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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Wickham Flower   23 March [1851]1

Down Farnborough Kent

March 23d.

My dear Sir

I shd. have answered your note sooner, but I have been laid up with the Influenza.— Many thanks for the fossils sent; they are not new species, but one seems from matrix to be from a new formation.— I thank you for your most generous offer of fossils for the Brit. Mus.2 I will show moderation in my selection: you can if you please leave the fossils at the Geolog. Soc. for I every now & then send there & pick up all parcels. Possibly I may be at the Anniversary tomorrow of Pal. Soc. & we perhaps may thus meet.—3

Very sincere thanks for your invitation to Park Hill;4 I should in truth much enjoy it, for in old days my greatest pleasure was the conversation of scientific men, but I find by dear-bought experience that I cannot visit anywhere, as the excitement invariably does me harm for days afterwards; therefore I in truth grieve to say I cannot accept your kindness.

My dear Sir | Believe me | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin


The date is based on an entry in CD’s Health diary stating that he had influenza from 16 to 21 March 1851, and by the Palaeontographical Society’s anniversary meeting, which, in 1851, took place on 24 March (Palaeontographical Society minute book).
In accordance with the agreement CD made with the trustees of the British Museum at the outset of preparing his monograph, CD gave his collection, augmented by specimens donated by others, to the museum upon completion of his work (see Correspondence vol. 4, second letter to J. E. Gray, 18 December 1847).
According to Emma Darwin’s diary, CD, Anne, and Henrietta Darwin went to Malvern on 24 March. CD may have intended to go to the Palaeontographical Society meeting on this day when passing through London on his way to Malvern.
Park Hill, Croydon, was Flower’s home.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Thanks JWF for [cirripede] fossils; one species seems from a new formation.

Regrets that his health makes it necessary to decline an invitation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Wickham Flower
Sent from
Source of text
Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1075,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5