RECORD: Lankester, Edwin Ray. [1882].04.23. Letter to Francis Darwin. CUL-DAR215.9f. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 11.2021. RN1

NOTE: See record in the Darwin Online manuscript catalogue, enter its Identifier here. Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.

"Lankester, Sir Edwin Ray, 1847-1929. Zoologist and evolutionary biologist. 1870 CD's Note on the age of certain birds in L's, On comparative longevity in man and the lower animals, p. 58. (Shorter publications, F1991) 1873 Apr. 15 CD to L, about reproduction of elephants "I can clearly see that you will some day become our first star in Natural History". CCD21:174. 1874-90 Jodrell Prof. Zoology and Comparative Anatomy University College London. 1875 FRS. 1875 CD to Wallace, about L being blackballed for election to Linnean Society, "he is not my personal friend, only an acquaintance". CCD23:494. 1875 Jul. 18 visited CD, in company with Dyer. 1879 CD to L, CD is glad that L is to spend more time on original research, does "splendid work". CCD27:313. 1880 Degeneration: a chapter on Darwinism. 1881 CD wrote a testimonial for L's application for Edinburgh Chair. L held it briefly in plurality. Calendar 13446. 1891-98 Linacre Prof. Comparative Anatomy Oxford. 1898-1907 Director BMNH. 1907 KCB. 1908 Darwin-Wallace Medal Linnean Society. 1913 Copley Medal Royal Society. Recollections of CD: 'Charles Robert Darwin' in 1896 C.D. Warner ed. Library of the world's best literature ancient and modern 2: 4835-4393, transcribed in Darwin Online (F2113)." (Paul van Helvert & John van Wyhe, Darwin: A Companion, 2021)



April 23rd

My dear Darwin,

It is not necessary for me to say to you what would be merely the echo of that which the whole world is saying as to the loss we sustain in the death of your dear father. But I can sympathize also with what is your special loss: I know how your occupation has always been at his side and the great privilege and delight


you have had in being his help and associate. I can imagine how great your attachment to him must have been, when I think that although I rarely saw him – my reverence for him was more than equalled by a feeling of love caused by his extreme kindness and personal charm. There never was a man who was so great and so beautiful in character at the same time: to have known him has been the greatest honour of my life


I should like to ask if it will be permitted to those outside your own family to attend the funeral. If I am likely to know of it through any public channel, pray do not trouble to write.

Believe me,

Sincerely yours

E Ray Lankester.

[Francis Darwin:] answered

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

File last updated 25 September, 2022