RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1859. [Letter on the collections of the British Museum.] In Northcote, Stafford. Further communications by architect and officers of British Museum on enlargement of building: plan. Parliamentary Papers, Accounts and Papers 1859 Session 1, paper number (126) (126-I), volume XIV.51 (11 March): 11.

REVISION HISTORY: OCRed, corrected and edited by John van Wyhe 2.2007. RN2

[page] 11

Charles Darwin. Esq., to Sir R. I. Murchison.

Down, Bromley, Kent, 19 June. [1858]

My dear Sir Roderick,

I HAVE just received your note. Unfortunately I cannot attend at the British Museum on Monday. I do not suppose my opinion on the subject of your note can be of any value, as I have not much considered the subject, or had the advantage of discussing it with other naturalists. But my impression is, that there is much weight in what you say about not breaking up the natural history collection of the British Museum. I think a national collection ought to be in London. I can, however, see that some weighty arguments might be advanced in favour of Kew, owing to the immense value of Sir W. Hooker's collection and library; but these are private property, and I am not aware that there is any certainty of their always remaining at Kew. Had this been the case, I should have thought that the botanical collection might have been removed there, without endangering the other branches of the collections. But I think it would be the greatest evil which could possibly happen to natural science in this country, if the other collections were ever to be removed from the British Museum and library. Pray believe me,

Yours, &c.

(signed) Ch. Darwin.

1 As a trustee of the British Museum Murchison petitioned against the removal of the natural history collections from Bloomsbury and included letters from Lyell and Darwin. The memorial, with Darwin's signature, was presented to the financial secretary to the Treasury, George Alexander Hamilton (1802-1871), at the Treasury Chambers in July 1858 and was published as Darwin 1858. See Correspondence vol. 7, pp. 112-13; 272.

This document has been accessed 9801 times

Return to homepage

Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 30 April, 2022