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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. R. Gray   12 July 1869

Caerdeon | Barmouth.

July 12. 1869.

Dear Mr. Gray

As you have always given me information & aided me in every way in the kindest manner at the British Museum, it would give me much pleasure to send you a Testimonial of your abilities as a Naturalist.1 But you are aware that I am not an ornithologist or an Entomologist; & it is impossible for me to express any opinion regarding the merits of your works on these subjects; but I may add that I have heard those who are capable of judging speak in high terms of your knowledge of the species of Birds, & especially of your knowledge of the literature of ornithology.—2

Pray believe me | Dear Mr Gray | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

To G. R. Gray Esq


See letter from G. R. Gray, 9 July 1869. Gray had assisted CD in completing the volume on birds (Birds) for Zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle (Zoology) after John Gould left for Australia in 1838 (Lightman ed. 2004).
Although Gray was in charge of the bird collection at the British Museum, his personal interest was in entomology and he wrote on both ornithological and entomological topics (Lightman ed. 2004).


Birds: Pt 3 of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. By John Gould. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1839–41.

Zoology: The zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. 5 pts. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1838–43.


Would be glad to send GRG a testimonial of his abilities as a naturalist, but is not qualified to express opinion on his works in ornithology or entomology.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Robert Gray
Sent from
Source of text
The British Library (Egerton MS 2348: 232–3)
Physical description
ALS 3pp & ADraftS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6827,” accessed on 31 March 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17