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Darwin Correspondence Project

To S. B. J. Skertchly   2 March 1878

Down. | Beckenham Kent (&c.) [4 Bryanston Street, London.]

March 2nd. 1878.

My dear Sir.

It is the greatest possible satisfaction to a man nearly at the close of his career to believe that he has aided or stimulated an able and energetic fellow worker in the noble cause of Science. Therefore your letter has deeply gratified me—1 I am writing this away from home, as my health failed & I was forced to rest;2 & this will account for the delay in answering your letter— No doubt on my return home, I shall find the memoir which you have kindly sent me—3 I shall read it with much interest, as I have heard something of your work from Profr. Geikie & have read his admirable Ice Age.—4 I have noticed the criticisms on your work, but such opposition must be expected by everyone who draws fine grand conclusions, and such assuredly are yours as abstracted in your letter.— What magnificent progress Geology has made within my life time!

I shall have very great pleasure in sending you any of my books with my autograph; but I really do not know which to send.—5 It will cost you only the trouble of a post-card to tell me which you would like, & it shall soon be sent. Forgive this untidy note, as it is rather an effort to write.

With all good wishes for your continued success in Science & for your happiness, I remain | My dear Sir. | Yours very faithfully— | Charles Darwin.


CD stayed in London with Henrietta Emma and Richard Buckley Litchfield from 27 February to 5 March 1878 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). He saw his physician, Andrew Clark, while in London (letter to Sara Darwin, [1 March 1878]).
Skertchly sent Geology of the fenland, a memoir of the Geological Survey of England and Wales (Skertchly 1877).
See Correspondence vol. 24, letter from James Geikie, 20 November 1876. Geikie included a lengthy extract from Skertchly’s notes on fenland palaeolithic deposits in The great ice age and its relation to the antiquity of man (Geikie 1877, pp. 536–46). See letter from S. B. J. Skertchly, 27 February 1878 and n. 2.
Skertchly had requested a copy of one of CD’s books in his letter of 27 February 1878.


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

Geikie, James. 1877. The great ice age and its relation to the antiquity of man. 2d edition. London: Daldy, Isbister & Co.

Skertchly, Sydney Barber Josiah. 1877. Memoirs of the geological survey. England and Wales; the geology of the Fenland. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.


Thanks for letter. Comments on SBJS’s research on Palaeolithic flint tools.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Sydney Barber Josiah Skertchly
Sent from
London, Bryanston St, 4 Down letterhead
Source of text
DAR 147: 480
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11394,” accessed on 28 September 2021,