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Darwin Correspondence Project

To C. W. Thomson   10 October 1870

Down. | Beckenham. | Kent. S.E.

Oct 10 1870

My dear Sir

I am very glad to hear that you are a candidate for the Chair of Natural History in the University of Edinburgh.1 You have my sincere good wishes for your success, for to the best of my judgment you have proved yourself well fitted for the post by what you have done in science & by the course of your recent investigations.2

Should you succeed, you will have an admirable opportunity for bringing forward & encouraging new recruits in science, & as I believe you will do your utmost I cordially wish you success.

I remain my dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin

To | Prof. Wyville Thomson


See Correspondence vol. 18 and vol. 24 Supplement, letter from C. W. Thomson, 7 October 1870. A draft of this letter was published in Correspondence vol. 18 with the date [after 7 October 1870]; a version from a pamphlet containing a copy of Thomson’s application for the post of professor of natural history at Edinburgh together with the testimonials that accompanied it (C. W. Thomson 1870) was published in Correspondence vol. 24 Supplement.
Thomson participated in the voyages of HMS Lightning and HMS Porcupine; these gathered physical data and biological specimens from the sea floor (ODNB; see also Carpenter and Thomson 1868). For some of Thomson’s recent publications, see Correspondence vol. 18, letter from C. W. Thomson, 7 October 1870 and n. 2. Thomson was appointed to the position on 7 November 1870 (see Swinney 1999, p. 57).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.

Swinney, Geoffrey N. 1999. A natural history collection in transition; Wyville Thomson and the relationship between the University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art. Journal of the History of Collections 11: 51–70.

Thomson, Charles Wyville. 1870. Regius professorship of natural history in the University of Edinburgh. Copy of application; with testimonials. n.p.: n.p.


Testimonial letter hoping that CWT will be successful in getting Chair of Natural History at Edinburgh.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Wyville Thomson
Sent from
Source of text
Christie’s, London (dealers) (13 July 2022, lot 59)
Physical description
LS(A) 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7337,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18 and 24