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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Gilbert William Child   3 May [1868]1


May 3.

Dear Sir

I am about to become a candidate for the Sherardian professorship of Botany in this University to which the President & Council of the College of Physicians are electors & which will now very shortly be filled up. It would seem that the limits within which the choice of the electors is by law confined are such as to exclude several persons whose Botanical reputation would render their claim to the office paramount, & that therefore general scientific ability & reputation will probably have some weight with the electors.2 If you should consider, from your acquaintance with my writings that I should be likely to fill the office with credit & not without advantage to the University, I should feel very much indebted to you if you would kindly give some testimony in my favour

I trust you will excuse my applying to you on the subject remembering that by the help of such testimony only can a man not already well known hope to obtain an appointment of this kind, and also that it would be of the greatest advantage to me to obtain the support of your recommendation should you feel at liberty to give it me.

I am dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Gilbert W. Child.

C. Darwin Esq F.R.S. | &c &c


The year is established by the reference to the appointment of a professor of botany at Oxford University (see n. 2, below).
From 1834 the post of Sherardian Professor of botany at Oxford University was held by Charles Giles Bridle Daubeny, who died in 1867. From 1868 to 1882 the post was held by Marmaduke Alexander Lawson. The appointment was made by a board consisting of the visitor and the president of Magdalen College, Oxford; the presidents of the Linnean Society and the College of Physicians; a person nominated by the Hebdomadal Council; the Linacre Professor of comparative anatomy; and the professor of botany at the University of Cambridge. (Historical register of the University of Oxford.) See also letter to J. P. M. Weale, 23 January [1868].


Requests CD testimonial for Sherardian Professorship of Botany.

Letter details

Letter no.
Gilbert William Child
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 143
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6159,” accessed on 26 March 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16