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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. F. Royle   [16 April – 21 May 1847]1

Down, Farnborough, Kent


My dear Royle

The carrier set off before your note arrived yesterday, so that he will have called at your house. Of course it is out of the question your lending me at present the book2 (and very glad I am to hear of the Committee on the cotton)3 and I am greatly indebted to your kindness in promising it me at some future time. I will wait till I hear; and of course 6 or 9 months hence will do equally well for me. Your offer is a most valuable one to inform me of any other works on the breeds of animals in India and such subjects, to which I have long been attending. I believe it was in your Productions Resources4 that I first heard of the Agricult. Soc. Transactions.5 I fear it would be useless my belonging to your new Club,6 as I am so seldom able to dine out anywhere and I presume your dinners are your efficient meetings, but otherwise I should esteem it a very great honour and undoubted pleasure to be enrolled as one of so capital a list of names. All I have heard of it, makes me envious of those who have had the good fortune to be elected.

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


The first possible date for this letter is the Friday following the establishment of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society (see n. 6, below). The final date is the last Friday that CD was in Down before the full complement of members of the club had been attained. On Friday, 28 May CD was in London. (See letter to J. D. Hooker, [28 May 1847]).
Journal of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India. See letter to John Forbes Royle, [12 April – 17 May 1847, n. 2.
Royle was in charge of the East India House correspondence relating to the commercial uses of Indian commodities. He published several works on the cultivation and commerce of cotton, as well as describing this topic in Royle 1840, pp. 78–84.
The Transactions and Proceedings of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India were superseded by the Journal in 1842.
The Philosophical Club of the Royal Society was founded 12 April 1847 as a part of the movement by the more prominent scientific fellows to reform the society. Royle was one of the original twenty-seven founders and a member of the committee of management, which was authorised to select and invite fellows of the Royal Society to join the club until the number of forty-seven was reached. See Bonney 1919, pp. 1–4, and M. B. Hall 1984, p. 82.


Bonney, T. G. 1919. Annals of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society written from its minute books. London: Macmillan.

Hall, Marie Boas. 1984. All scientists now: the Royal Society in the nineteenth century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Royle, John Forbes. 1840. Essay on the productive resources of India. London.


CD understands that JFR cannot lend him the volumes [of Trans. Agric. & Hortic. Soc. India] at present. Thanks for offer to inform him of other works on the breeds of animals in India.

CD fears his belonging to the new club [Philosophical Club of the Royal Society] would be useless, since he is seldom able to dine out.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Forbes Royle
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 147: 400
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1047,” accessed on 6 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4