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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin   27 June [1864]1

June 27

Dear Charles.

I dont know whether it will be news to you that you are going to be proposed for the Copley Medal.2 Several of the Mathematicians are in your favour.3 For this purpose Dr Falconer wants information.4 A List of all your papers. Dates of your voyage.5 Also what I should think would not be judicious to bring forward, when your sickness came on & how long it lasted & whether in consequence of it Fitzroy persuaded you to give up the voyage.6 If you volunteered? & I told him you were u[n]paid if that made volunteering but I thought the proposal came from Government.7

These are all the points he mentioned

Tell me how you are— | Yours aff— | E D


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to E. A. Darwin, 30 June 1864.
CD was nominated for the Copley Medal by George Busk at the meeting of the Council of the Royal Society, 23 June 1864 (Royal Society, Council minutes, 23 June 1864). For a discussion of the procedure according to which candidates were proposed for the medal, see Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix IV.
The mathematicians among the members of the Royal Society Council were Archibald Smith, Henry John Stephen Smith, George Gabriel Stokes, and James Joseph Sylvester.
Hugh Falconer was a member of the Council of the Royal Society. He had seconded the nomination of CD for the Copley Medal (Royal Society, Council minutes, 23 June 1864).
HMS Beagle departed from Plymouth on 27 December 1831. CD disembarked when the ship anchored at Falmouth on 2 October 1836 (‘Beagle’ diary, pp. 17, 447).
CD had suffered from seasickness throughout the voyage of the Beagle (see ‘Beagle’ diary, pp. 17–18, and Correspondence vol. 1). The reference is to Robert FitzRoy, commander of HMS Beagle during the 1831–6 voyage.
Darwin’s appointment as an unpaid naturalist on the Beagle arose from a request that FitzRoy had made to Francis Beaufort, the hydrographer of the Admiralty, for a gentleman with scientific tastes to accompany him on the voyage. The official offer was made to CD by George Peacock, a friend of Beaufort’s, on the recommendation of John Stevens Henslow (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter from George Peacock to J. S. Henslow, [6 or 13 August 1831], letter from J. S. Henslow, 24 August 1831, letter from George Peacock, [c. 26 August 1831], and letter to Francis Beaufort, 1 September [1831]; see also Browne 1995, pp. 149–61).


‘Beagle’ diary: Charles Darwin’s Beagle diary. Edited by Richard Darwin Keynes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1988.

Browne, Janet. 1995. Charles Darwin. Voyaging. Volume I of a biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


CD will be proposed for the Copley Medal. Hugh Falconer wants information: list of all CD’s papers, dates of the voyage, things not judicious to mention, when his sickness came on, etc.

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 105: B28–9
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4546,” accessed on 26 January 2020,

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