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Darwin Correspondence Project

To B. J. Sulivan   24 January 1872


Jan 24 | 1872

My dear Sulivan

I think it doubtful whether Agassiz wd have time for the work, but if you do not grudge the time it wd be well worth while to send him the requisite particulars.1 A wonderful amount of light might be thrown on the history of mammals by a large collection made on this spot. If you wd have the kindness to write a few words to Agassiz saying that I had advised you to do so, it wd save my writing a somewhat long letter, & wd do equally well. I am sorry to hear that your specimens have been neglected at the Coll. of Surgeons; but of late years Owen, I suppose from being overworked, neglected as I believe many things. The present head-man at the Coll. viz. Prof. Flower is a first-rate & indefatigable worker.2

I shall like to see the Photo. of Philip King & will return it,3 but as I feel as old as Methuselah, I do not require it to make me know how old I am—

My daughter is going to visit the Langtons at Bournemouth & hopes to call on Lady Sulivan & your daughters—4

With very kind regards from my wife believe | me yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I am not well & much overworked.


See letter from B. J. Sulivan, 23 January 1872. CD refers to Louis Agassiz.
Richard Owen and William Henry Flower were the former and current curators of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons (ODNB). See letter from B. J. Sulivan, 23 January 1872 and n. 6.
CD refers to Philip Gidley King; see letter from B. J. Sulivan, 23 January 1872.
CD refers to Elizabeth Darwin, Edmund and Emily Caroline Langton, Sophia and Sophia Henrietta Sulivan, and Catherine Sabine Trench. Elizabeth went to Bournemouth on 25 January 1872 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).


Suggests BJS write to Louis Agassiz about his [fossil mammal?] specimens but doubts that he will have time to do the work. Regrets they were ignored at the Royal College of Surgeons; thinks Owen neglected many things because he was overworked.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Bartholomew James Sulivan
Sent from
Source of text
Sulivan family (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8178,” accessed on 19 July 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20