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Darwin Correspondence Project

From F. W. Farrar   5 February 1866

Harrow. | N.W.

Feb. 5. 1866.

My dear Sir,

Accept my grateful thanks for your kind & prompt reply to my bold request.1 The certificate shall be sent to you, probably in a few days.2 Among many others, Mr. Crawfurd, Prof. J. Clerk Maxwell, Prof. T. Hewitt Key, Genl. Sir A Scott Waugh (of the Indian Trigonometrical Survey), & Mr Evans will be supporters of my claim;3 & as the names of gentlemen eminent in many different branches of science will be on my certificate, I have authority sufficient at least to justify my candidature if not to ensure my success.4 One of my qualifications will be a steady endeavour to promote by every means in my power the study of science (& especially of botany) at our Public Schools. The little “Flora of Harrow” which I forward to you by post, & which is entirely the work of Harrow boys under my guidance & encouragement, will I hope be some proof of this fact.5 Pray do not take the trouble to acknowledge its arrival.

If I should succeed I shall attribute my success far more to the influence of your great name than to any other circumstance.

Believe me, my dear Sir, | Sincerely and gratefully your’s | Frederic W Farrar.


CD had agreed to sign Farrar’s certificate of candidature for election to fellowship of the Royal Society of London; see letter from F. W. Farrar, 1 February [1866], and letter to F. W. Farrar, 3 February [1866].
John Crawfurd, James Clerk Maxwell, Thomas Hewitt Key, Andrew Scott Waugh, and John Evans were among the twenty fellows who signed Farrar’s certificate (Royal Society of London, Certificates of election and candidature).
Farrar was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 7 June 1866 (Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 15 (1866–7): 189).
Farrar was a master at Harrow, a boys’ public school in Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex (DNB). Farrar’s preface to The flora of Harrow (Melvill 1864) refers to the schoolboys’ botanical work.


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.

Melvill, James Cosmo. 1864. The flora of Harrow. With notices of the birds of the neighbourhood, by the Hon. F. C. Bridgeman, and the Hon. G. O. M. Bridgeman, and of the butterflies and moths, by C. C. Parr and E. Heathfield. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, and Green. Harrow: Crossley and Clarke.


Thanks CD for supporting his application to the Royal Society.

Letter details

Letter no.
Frederic William Farrar
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 164: 37
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4998,” accessed on 27 February 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14