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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Edward Sabine   5 February [1854]

Down Farnborough Kent

Feb. 5th

My dear Sir

I must thank you for your very interesting note, though I am sorry to have caused you the trouble of writing it.

Reconsidering your former note, I do not think that it was any expression in it, but rather my own ideas turning to French Practice that led me to suppose, as I did, that an Euloge combined with Historical criticism, was what was wanted.1

I quite agree with what you say on the desirableness of Geology leaving some records of its doings in the Transactions of the Royal Soc.— And the idea of an Historico-critical sketch of the labours of great Foreigners, seems to me a capital one; & I wish I could feel capacity & taste for the work.

Pray believe me | Very sincerely yours | Charles Darwin


The practice of the Académie des Sciences was to publish an éloge in the form of a short biography assessing the deceased member’s importance in his scientific field. Sabine was unsuccessful in finding an author, for no obituary of Christian Leopold von Buch was published by the Royal Society.


Thanks ES for his note [missing]. CD had understood that what was wanted was a eulogy [of Leopold von Buch] combined with historical criticism, after the French practice. Agrees that historico-critical sketches of work of great foreigners have a place in Philosophical Transactions and wishes he had taste and capacity for it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Edward Sabine
Sent from
Source of text
The Royal Society (Sa: 390)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1552,” accessed on 4 August 2021,

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