skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Julius von Haast   5 May [1866]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

May 5th

My dear Dr. Haast

I have just received the list of candidate proposed by Council of Royal Soc. & I am heartily sorry that your name is not there; but you are certain to be elected another year.—2

I write now to say that I regret extremely, that though I wrote especially on the subject, your proposal paper was never sent for my signature & when I enquired it was too late as the paper was already suspended. But I hope to be in London this summer, health permitting, & will then attach my name;3 but in truth such attached names do not much signify, as the Council judges by what is said by those present, & this year the Council is extraordinarily deficient in members who have attended to Natural History & Geology.—4

With every good wish, believe me | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Julius von Haast, 26 December [1865] (Correspondence vol. 13).
In his letter of 27 September 1865 (Correspondence vol. 13), Haast had asked CD to support his candidacy for fellowship of the Royal Society of London. Haast had also sought support from Joseph Dalton Hooker, who had arranged for Haast to be nominated by Andrew Crombie Ramsay; Hooker had reservations about Haast being elected in 1866, before the election of his superior in New Zealand, James Hector (see ibid., letter from J. D. Hooker, [23] December 1865). CD agreed to sign Haast’s certificate (see ibid., letter to Julius von Haast, 26 December [1865]), remarking that Haast would probably not be elected for a year or two. Haast was elected to the Royal Society in 1867 (Record of the Royal Society of London).
CD had asked Hooker to send him Haast’s certificate to sign (Correspondence vol. 13, letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 December [1865]). CD is listed as one of Haast’s proposers for the fellowship of the Royal Society in 1867 (Royal Society of London archives, EC/1867/06).
For a list of the twenty-one members who served on the Royal Society council for 1866, see Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 14 (1865): 513. CD had expressed his concerns about the poor representation of natural history on the Royal Society council in a letter to J. D. Hooker, [31 December 1865] (Correspondence vol. 13). See also Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Edward Sabine to John Phillips, 12 November 1863, and Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix IV.


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

Record of the Royal Society of London: The record of the Royal Society of London for the promotion of natural knowledge. 4th edition. London: Royal Society. 1940.


Regrets that JvH is not on list of candidates for Royal Society. This year the Council of Royal Society is extraordinarily deficient in natural historians and geologists. Thinks JvH is sure to be elected another year.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5079,” accessed on 20 October 2019,

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