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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Thomas Henry Huxley   16 January 1864

My dear Darwin

I have had no news of you for a long time but I earnestly hope you are better—

Have you any objection to put your name to Flower’s certificate for the Royal Society herewith inclosed?1

It will please him much if you will; & I go bail for his being a thoroughly good man in all senses of the word—which as you know is more than I would say for everybody.

Don’t write any reply; but Mrs. Darwin perhaps will do me the kindness to send the thing on to Lyell2 as per inclosed envelope— I will write him a note about it—

We are all well barring customary colds & various forms of infantile pip— As for myself I am flourishing like a green bay tree (appropriate comparison Soapy Sam would observe)3 in consequence of having utterly renounced societies & society since October—

I have been working like a horse however & shall work ‘horser’ as my College Lectures begin in February4

Tout à vous | T H Huxley

Jermyn St

Jan 16th. 1864


William Henry Flower, curator of the Hunterian Museum, was one of the fifteen non-foreign candidates elected to the fellowship of the Royal Society in 1864 (Royal Society, Council minutes, 21 April 1864; DNB). Flower’s election certificate is printed in the Royal Society, List of candidates, 1848–67; the thirty-four signatures following the certificate include Huxley’s, CD’s, and Charles Lyell’s. CD’s signature is printed in italics, indicating that he signed out of general knowledge of Flower’s work rather than having a detailed personal knowledge of it.
Charles Lyell.
Book of common prayer, Psalms 37: 36: ‘I myself have seen the ungodly in great power, and flourishing like a green bay tree.’ Huxley refers to Samuel Wilberforce, bishop of Oxford, whose criticisms of Origin, made at the 1860 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Oxford, had been vigorously answered by Huxley, Joseph Dalton Hooker, and John Lubbock (see Correspondence vol. 8, Appendix VI).
As Hunterian Professor of comparative anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons, Huxley delivered twenty-four lectures on ‘The structure and classification of the Mammalia’ between 2 February and 26 March 1864 (see L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 236, and Medical Times and Gazette (1864), pt 1: 153 and pt 2: 145).


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

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

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.


Asks CD to sign certificate nominating Flower for Royal Society.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Jermyn St
Source of text
DAR 166: 300
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4388,” accessed on 19 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12