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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. S. Dallas   19 October 1868

Yorkshire Philosophical Society | York

19 Oct. 1868.

My dear Sir

I have to thank you for your kind promise to interest yourself in my behalf in case of a vacancy occurring in the Assistant Secretaryship of the Geological Society, & also for the very flattering opinion you express as to my qualifications for the Office.—1 As regards Geological knowledge, of course I can make no pretence to be an original investigator, but I have been so long in charge of the Geological Collections in this Museum, & am so far familiar with Geological literature in various languages, that I hope I should not be found deficient in this respect in the event of my being appointed.—2

I am working at F. Müller & will write to Mr. Murray in a day or two.— A week or ten days ought to suffice for the printers to get the work set up when the copy is once in their hands, so that I see no reason why the book should not be published before the middle of November.— Perhaps it will be best for me to put rough tracings of the woodcuts in their proper places, instead of merely leaving blank spaces—3

Mr Jenkins, the present Assistant Secretary of the Geol. Soc. has very pertinently indicated to me that if I wish to step into his shoes I had better help him to vacate them, & he has sent me some printed copies of his testimonials &c with a request that I would do what I could for him.—4 He mentioned to me when in London that he was not acquainted with you & I have therefore sent you a copy of his testimonials with a list of the Council of the Agric. Society in case it may be in your power to speak a word in his favour to some of them.—5 If you can do so it will be a great obligation to me, & I am quite sure that you may with a good conscience recommend him for the Office he seeks,—from what I myself know & from what I hear of him he is exceedingly well fitted for it, being a good man of business & accountant, & a first rate Editor.—

I have written you a long letter, & I fear you will think it a bothering one, but my desire to get back to London from my banishment is so great that I do not like to leave any stone unturned.—

Hoping that you are now enjoying good health, | I remain, | My dear Sir | Your’s always truly | W. S. Dallas

C. Darwin Esq. F.R.S. | &c &c &c


See letter from W. S. Dallas, 12 October 1868. No letter to Dallas between 12 and 19 October has been found.
Dallas had been curator of the museum of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society since 1858, and worked independently as a translator (Geological Magazine n.s. decade 3, vol. 7 (1890): 333–6).
On Dallas’s translation of Fritz Müller’s Für Darwin (F. Müller 1866, W. S. Dallas trans. 1869), published by John Murray, see the letters from W. S. Dallas, 9 June 1868 and 12 October 1868 and n. 3.
Dallas refers to Henry Michael Jenkins, the assistant secretary of the Geological Society of London, and his efforts to acquire the post of secretary to the Royal Agricultural Society of England; see the letter from W. S. Dallas, 12 October 1868.
CD had already received a request from Jenkins for a testimonial (see letter to H. M. Jenkins, [after 1 October 1868]). Neither a copy of the list of council members of the Royal Agricultural Society, nor any testimonials for Jenkins have been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL; for the council members, see the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (1868): i, xxix.


Thanks CD for his promise of support and his flattering opinion of his qualifications for the position of Assistant Secretary of the Geological Society.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Sweetland Dallas
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Yorks. Philos. Soc., York
Source of text
DAR 162: 24
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6423,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16