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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Henry Johnson   30 September 1862


Sept 30. | 1862

Dear Darwin,

Perhaps you have seen by the Transactions that the R. Society has published a Paper of mine about the crushed skulls found at Wroxeter.1

In consequence of this one of the Fellows has asked me if I would be proposed as an F.RS.2

Much as I should like to be so honoured—I have always heard that those three letters are the dearest in the alphabet.

Will you kindly tell me what is the cost—exactly for if it is what I fancy I must decline.3 I hope you are stronger & better in health than when I last heard of you.4

If I could know how to procure a photograph or carte de visite of you for love or money I should be extremely glad,

Yours very truly | Henry Johnson

C. Darwin Esq


An abstract of Johnson’s paper, entitled ‘On the distorted skulls found at Wroxeter (Salop), with a mechanico-chemical explanation of the distortion’, was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (Johnson 1862). Excavation of the site of the Roman city of Uriconium, at Wroxeter in Shropshire, began in 1859 under the auspices of the Shropshire Natural History and Antiquarian Society, of which Johnson was honorary secretary; Johnson had been appointed to the committee responsible for the excavation (Wright 1872, p. iii).
Johnson may refer to Erasmus Wilson, who had communicated Johnson’s paper to the Royal Society (Johnson 1862, p. 149).
Johnson did not become a fellow of the Royal Society of London (Record of the Royal Society of London, pp. 517-66). The admission fee for the Royal Society of London was £10 and, thereafter, £1 per quarter; alternatively, one could pay a ‘composition’ fee of £40 (Record of the Royal Society of London, p. 100).
CD and Johnson had been contemporaries at Shrewsbury School and, later, at the University of Edinburgh (Correspondence vol. 1, Medical directory); no earlier correspondence between them has been found.


HHJ’s paper ["On the distorted skulls found at Wroxeter (Salop)", Proc. R. Soc. Lond. 12 (1862–3): 149–50].

He has been approached about becoming F.R.S., but would like to know how expensive it would be.

Requests a photograph.

Letter details

Letter no.
Henry Johnson
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 168: 66
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3743,” accessed on 16 February 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10