skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From F. M. Balfour   11 December 1876

Trinity College | Cambridge

Dec. 11. 76

My dear Mr. Darwin

You were kind enough some time ago, to offer to propose me for election to the Royal Society;1 At the time you made this offer I thought that Foster would naturally do this for me; but he has been put upon the council of the R. Society & cannot therefore propose me; & he has suggested to me that I should write to you in case you still wished to bring me forward.2

I hope that you will in no way think yourself bound to propose me unless you really think that I am of sufficient standing & have done sufficient work to merit so great a distinction as being proposed by yourself; & that you will pardon my apparent egoism in writing to you in this way.

I am | Yours very truly | F. M. Balfour


No other reference to an offer by CD to propose Balfour for membership of the Royal Society of London has been found.
Balfour had been a student of Michael Foster at Cambridge, and they had co-written The elements of embryology (Foster and Balfour 1874). Foster was a member of the Council of the Royal Society in 1876 (ODNB) .


Balfour, Francis Maitland. 1874. A preliminary account of the development of the elasmobranch fishes. Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science n.s. 14: 323–64.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Asks CD to renew his former offer to propose him for the Royal Society, as Michael Foster, now on the Council, is unable to do so.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Maitland Balfour
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Trinity College, Cambridge
Source of text
DAR 160: 26
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10711,” accessed on 13 May 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24