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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. S. Burdon Sanderson   [12 April 1875]1

Dear Mr Darwin,

I have just read your letter.2

As Mr Huxley is coming to you this morning, it would I think be useful to ask his opinion as to the persons who ought to have the right of certifying the fitness of applicants for Licence.3

I think that all persons who occupy the position of Public Teachers in Institutions recognized by Act of Parliament should have the right to apply to the Lord President for Licence without obtaining Certificate as their fitness.4

Imagine for a moment Dr Sharpey applying for a certificate to the President of the College of Surgeons.5

Very truly yours | J B Sanderson


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. S. Burdon Sanderson, [11 April 1875].
CD expected Thomas Henry Huxley to call on him on the morning of 12 April 1875 to discuss a draft vivisection bill (see letter to J. S. Burdon Sanderson, [11 April 1875]). On the proposed certificate and the licensing of persons performing experiments on live animals, see Appendix VI.
Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, the duke of Richmond, was lord president, presiding over the education department.
William Sharpey was professor of anatomy and physiology at University College, London. The president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England was James Paget.


Considers the question of recognised lecturers being allowed a licence to perform animal experiments without having to obtain a certificate of fitness.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9909A,” accessed on 4 August 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23