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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Albert Günther   13 May 1872

British Museum



Dear Mr. Darwin

My most sincere thanks for your testimonial which, even if it should not be used for the purpose, for which it is written, will be a memorial dear to me for ever.1 The pleasure at receiving it is only diminished by the idea that I appear to have caused you some embarrassement.

I ought to have avoided this by stating more explicitly the cause which rendered me so anxious to secure your kind assistance. I had been shown the copy of a document, by which the members of the British Ornithologists Union “pledge themselves to secure Mr. Salvin’s2 appointment”; and I thought it very likely that this document would be sent to you, and that, possibly, by signing it, you would be prevented from saying a word in favour of some of your other friends.

Mr. Salvin and Mr. Smith3 have probably much better claims to your assistance than I have; and having myself given testimonials to 2 or 3 different candidates for the same post, I did not intend to monopolize your assistance, but merely to ask you not to join the signers of that document, by which every other candidate is excluded.

Possibly, there will be no collision at all; tomorrow I shall be able to say whether I am going to apply for the Assistant-Keepership. Qualifications for that post are, beside distinction in some speciality, a liberal education & general zoological knowledge; acquaintance with the management & arrangement of zoolog. collections etc.

I have not seen yet Gegenbaur’s new paper; I trust he will send me a copy.4

G. R. Gray5 had a great deal of trouble & anxiety lately, chiefly from the duties of the post which he occupied but a short time. His brain showed signs of exhaustion for the last four or five weeks; finally he took to bed, & became unconscious 2 or 3 days after. He never rallied, remaining in the same state for 10 days.

Yours ever faithfully | A Günther


See letter to Albert Günther, 11 May [1872]. Günther was applying for a promotion at the British Museum.
Osbert Salvin.
Frederick Smith.
George Robert Gray.


Thanks for CD’s testimonial.

Letter details

Letter no.
Albrecht Carl Ludwig Gotthilf (Albert) Günther
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
British Museum
Source of text
DAR 165: 248
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8323,” accessed on 19 September 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20