RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1871. [Letter to C. L. Balch of the New York Liberal Club]. A letter from Mr. Darwin. New York World (8 May).

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 12.2007. RN2

NOTE: Many thanks to Rosemary Clarkson of the Darwin Correspondence Project for kindly supplying a photocopy of this item.



The great English naturalist and philosopher has addressed the following note to the corresponding secretary of the Liberal Club:

DOWN BECKENHAM, KENT, S.E., April 15, 1871.

To Professor Charles L. Balch, Corresponding Secretary New York Liberal Club.1

DEAR SIR: I am much obliged for your extremely kind note and for the report of your lecture which you have been good enough to send. I am aware that I have but few supporters in your country. Should the Liberal Club do me the honor of electing me an honorary member I shall feel much flattered.

Would you be so good as to say to Mr. McDonald2 that I enclose four photographs for his acceptance: but I should fear that it could never be worth his while to execute a bust of me. Pray believe me, dear sir, yours faithfully,


1 Possibly Charles Leland Balch (1840-1872), of New York. Balch replied to Darwin, see Calendar 7408. No subsequent correspondence between the two has been found. The New York Liberal Club was established in 1869. Darwin was elected an Honorary Member in 1871. See later correspondence with the Liberal Club Calendar 9600 and 9601.
This letter prompted correspondence from F. E. Abbot (see Darwin 1871) who felt Darwin's assertion that he had 'but few supporters' in the USA would entail 'a sad proof of American ignorance and unintelligence'. CUL-DAR159.1

2 James Wilson Alexander MacDonald (1824-1908), American painter and sculptor.

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

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