.—
The Trustees have directed me to examine into the allegations contained in
Mr. Blyth's Letter, and, therefore, as you have
sometimes had occasion to consult the Collections more immediately the subject of
Mr. Geo. Gray's duties, I request the favour of you to inform me, whether you
have found the general tenor of his conduct courteous, or otherwise, and whether, from
what you have yourself experienced, you think him capable or not of such behaviour as is
attributed to him by M
The unpleasant duty imposed on me by the Trustees, and justice to both parties, induces
me to trouble you with this application, an early answer to which will much oblige, |
Dear Sir, | Your's faithfully | (signed)—. John Geo. Children
Messrs. Darwin | Yarrell | Audubon | Gould | Turner—
- f1 402b.f1Edward Blyth, at the time a druggist in Tooting, had published several papers on British zoology and, with others, was preparing a new edition of Georges Cuvier's Animal kingdom, which appeared in 1840.
- f2 402b.f2George Robert Gray, an assistant in the zoological department of the British Museum, had undertaken the completion of Birds when John Gould left for Australia in 1838 (see Correspondence vol. 2, letter to G. R. Gray, [20 November--11 December 1840]). He had joined the staff of the British Museum in 1831.
- f3 402b.f3Children, keeper of the zoology department of the British Museum, was senior to Gray.
- f4 402b.f4John Richardson, Andrew Smith, William Yarrell, John James Audubon, and John Gould were all prominent ornithologists who had had occasion to use the British Museum's collection of birds, curated by Gray. Turner has not been identified.