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Darwin Correspondence Project

From F. M. Balfour   11 November 1873

Trinity Coll.

Nov. 11. 1873

Dear Mr. Darwin

Dr Dohrn has written to Professor Huxley, Dr Foster & Dew Smith to the effect that his contractor has failed, & that unless he can get some Money he will be unable to complete the zoological station at Naples.1 Professor Huxley has told Foster that owing to his weak state of health & other circumstances he is not in a position to help Dr. Dohrn, & therefore feels unable to ask other people to do so—2

Though I feel that it is hardly my place to do so yet I have ventured at Dr. Fosters suggestion to write to you and ask you whether you think that any thing can be done under the circumstances. It would be most unfortunate if the first attempt to start a zoological station were to fail owing to the want of a few hundred pounds

Dr Dohrn himself, as you will see from the accompanying statement of the position of affairs as far as I know it, wishes to borrow the money.3

I myself think that it will be easier (if Dr Dohrn will accept it) to get money to be given to the zoological station rather than to be lent to himself.

I hope you will pardon my writing on this subject— it was only with the greatest reluctance that I ventured to trouble you about it. | I am | yours very truly | F. M. Balfour.


Balfour refers to Thomas Henry Huxley, Michael Foster, and Albert George Dew-Smith. For more on the history of the Zoological Station at Naples, see Heuss 1991.
Huxley had been ill and having financial problems (see letter from T. H. Huxley, 24 April 1873).
The enclosure has not been found, but for more on Dohrn’s funding problems, see Heuss 1991, pp. 155–6.


Heuss, Theodor. 1991. Anton Dohrn: a life for science. Translated from the German by Liselotte Dieckmann. Berlin and New York: Springer Verlag.


Suggests raising money to help Anton Dohrn complete the Naples Zoological Station, which is in danger of remaining unfinished.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Maitland Balfour
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Trinity College, Cambridge
Source of text
DAR 160: 22
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9138,” accessed on 25 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21