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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Henry Johnson   8 October 1862


Oct 8 | 1862

My dear Darwin,

I am very much obliged to you for your very kind letter,1 and also for the Photograph, which is a capital likeness of you—& which I shall always greatly value.2 I should know it anywhere.

I did not know that the difficulty of getting into the R. Society was so great. There is no other scientific distinction except the F.R.S. that I should care to add to my name—but, I confess to have had always rather a longing for that but the sum paid by my brother always frightened me.3

From what you tell me about the number of Candidates on the list, I think I should hardly live to be elected for I am already 58.!!4

I dont think it is impossible that I might be able to get leave to send you a skull of the Wroxeter ox.5

Whenever we have a meeting of the Council I will remember to moot the question.6

Yours very sincerely | Henry Johnson


CD’s letter has not been found. Johnson had written to CD inquiring about the costs entailed in becoming a fellow of the Royal Society of London (see letter from Henry Johnson, 30 September 1862).
See letter from Henry Johnson, 30 September 1862. CD probably sent Johnson a copy of the photograph taken by William Erasmus Darwin in 1861, which is reproduced as the frontispiece to Correspondence vol. 9 (see also letter to Daniel Oliver, [17 September 1862] and n. 8).
Johnson’s brother was George Henry Sacheverell Johnson, dean of Wells and vicar of St Cuthbert’s, Wells (DNB, Salopian Shreds and Patches 5 (1882): 2). The fee for admission as a fellow of the Royal Society of London was £10; thereafter, the annual fee was £4. Alternatively, one could pay a ‘composition’ fee of £40 (Record of the Royal Society of London, p. 100).
Johnson did not become a fellow of the Royal Society of London (Record of the Royal Society of London, pp. 517–66).
The reference has not been traced; however, among the remains of extinct animal species found at Wroxeter were ‘crania of the Bos longifrons, one of which, now in the Museum [of the Shropshire Natural History and Antiquarian Society], bears … the mark of the blow of the butcher’s axe by which it was slaughtered’, and also bones of another species of ox which was thought to be extinct (Wright 1872, p. 321). The reference is to the museum of the Shropshire Natural History Society, under whose auspices the remains of the Roman city of Uriconium, at Wroxeter in Shropshire, were being excavated. CD did not refer to the Wroxeter finds in his account of the history of the different species of cattle in Variation 1: 79–93.
Johnson was honorary secretary of the Shropshire Natural History Society, he had also been appointed to the committee responsible for the excavation of the remains at Wroxeter (Wright 1872, p. iii).


Doubts he has a chance of being elected F.R.S. because he is 58.

Will send a skull.

Letter details

Letter no.
Henry Johnson
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 168: 67
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3754,” accessed on 19 February 2019,

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