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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. E. Gray   1 February 1862


1 Feb 1862

My Dear Darwin

Thanks for your note1   we agree in the estimate of the Man.2 I wish you would use your influence with your pupil Lubbock to get him to use his endeavours to prevent the Council (or certain members of it) of the Zoological Society inflicting a great injury on Science and Scientific men by proposing much less procuring a man whose conduct has been so eratic as the head of the Society & making the world beleive that we scientific men consider such conduct as of no importance3

I know that the old non Scientific Fellows who have been on & off the Council ever since the formation of the society have lost all confidence in him & dislike the idea of his being ever proposed as they say did he not misuse his influence when he came down & proposed a gratuity of £500 to Mitchell who shortly after proved a defaulter4 and enquire did you ever see him attend regularly & pay any permanent attention to the wellbeing of the Society?

Ever Yours Sincerely | J. E Gray

CD annotations

1.4 Scientific] del pencil; ‘Scientific’ interl above, pencil
2.6 attention] t’s crossed pencil; ‘i’ dotted pencil


The note from CD has not been found; it was probably a response to the letters from J. E. Gray, 28 January 1862 and 29 January 1862.
The reference is to George Clerk, who was to be invited to succeed Prince Albert as president of the Zoological Society of London. See also letter from John Lubbock, 7 [February] 1862.
John Lubbock was on the council of the society. Clerk was elected president at a council meeting on 5 February 1862, and remained in office until his death in December 1867 (Scherren 1905, p. 126).
Upon his resignation as secretary to the Zoological Society in 1859, David William Mitchell was presented with a gratuity of five hundred pounds (Scherren 1905, p. 104).


Scherren, Henry. 1905. The Zoological Society of London: a sketch of its foundation and development and the story of its farm, museum, gardens, menagerie and library. London: Cassell.


Agrees with CD’s estimate of the man [unidentified]. Hopes CD will use his influence with Lubbock to try to prevent the Council’s placing him at the head of the Zoological Society.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Edward Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
British Museum
Source of text
DAR 165: 206
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3433,” accessed on 28 November 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10