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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Busk   20 February 1865

15 Harley St

Feb 20th 1865

My dear Darwin

Your cheque reached me in due course & I have to thank you for it.1 It is proposed to have a meeting of poor Falconers friends & admirers next Saturday at Mr Fergusson’s2 to constitute a Committee to carry out the Memorial to be determined upon.— As it is desirable to have as many good names as possible in the list of supporters, I was just about to write to you to say that if you had no objection your name would be included in it. If you have will you kindly let me know by Saturday Morning.

The Memorial contemplated & I think from what has been said, very likely to be carried out—is

1st a Bust to be placed as afterwards determined in London—3

2. To found a Fellowship if possible, or if not a Scholarship or in default of that a prize—in Natural Science in the University of Edinburgh—4

Believe me | Yours truly | Geo Busk


CD sent the cheque as a contribution towards a memorial for Hugh Falconer (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 [February 1865], and letter from J. D. Hooker, [17 February 1865]). In his Account book–banking account (Down House MS), CD recorded sending Busk a cheque for £3 3s. ‘for Falconer’ on 18 February 1865; on 1 March 1865 a second payment of £7 7s. for ‘Falconer Testimonial’ is recorded. Busk was one of four people who had undertaken to receive subscriptions for a Falconer memorial (Athenæum, 11 February 1865, p. 201). See also nn. 3 and 4, below.
James Fergusson.
Timothy Butler was commissioned to sculpt a marble bust of Falconer; it was afterwards exhibited in the rooms of the Royal Society of London (DNB, s.v. Falconer, Hugh).
Nearly £2000 was collected for Falconer’s memorial fund; the money was used for a marble bust (see n. 3, above), and to establish the Falconer Memorial Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh, a fellowship for graduates in natural science or medicine, to encourage the study of palaeontology and geology (DNB). Falconer had been a medical student at the University of Edinburgh from 1826 to 1829 (DNB). By a separate subscription, another marble bust of Falconer was placed in Calcutta, at the Museum of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (see Charles Murchison’s memoir in Falconer 1868, 1: l). CD’s second contribution (see n. 1, above) may have been to the Falconer Memorial Fellowship or to the bust in India.


Athenæum. 1844. A few words by way of comment on Miss Martineau’s statement. No. 896 (28 December): 1198–9.

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Falconer, Hugh. 1868. Palæontological memoirs and notes of the late Hugh Falconer … with a biographical sketch of the author. Compiled and edited by Charles Murchison. 2 vols. London: Robert Hardwicke.


On a proposed meeting of friends of the deceased Hugh Falconer to decide on a memorial to him. Invites CD’s support.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Busk
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Harley St, 15
Source of text
DAR 160: 380
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4774,” accessed on 17 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13