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Darwin Correspondence Project


To George Busk   4 December [1864]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Dec 4

My dear Busk

I thank you sincerely for your most kind letter1 which I should have answered at once but I have been more unwell than usual for the last few days.

I did not know before receiving your note that I was indebted to you for proposing me for the Copley medal.2 I have just seen in the Reader Sabine’s splendid eulogium on my work in Nat. History;3 I do not know who helped him but strongly suspect that I owe a good deal of the praise to you—4

You will remember that you were so kind as to advise me a year & a half ago about my incessant sickness.5 I have got over this, but still keep very weak & fear I shall ever remain so.6

Believe me my dear Busk with cordial thanks for your kindness | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S. I do not know whether it is improper, but I have written to Sabine to express the pleasure which his eulogium has given me, but I added that I shd. of course have liked a little more said about the “Origin”, but that he could say only what he thought true; I then added a few sentences sticking up for the truth of the general principles of the “Origin”.—7


Letter from George Busk, 1 December 1864.
Busk nominated CD for the Copley Medal at the meeting of the Royal Society of London on 23 June 1864; Hugh Falconer seconded the nomination (Royal Society, Council minutes, 23 June 1864).
CD refers to the version of Edward Sabine’s anniversary address to the Royal Society printed in the Reader, 3 December 1864, pp. 708–9 (see letter from Hugh Falconer, 2 December 1864 and nn. 1–3).
No record of any contribution by Busk to Sabine’s address has been found. See letter from T. H. Huxley to J. D. Hooker, 3 December 1864, n. 5.
See Correspondence vol. 11, letter from George Busk, [c. 27 August 1863]. Busk diagnosed that CD was suffering from the stomach ailment water-brash. He prescribed various treatments, and advised CD to consult a specialist.
CD had been in poor health during the second half of 1863 and the early months of 1864 (see letter to Asa Gray, 25 February [1864] and n. 2, letter to J. D. Hooker, [15 May 1864], and letter from W. D. Fox, 28 November [1864], n. 3).
See letter to Edward Sabine, 4 December [1864].


Thanks GB for proposing him for Copley Medal; suspects he is responsible for the praise in Sabine’s "splendid eulogy" on his work. Has, however, written to Sabine to say he would have liked a little more said about the Origin.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4696,” accessed on 12 February 2016,