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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Edinburgh Royal Medical Society1   [before 12 December 1862]2

Societas Medica Edinburgena



Omnibus ad quos hæc pervenerint


Spectatissimum ornatissimumque Virum Carolum Darwin inter Primates, nempe Honorarios, nostræ Societatis adscripsimus; quippe cujus felicis ingenii, laudum, animique ad optimum, quod que parati certiores facti fuerimus: cujus rei, quo major sit fides manibus nostris societatisque Sigillo munitas hasce Literas lubentissime donamus

Edinburgi Anno, MDCCCLXI3

Jacobus Crichton Browne Praeses

Alexander Crum Brown M.A., B.Sc., Praeses

Gulielmus M. Watson. Praeses.

Jacobus Pettigrew— Praeses.4

Thomas R Fraser Sec. Hon.

Joannes H. Balfour olim Præses

Gulielmus Rutherford Soc. Ext.

Jacobus Gerhard Reid Soc Ext.

Jacobus D. Gillespie M.D. F.R.C.S.E. olim Praes.

R. Christison Soc. Honor.

Joannes H. Bennett Soc. Hon. olim Præses.

Joannes Goodsir. Olim Præs.

J. Matthews Duncan M.D. Soc: Extr.

P. D. Handyside MD. Soc Reg Ed Soc. Soc Reg Med. Ed. Soc.

Georgius Hearder Soc. Ord.

Alexander J. Macfarlan Quæstor et olim Præs.

R. J. B. Cunninghame. Curator.

Henricus Season Wilson Olim Præses:

Alexander Dickson M.D. Olim Præses

Henricus Season Wilson M.D. Olim Præses:

Joannes Bayldon B.Sc. olim Praeses

Alex. R. Simpson, M.D. olim Præses.

Joannes Young MD. Soc. Extr.

Joannes Sibbald M.D. Olim Praeses.

J. Grainger Stewart M.D. F.R.C.P.E. olim Prases—

Archibaldus Dickson, Soc. Extr.

Joannes Duncan M.A. Sec Hon.

Dyce Duckworth. Musæ; Curator.

Andreas Pow. M.D olim Præs.

H. Cleghorn M.D. F.L.S.

F. de Chaumont MD. olim Praeses.

Gulielmus Anderson. M.D. Soc. Extr.

Andreas Smart olim Praeses

Gulielmus R. Sanders MD. olim Praeses.

Josephus Bell MD. LRCS. olim Praeses

Doyle M. Shaw Olim Præs:

James Clark Wilson Soc: ord


Edinburgh Medical Society



To all to whom these present shall come


We enroll the most distinguished and most honoured man Charles Darwin among the very foremost of the honorary members of our society, since we are most certain of his happy genius, renown and his mind prepared for whatsoever is of the best. Wherefore, for a greater confirmation, we give these presents most willingly guaranteed under our hands and the seal of the society.

Edinburgh, in the year MDCCCLXI

James Crichton Browne President.

Alexander Crum Brown M.A., B.Sc., President.

William M. Watson. President.

James Pettigrew— President.

Thomas R Fraser Honorary Secretary

John H. Balfour Former President

William Rutherford Extraordinary Fellow

James Gerhard Reid Extraordinary Fellow

James D. Gillespie M.D. F.R.C.S.E. Former President

R. Christison Soc. Honorary Fellow

John H. Bennett Soc. Hon. Former President.

John Goodsir. Former President

J. Matthews Duncan M.D. Extraordinary Fellow

P. D. Handyside MD.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

Fellow of the Edinburgh Royal Medical Society.

George Hearder Ordinary Fellow

Alexander J. Macfarlan Treasurer and Former President

R. J. B. Cunninghame. Curator.

Henry Season Wilson Former President

Alexander Dickson M.D. Former President

Henry Season Wilson M.D. Former President

John Bayldon B.Sc. Former President

Alex. R. Simpson, M.D. Former President

John Young MD. Extraordinary Fellow

John Sibbald M.D. Former President

J. Grainger Stewart M.D. F.R.C.P.E. Former President—

Archibald Dickson, Extraordinary Fellow

John Duncan M.A. Honorary Secretary

Dyce Duckworth. Curator of the Museum.

Andrew Pow. M.D Former President

H. Cleghorn M.D. F.L.S.

F. de Chaumont MD. Former President.

William Anderson. M.D. Extraordinary Fellow

Andrew Smart Former President

William R. Sanders MD. Former President

Joseph Bell MD. LRCS. Former President.

Doyle M. Shaw Former President

James Clark Wilson ordinary Fellow


The Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh is a student medical society, founded in 1737, which was closely associated with the Edinburgh Medical School (Gray 1952).
Although the diploma is dated ‘1861’, it was not sent to CD until December 1862 (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 12 [December 1862]).
As a student at Edinburgh University, CD had been an ordinary member of the society, and had attended ‘pretty regularly’ (LL 1: 40, 3: 373). In his autobiography (ibid.), CD stated that he thought it was owing to his attendance at this society and to his having visited the Royal Society of Edinburgh as a youth, that he ‘felt the honour of being elected … an honorary member of both these Societies, more than any other similar honour’.
Browne, Brown, Watson, and Pettigrew were the presidents of the society for the session 1860–1 (J. Gray 1952, p. 322).


Gray, James. 1952. History of the Royal Medical Society, 1737–1937. Edited by Douglas Guthrie and with a foreword by Robert Hutchison. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. [Vols. 10,11]

LL: The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Edited by Francis Darwin. 3 vols. London: John Murray. 1887–8.


A diploma enrolling CD as an honorary member of the Society.

Letter details

Letter no.
Edinburgh Royal Medical Society
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 229: 6

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3853F,” accessed on 4 August 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10