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Darwin Correspondence Project

To B. W. Hawkins   [1848–51]1

Dear Sir,

I have much pleasure in sending my testimony to your skill as an artist both in drawing and engraving, and in several departments of Natural History, and if I may be permitted to add, of your general intelligence and knowledge.2 On the many occasions when I have had to meet you, I have invariably found your disposition to be most obliging.3

With best wishes for your success. Your’s faithfully, | (Signed) C. Darwin, F.R.S. &c. &c.4


Dated from other testimonials, accompanying that of CD, in a file of copies headed: ‘Testimonials of character and capabilities of B. Waterhouse Hawkins, Fellow of Linnean Society, Memb. of Soc. Arts’. Testimonials sent by Thomas Bell, secretary of the Royal Society from 1848 to 1853, and Edward Smith Stanley, Earl of Derby, who died in 1851, establish the date range.
Hawkins was evidently hoping to secure a position teaching art, as a testimonial from John Rogers Herbert states: ‘I think your mode of teaching a sound one, and that the students would derive great advantage from a course of study under your directions’.
Hawkins had drawn the plates for Fish and Reptiles, parts of CD’s Zoology.
Besides CD’s, Bell’s, and Lord Derby’s, there are testimonials from William Yarrell, vice-president, Zoological Society; Marshall Hall, M.D.; J. R. Herbert, R.A.; and Thomas Landseer, A.R.A., F.L.S.


Fish: Pt IV of The zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle. By Leonard Jenyns. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London. 1840–2. [Vols. 2,3,4,9]

Reptiles: Reptiles. Pt 5 of The zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle. By Thomas Bell. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1843.

Zoology: The zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. 5 pts. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1838–43.


Testimonial recommending B. Waterhouse Hawkins [for a teaching post].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins
Sent from
Source of text
Library of Congress Manuscript Division (George P. Merrill collection, box 4, file H)
Physical description
C 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13869,” accessed on 7 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4