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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Albert Günther   [c. 2 March 1874]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

My dear Günther

The circular will explain the predicament I am in.2 Is there any one excepting Prof. Owen in the Museum in addition to Dr Gray whom you cd get to sign on general knowledge.3

I have been very remiss in not having thanked you before for yr very valuable letter, but I have been overwhelmed with things to do.4

The account of the Mallotus in the American Nat. seems to me trustworthy.5 You will find references about the Cyprinidæ in my Descent of Man Vol. 1 p. 309.6 in haste

Yours. very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to the Royal Society of London, 2 March [1874], and by the date of the meeting at which candidates for election to the Royal Society were announced (see n. 2, below).
The circular has not been found. CD was collecting signatures for a certificate supporting Robert Swinhoe’s election to the Royal Society; the original certificate had been lost, and CD had to gather more signatures before the meeting of the Royal Society on 5 March 1874, at which the candidates for election were announced (see letter to the Royal Society of London, 2 March [1874] and nn. 2 and 3, and letter to H. B. Tristram, 3 March [1874] and n. 1).
Richard Owen and John Edward Gray worked at the British Museum. Sponsors were asked to sign the certificate of a candidate for election to the Royal Society based on general or personal knowledge (see Gunther 1975, facing p. 372).
See the discussion of Mallotus villosus (the capelin) in the letter to Albert Günther, 25 February 1874, and the letter from Albert Günther, 26 February 1874.
See letter from Albert Günther, 26 February 1874 and n. 5. In Descent 1: 308–9, CD described polyandry in the family Cyprinidae: the female when spawning was always attended by two or more males.


Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


Encloses a circular [9384?] to explain the predicament he is in. Asks whether AG can get anyone at the British Museum, other than Owen, to join J. E. Gray in signing.

Believes the account of the Mallotus in American Naturalist [5 (1871): 119] is trustworthy.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Albrecht Carl Ludwig Gotthilf (Albert) Günther
Sent from
Source of text
Shrewsbury School, Taylor Library (39)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9383,” accessed on 23 November 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22