To Alfred Newton 29 October 
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Sir
As I have always held, if you will permit me to say so, a very friendly feeling & respect towards you, it is with sincere regret, I may say with pain, that I feel I cannot give you a testimonial for the intended Professorship, of which I had not previously heard;1 for in my opinion in the present state of Zoological Science it would be indispensable that a teacher should have especially studied comparative anatomy & Histology, & likewise have attended much to the invertebrate animals which exhibit such different types of structure.
If I am not mistaken, you have not published on these subjects, & have chiefly attended to Birds, including their habits, instincts, distrubution and other such philosophical points.2 I do not suppose my testimonial would be of much value, & with not a few members of the University it wd be absolutely injurious, nevertheless it would have been a great satisfaction to me to have given you a testimonial, had it been in my power.
Pray believe me | my dear Sir | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
Declines writing testimonial for AN for the Cambridge Professorship in Zoology. The post requires expertise in comparative anatomy and histology, whereas AN’s work is on habits and colours of birds.
- physical ‘external’ characters
- structural characters
- theory (including philosophy)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4926,” accessed on 27 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4926