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Darwin Correspondence Project

To James Crichton-Browne   29 December [1874?]1

My dear S.—

I do not K. enough of M & pathology to speak with respect to these subjects; but from the many excellent letters wh. I have received from you, & from your published writing, I can affirm that I have formed a very h. op. of your Ab. & of your powers of observation.2 This expression of my opinion will appear superfluous to those who are well acquainted with you, & may seem presumptuous on my part.

With very best wishes that you may obtaining the appointment [which] you desire.3

I remain my dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. D.

Dec. 29th | To | C. Browne


The year is conjectured from the fact that this draft was written on the back of notes for the second edition of Descent, which was published in 1874, and from the fact that Crichton-Browne was appointed a Chancery visitor on 11 December 1875 (Pall Mall Gazette, 11 December 1875, p. 6). It is unlikely that CD would have reused his notes until the end of March 1874, when he finished working on revisions for the second edition of Descent (letter to T. H. Huxley, 28 March [1874]). The post of Chancery visitor of lunatics, which involved visiting lunatics whose affairs were being looked after by Chancery, was prestigious and Crichton-Browne is unlikely to have sought other posts shortly after he was appointed. There is no extant correspondence between CD and Crichton-Browne after 1875.
CD and Crichton-Browne had corresponded since 1869, and Crichton-Brown had sent CD copies of the West Riding Asylum Medical Reports (see, for example, Correspondence vol. 19, letter from James Crichton-Browne, 18 August 1871).
The appointment has not been identified; this may have been a draft of a general-purpose testimonial.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


States his very high opinion of [JC-B’s?] abilities as judged from his writings and many excellent letters, and his suitability for some post in histology and pathology.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Crichton-Browne
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 97: C74
Physical description
AdraftS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9790,” accessed on 2 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22