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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Nevil Story-Maskelyne   26 December 1875

Basset Down House, | Swindon.

Decr 26. 1875.

Dear Mr. Darwin

I do not know whether you are personally acquainted with Mr. Judd. I hope that at least some of his works and, in particular, that his admirable paper in the Geol. Soc. Transactions on the Volcanoes of the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland, are not unknown to you.1 I have so high an opinion of him, as well of his personal character, as of the fine zeal and vigorous ability that impels his work, that I think he will honour the Royal Society as much as he will be honoured by being elected a fellow.

So I have taken in hand the setting forth his merits and the inviting a few distinguished men of Science to give lustre to his name by signing the certificate which will be suspended this year at the Royal Society.2

I venture to invite you to take your proper place by heading the list with your signature; if you know enough of Mr. Judd to feel justified in endorsing his certificate.3

My Wife has made your acquaintance (and she is much better worth knowing than I am); and I feel justified in writing to you as if I also knew you after the kind manner in which you received her.4

She desires me to remember her very kindly to you and joins me in taking advantage of the short days to wish you and yours many new years of valuable life and health for the enjoyment of them.

And I am with great respect | faithfully your’s | Nevil Story Maskelyne.

P.S. Would you kindly return the Certificate to me here, I hope my direction is not too vague on the envelope of this letter.

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Bassett’ pencil


CD greatly admired John Wesley Judd’s paper on the ancient volcanoes of the Scottish Highlands and Inner Hebrides (Judd 1874); it was published in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London (see Correspondence vol. 22, letter to Charles Lyell, 23 September 1874).
Certificates of nomination for fellowship of the Royal Society of London had to be suspended in the society’s meeting room prior to election; Judd was first recommended for fellowship of the society at a meeting of the society on 2 March 1876, and elected a fellow on 7 June 1877 (Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 24 (1875–6): 345, and 26 (1877): 210).
CD recommended Judd from general as opposed to personal knowledge (The Royal Society archive GB 117, EC/1877/09).
Thereza Mary Story-Maskelyne had sent CD observations on a canary and siskin that attacked primrose and cowslip flowers; he used this information in a letter he sent to Nature on birds destroying primrose flowers (see Correspondence vol. 22, letter to Nature, 7 and 11 May [1874] and n. 6). CD had seen her in London when canvassing for support for Edwin Ray Lankester’s second attempt to become a fellow of the Linnean Society (see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 16 December [1875] and n. 5). ‘Mr …’ rather than ‘Sir’ in the salutation usually indicated that the writer and the addressee had met.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Judd, John Wesley. 1874. On the ancient volcanoes of the Highlands and the relations of their products to the Mesozoic strata. [Read 21 January 1874.] Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 30: 220–302.


He is proposing [John Wesley?] Judd for F.R.S. and asks for CD’s support.

Letter details

Letter no.
Mervyn Herbert Nevil (Nevil) Story-Maskelyne
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 177: 262
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10327,” accessed on 7 April 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23