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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Edward Sabine1   28 June [1854]

Down Farnborough Kent

June 28th.—

Private My dear Sir

It may appear ridiculous or not very credible, but in simple truth I am not equal to taking the chair of the Nat. Hist. Section, in Liverpool, where I hope to attend.2 Very little fatigue, or excitement or anxiety (of which I shd. have plenty) almost invariably brings on so much swimming of the head, nausea, & other symptoms, that the effort of sitting 2 or 3 (or even less) in a public chair would be quite intolerable to me.—

I assure you I feel to the full the honour of being asked to act as President to a section of the Brit. Association; & for this honour & others, I am (as I believe) indebted to you.— If you have occasion to make any excuse for me to others, be so kind as to make a general one on the score of health.—

Pray believe me, | Yours sincerely & obliged | Charles Darwin Colonel Sabine | &c &c &c


Sabine was general secretary of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1854.
In the event, CD did not attend the meeting in Liverpool in September 1854, perhaps because of the pressure of reading proofs for the Cirripedia volumes. John Hutton Balfour was president of section D (zoology and botany, including physiology).


Is unequal to taking chair as President of Natural History Section of BAAS meeting in Liverpool. Very little fatigue or excitement brings on swimming of head, nausea, and other symptoms.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Edward Sabine
Sent from
Source of text
The Royal Society (Sa: 386)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1574,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

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