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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Adam White   26 December 1851

Down, Kent,

December 26, 1851.

My Dear Sir,

I have much pleasure in expressing my high opinion of your Zoological attainments;1 and your great zeal for every branch of Natural History must strike all who are acquainted with you.

Your papers in the scientific journals show how successfully you have worked out original materials. I have often had occasion to visit the working department in the British Museum, and I have invariably found you, permit me to add, most zealous and obliging in your endeavours to aid me in every possible way, and in giving me all the information in your power.2

You are at full liberty to show this letter to any one;3 and I beg to remain, my dear Sir, Yours sincerely, | Charles Darwin. Adam White, Esq.


A prominent naturalist who specialised in entomology and Crustacea, White had previously described some of the Beagle arachnids (Collected papers 2: 298).
White was employed in the zoological department of the British Museum.
The letter was printed with a number of other testimonials in support of an application for the chair of natural history at Edinburgh University in 1854, but Edward Forbes was appointed before White could distribute the pamphlet. In 1865 the testimonials were printed again (White 1865) when White, having retired from the British Museum because of ill health, was seeking employment in Edinburgh. (The editors are indebted to the late Richard B. Freeman for this information.)


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

White, Adam. 1865. Testimonials in favour of Mr Adam White, during twenty- five years assistant in the zoological department, British Museum. Edinburgh.


Testimonial letter expressing CD’s high opinion of AW’s zoological attainments.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1466,” accessed on 26 July 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5