skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From F. M. Balfour   [14] December [1876]1

Trinity College | Cambridge


My dear Mr. Darwin

The following is a list of my chief publications—

“A preliminary account of the Development of the Elasmobranch Fishes. Quat. J. of Micr. Science Oct. 1874.”

A comparison of the Early Stages in the Development of Vertebrates. Quat. J. of Micr. Science. July 1875.

“On the origin & history of the Urinogenital Organs of Vertebrates.” Journal of Anat & Physiology. Vol X.

“On the Development of the Spinal Nerves in Elasmobranch” Phil. Trans. vol. 166.

‘A Monograph on the Development of Elasmobranch Fishes—’

Published in parts in the Journal of Anat & Physiology. vol X & XI. & not yet completed

‘Elements of Embryology’. Pt 1. Foster & Balfour.2

For the certificate I would suggest the following

  • Dr Allen Thomson
  • Professor Newton
  • — Humphry
  • Dr. Sharpey
  • Professor Rolleston
  • — Lankester3

leaving it to you to do what you think best about asking them. I know them all personally.

Please do as you think best about my brother in law.4

I am sending some of my publications to you, but unfortunately I have not got copies of all.

I will ask Foster today for a list of the council.5

I must thank you very greatly for the trouble you are taking for & for your kindness in consenting to propose me— if this letter appears somewhat short & business like it is because I am on the eve of starting for Italy & Constantinople & have been afraid all along that I should not get my letter finished before I had to start.

Foster travels with me to Naples. & there I leave him & go on with my brother Gerald to Constantinople.6

If it necessary to write further to me please address to

  • Poste Restante
  • Constantinople.

I shall be back by the end of January.

your’s ever | very sincerely | F. M. Balfour

CD annotations

9.3 Professor ... Humphrey 9.4] bracketed, pencil
9.5 Dr Sharpey] ‘1’ circled, pencil
9.6 Professor Rolleston] ‘— Allman’ below and bracketed, pencil


The day and year are established by the relationship between this letter, the letter to F. M. Balfour, 13 December 1876, and the letter from F. M. Balfour, [14 December].
The publications are: F. M. Balfour 1874, 1875a, 1875b, 1875c, and 1876–8, and Foster and Balfour 1874. They were cited in the letter accompanying Balfour’s nomination for fellowship of the Royal Society of London. The parts of the monograph F. M. Balfour 1876–8 were published as the book F. M. Balfour 1878.
CD had asked for the names of six fellows to sign Balfour’s certificate for membership of the Royal Society; Balfour suggests Allen Thomson, Alfred Newton, George Murray Humphry, William Sharpey, George Rolleston, and Edwin Ray Lankester.
CD had suggested that Balfour’s brother-in-law John William Strutt might sign Balfour’s certificate (see letter to F. M. Balfour, 13 December 1876 and n. 4).
Michael Foster was on the Royal Society Council.
Gerald William Balfour. Constantinople is now Istanbul.


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

Balfour, Francis Maitland. 1876–8. The development of elasmobranch fishes. Journal of Anatomy and Physiology 10: 377–411, 517–70, 672–88; 11: 128–172, 406–90, 674–706; 12: 177–216.

Balfour, Francis Maitland. 1878. A monograph on the development of elasmobranch fishes. London: Macmillan and Co.


Lists his chief publications and suggests names of biologists in the Royal Society whom CD might ask to sign his nomination certificate.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Maitland Balfour
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Trinity College, Cambridge
Source of text
DAR 160: 25
Physical description
5pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10712,” accessed on 15 May 2021,

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