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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Scott   9 February [1864]1

Down Bromley | Kent

Feb 9

My dear Sir

I am very sorry to say that two pages are missing from your M.S. p. 5 & p. 6 as you will see in a portion of Mr Kipist the Librarian’s note.2 You must have omitted to send them or they must have been lost at the Linn. Soc. for I am certain I did not lose them.3 I sincerely hope you will be able to supply the deficiency & if so you had better send it directly to

“R. Kipist Esq

Linnæan Society

Burlington House

London W”

If quite necessary no doubt your whole paper could be returned to you, or the first portion alone. I have heard that your paper was listened to with much interest by several botanists who were present.4

Now for a new subject. The President Mr Bentham I presume was so much struck by your paper that he sent me a message to know whether you wd like to be elected an “Associate.5 As only one is elected annually this is a decided honour.6

The enclosed list shews what respectable men are Associates.7 I enclose the rules of admission. I feel sure that the rule that if no communication is recd within 3 years the associate is considered to have voluntarily withdrawn is by no means rigorously adhered to.8 Therefore I advise you to accept—but of course the choice is quite free. You will see there is no payment. You had better write to me on this subject as Dr Hooker or I will propose you.9

I am dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to the manuscript of Scott 1864a (see n. 2, below).
The manuscript of Scott’s paper ‘Observations on the functions and structure of the reproductive organs in the Primulaceæ’ (Scott 1864a) was read at the Linnean Society on 4 February 1864. The enclosure from Richard Kippist, the librarian of the Linnean Society, has not been found.
CD had read drafts of Scott 1864a before he sent it to the Linnean Society (see letter from John Scott, 7 January [1864] and nn. 2–5).
George Bentham delivered this message to CD through Joseph Dalton Hooker (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [before 9 February 1864]).
From 1861 onwards, the number of associates was limited to twenty-five; therefore a new associate was not always elected each year; the next election was not until 1866 (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [before 9 February 1864] and n. 3, and List of the Linnean Society of London 1866).
The enclosure has not been found; however, CD probably sent the list of associates published in the List of the Linnean Society of London, 1863, p. 23.
The enclosure has not been found; however, CD evidently sent the resolution regarding associates that was established in 1862. There was a requirement that associates living at a distance from London should make one scientific communication each year (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [before 9 February 1864] and n. 3). The 1862 resolution was not always enforced, and the interpretation of the charter and bye-laws by the Council tended not to be exacting (see Gage and Stearn 1988, pp. 61, 150).
Neither CD nor Hooker proposed Scott for associateship in 1864 (see n. 6, above, and letter from J. D. Hooker, 29 March 1864), or later; after Scott left in August 1864 for India, Hooker informed CD that a bye-law restricted associateship to those residing in England (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 26[–8] October 1864 and n. 15). In fact, the bye-law restricted associateship to those residing in the British dominions (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [before 9 February 1864] and n. 3). Though India was not then designated a dominion (Palmer 1996), the term was probably used loosely; see also Gage and Stearn 1988, p. 198, who cite the qualification for associateship as residence within ‘the British Empire’. The next two associates elected, in 1866 and 1867, were Thomas Edward of Banff, Scotland, and Ralph Tate, then of Javali Mine, Nicaragua (List of the Linnean Society of London, 1866 and 1867). Scott was elected a fellow of the Linnean Society in 1873 (R. Desmond 1994).


Desmond, Ray. 1994. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. New edition, revised with the assistance of Christine Ellwood. London: Taylor & Francis and the Natural History Museum. Bristol, Pa.: Taylor & Francis.

List of the Linnean Society of London. London: [Linnean Society of London]. 1805–1939.

Palmer, Alan. 1996. Dictionary of the British empire and commonwealth. London: John Murray.


Bentham so impressed with JS’s paper that he is invited to become Associate Member of Linnean Society.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Scott
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 93: B17–19
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4405,” accessed on 28 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12