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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Albert Günther   27 December 1880

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | (Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.)

Dec. 27th 1880

My dear Dr Günther

Enclosed is the Memorial about which I take a very deep interest.1

Will you kindly read & consider it, & if you approve, I hope that you will sign, appending your official title at the Museum.2 We intend to get only a few signatures, viz of ⁠⟨⁠men⁠⟩⁠ who from their special studies, or as Pres. of Scientific Socs. have some claim to be heard.

Hooker, Lubbock & Huxley will sign.3 The D. of Argyll has written to Mr Gladstone that he highly approves of the Memorial.4 Now I want to ask a favour of you, unless for any reason you dislike granting it, namely, to send the memorial to Owen; you might say that you had been asked to lay it before him, as his signature wd carry great weight. If he asks who originated the memorial you will of course have to ⁠⟨⁠tell⁠⟩⁠ him that it was I; & this w⁠⟨⁠ill⁠⟩⁠ I fear prejudice him against it. I could not myself send it as I have not spoken to him for 20 years.5 I enclose an envelope for the return of the memorial, as time is of consequence on account of the meeting of Pa⁠⟨⁠r⁠⟩⁠lt.

Pray forgive me for troubling you & believe me | My dear Dr Günther | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin

I thank you much for giving me your address so fully.6 There has been great delay owing to the disturbance of the Post.—

Lord Aberdare7 signed it on the 23d & I have received it only this morning!


The enclosure was the memorial to obtain a government pension for Alfred Russel Wallace. It has not been found, but there is a draft of it in DAR 196: 3; for a transcription, see Appendix VI.
Günther was keeper of the zoological department at the British Museum.
Richard Owen and CD had not been on speaking terms since shortly after the publication of Origin (see letter to T. H. Huxley, 9 December 1880 and n. 2).
See letter to Albert Günther, 22 December [1880]; Günther’s reply has not been found.


Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Sends memorial [for A. R. Wallace] for AG to sign. Asks whether AG will forward it to Owen; CD cannot send it as he has not spoken to him for 20 years.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Albrecht Carl Ludwig Gotthilf (Albert) Günther
Sent from
Source of text
Shrewsbury School, Taylor Library
Physical description
LS(A) 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12944,” accessed on 1 October 2023,