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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Albert Günther   17 May 1872

British Museum



My dear Sir

I heard yesterday that I shall not have Salvin as an opponent, and that a new application is being circulated, requesting for him an assistancy. Thus that part of the “pledge” by which he came into collision with me, appears to have been abandoned.1 I cannot help thinking that the Ornithologists did not go to work properly. Of course they were entitled to urge the necessity of the appointment of an Ornithologist, if this had not been attended to by the authorities; but it appears to me very impolitic, to commence by pledging themselves in favour of one man, thus preventing fair competition. And I understand, two or three other competent men would have tried for the place. It looked like an attempt to force the Trustees to appoint Salvin.

Whilst there was a prospect of opposition, the Principal Librarian2 advised me not to limit myself to 2–3 testimonials, but to obtain more. Consequently I applied to Busk, Flower and Huxley,3 who very kindly promised to comply with my request.

Yours very truly | A Günther

I understand Huxley was the first who pointed out that Salvin’s appointment must not interfere with claims of men already in the establishment.


See letter from Albert Günther, 13 May 1872. The reference is to Osbert Salvin.
John Winter Jones.
George Busk, William Henry Flower, and Thomas Henry Huxley.


O. Salvin will not be applying for the same post as AG.

Letter details

Letter no.
Albrecht Carl Ludwig Gotthilf (Albert) Günther
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
British Museum
Source of text
DAR 165: 250
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8337,” accessed on 20 September 2020,

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