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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Benjamin Collins Brodie   26 April [1859]1

Down Bromley Kent

Ap. 26th

Dear Sir Benjamin Brodie

In answer to your note, I cannot think of any Zoologist who has any especial claim for the Royal Medal.2 Though not a Botanist myself, it seems to me that Mr Bentham has high claims for this honour. His contributions to De Candolles great Prodromus, almost by itself shows his European reputation as a systematic Botanist:3 & many of his memoirs, as I can speak from my own knowledge, contain much important information on Classification, Distribution & such general subjects.—

Should the Council think of a geologist, to the best of my judgment, Mr Prestwich4 amply deserves a medal, for his remarkable & excellent labours on the British Tertiary formations, & their correlation with those on the continent. I am tempted to add that it would be a facility in thinking over the medals if any list of the names of individuals existed to whom the medals of all kinds have been given: it would aid in apportioning the medals fairly for different subjects.—

With much respect pray believe me | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin


The year is established by the subject matter. Benjamin Collins Brodie (1783–1862) was president of the Royal Society of London from 30 November 1858 to 30 November 1861; George Bentham was awarded a Royal Medal in 1859 (Record of the Royal Society of London).
Brodie’s letter has not been found.
CD refers to Alphonse de Candolle and Candolle and Candolle 1824–73 (Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis). Bentham worked on a monograph on the heaths, and on the order Scrophularineae (which is roughly equivalent to the modern family Scrophulariaceae) and the Labiatae (now the Lamiaceae), for Candolle and Candolle 1824–73 (B. D. Jackson 1906, pp. 115, 137).


Candolle, Augustin Pyramus de and Candolle, Alphonse de. 1824–73. Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis, sive enumeratio contracta ordinum generum specierumque plantarum huc usque cognitarum, juxta methodi naturalis normas digesta. 19 vols. Paris: Treuttel & Würtz [and others].

Jackson, Benjamin Daydon. 1906. George Bentham. London: J. M. Dent. New York: E. P. Dutton.


CD suggests George Bentham or Joseph Prestwich for Royal Medal.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Benjamin Collins Brodie, Sr, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
The Royal Society
Physical description
? 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2454F,” accessed on 27 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18 (Supplement)