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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Walter White   26 October 1857

The Royal Society, | Burlington House, | W.

Oct 26 1857

Dear Sir

At page 688 of the “abominable” catalogue you will find Encyclopaedias.1

Do you mention the “Dict. raisonnée universel—1746–93—” as being in our Library?2 I can’t find it in the Catalogue.

We have two works by Seringe, but not the “Flore des Jardins.”3

We have Hooper’s Dictionary of Medicine—;4 there is a department of “Medicine” in the Encyclopédie Méthodique—5 we have also “Dictionnaire de Medicine et de Chirurgie &c by Andral & others: 15 Vols.6

I can send the other books named in your List: but pardon my saying that I do not understand what this means. Vol II & IV, if in Library. Edited by Bomare7

Yrs very respectfully | W. White C. Darwin Esq

Mr Weld is confined to bed by a weakening attack of fever.

CD annotations

0.1 The… Jardins.” 3.1] crossed pencil
Bottom of last page: ‘p 639 see Journal de Medicin’ pencil
Verso of last page: ‘p 668 Osbecks Travels perhaps worth skimming’8 pencil


White was an assistant to Charles Richard Weld, the librarian of the Royal Society of London. The work to which he refers is the Catalogue of the scientific books in the library of the Royal Society (Royal Society of London 1839). A copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
See n. 7, below
Hooper 1831 was the only edition of this medical dictionary in the library of the Royal Society (Royal Society of London 1839).
White cut out this reference from CD’s letter and glued it to his own. It is likely that CD refers to Jacques Christophe Valmont de Bomare’s Dictionnaire raisonnée universal d’histoire naturelle, which appeared in four editions between 1764 and 1800. Valmont de Bomare’s work was frequently cited in Lucas 1847–50, which CD recorded having read on 5 September 1856 (Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 128: 20). CD cited Lucas 1847–50 in his species book as the source for Valmont de Bomare’s remarks on hybrid peacocks (see Natural selection, p. 435 n. 5). An annotated copy of Lucas 1847–50 is in the Darwin Library–CUL.


Andral, Gabriel et al. 1829–35. Dictionnaire de médicine et de chirurgie pratiques. 15 vols. Paris.

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

Hooper, Robert. 1831. Lexicon medicum; or medical dictionary. 6th ed. London.

Lucas, Prosper. 1847–50. Traité philosophique et physiologique de l’hérédité naturelle dans les états de santé et de maladie du système nerveux: avec l’application méthodique des lois de la procréation au traitement général des affections dont elle est le principe. 2 vols. Paris: J. B. Baillière.

Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.

Osbeck, Per. 1771. A voyage to China and the East Indies … Translated from the German, by John Reinhold Forster. 2 vols. London.

Royal Society of London. 1839. Catalogue of the scientific books in the library of the Royal Society. London.

Seringe, Nicolas Charles. 1845–9. Flore des jardins et des grandes cultures. 3 vols. Paris and Lyon.

Vicq d’Azyr, Félix. 1787–1830. Médicine. 13 vols. In Encyclopédie methodique. 190 vols. Paris.


Writes concerning library books requested by CD.

Letter details

Letter no.
Walter White
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Royal Society
Source of text
DAR 261.11: 19 (EH 88206071)
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2159,” accessed on 26 February 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6