RECORD: Skertchly, Sydney B. J. 1882.06.08. [Recollection of Darwin in a letter to Francis Darwin]. CUL-DAR198.191. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 4.2021. RN1

NOTE: Skertchly wrote twice to Darwin seeking a testimonial for his candidatature for the chair of biology at the University of Edinburgh and Darwin did so in February 1880, (CUL-DAR202.121). Skertchly approached Darwin a second time informing him of the said accident referred to below. His son died in the accident and Skertchly was badly injured; he hoped to secure a pension, (CUL-DAR177.179).

Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.



Kings Lynn


June 8th 82

My dear Sir,

I enclose one of my most valued treasures – a letter from your father; full as you will see, of encouragement written about the time I made the discovery of Paleolithic Implements below boulder clay in East-anglia.


It was in the midst of this, to me harassing time, that the enclosed was sent to me, and as a proof (if needed) of the great consideration your father had for original workers it is most telling. It comforted me more than I can express, and did I not know you will be most careful with it, I could not part with it.

I may also say, I hope without egotism, that it also shows how clearly your father saw sound argument & went direct for the main point.

May I [illeg] to sympathise with you? Mr Darwin I know was the greatest scientific man the world ever saw, and I am sure he was also one of the best & kindest of men.

One of the lastest of his efforts was to write to the government on my behalf, when I met with an accident that will lay me by for some years –

Ever yours sincerely

Sydney B. J. Skertchly

P.S. I think this is the only letter of any public interest that I possess.

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