Congratulations on the Copley Medal.
My dear Charles
I cannot forbear writing a a few lines, to express the very great pleasure I feel in the decision as to the Copley Medal yesterday. Never has it been more appropriately or worthily bestowed.— On every account I heartily rejoice in it
I hear frequently of your health from Erasmus. The intelligence of your improvement within the last two or three months has been very welcome to me.
Erasmus, at my suggestion, has proposed your reading (if you have not already done so)
the discussion of your doctrine in the 10
I have been having some participation with Falconer & Busk, in the examination of the Gibraltar Caves & Fossils, during the latter weeks of the Autumn. In addition to the good I always get from the sea, I had some profitable riding on the Morocco side of the Straits, from Tangiers,— a little less savage, however, in the sights it shewed than my military ride with the Army of the Potomac, in Virginia last year
Ever my dear Charles your's very truly | H Holland
- f1 4659.f1The year is established by the reference to the Copley Medal (see n. 2, below)
- f2 4659.f2The Council of the Royal Society of London voted to award CD the Copley Medal on 3 November 1864 (Royal Society, Council minutes).
- f3 4659.f3Holland refers to CD's brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin. See letter from E. A. Darwin, [15? April 1864].
- f4 4659.f4CD's health had been improving since April (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 April  and n. 5, and letter from Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox, [6 May 1864]). In the past, CD and his family had consulted Holland, a prominent London physician and distant relation of CD's, on matters of health (see letter from E. A. Darwin, [15? April 1864] and n. 4).
- f5 4659.f5The reference is to Herbert Spencer's Principles of biology (Spencer 1864--7). The work was issued in instalments beginning in January 1863 as a continuation of Spencer's First principles (Spencer 1860--2). Instalment no. 10 (pp. 241--320) was issued in January 1864; no. 11 (pp. 321--400) in May 1864; and no. 12 (pp. 401--76) in October 1864. CD's theory of natural selection is discussed on pp. 445--57. See letter from A. R. Wallace, 2 January 1864 and nn. 20--4, letters from J. D. Hooker, 24 January 1864 and n. 8, and 26[--8] October 1864, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 November .
- f6 4659.f6Holland had joined Hugh Falconer and George Busk in Gibraltar to investigate fossils (see Holland 1872, p. 308). See letter from Hugh Falconer, 3 November 186 and n. 6.
- f7 4659.f7In his autobiography, Holland briefly mentions his 1863 visit to the headquarters of the Union army of the Potomac in Virginia (see Holland 1872, pp. 189, 278--9 n.). For an account of the army's activities in 1863, see Denney 1992, pp. 260, 279--83, and 329.