skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. C. Ross   31 December 1847

Down Farnborough Kent

Dec 31 /47/

My dear Sir James Ross

I am going to beg a favour of you, which your taste for Natural History, will, I hope, lead you to grant; it is to collect for me, during your ensuing expedition1 & preserve in spirits the northern species of Cirripedia or Barnacles, noting the latitude under which found, & whether the coast-rocks are abundantly covered. Perhaps the floating timber may have some of the pedunculated division or Lepas.— I am now at work, & shall be for the next two years, on a Monograph on the Cirripedia; & the above specimens would be particularly valuable to me. I do not suppose that your expedition, considering its noble object, will afford you much opportunity for collecting, but Barnacles are so easily scraped off the rocks & put into spirits, that it would cause you but little trouble. Different species often resemble each other rather closely externally. The only care required is that some of the specimens should have their bases perfect & that a few young individuals shd. be collected.

I hope, if it be in your power, that you will thus far oblige me, & place this letter amongst your Memoranda.

I do not know, who commands the first ship;2 if he has any taste for Nat. Hist, would you object to ask him to collect some specimens for me in a dry state, (marking the locality) if he object to the trouble of placing them in spirits.—

I trust to your kindness to forgive my asking this favour, & pray believe me, with every good wish for your success in your arduous voyage | Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin To Capt. Sir J. Ross.—


James Clark Ross was preparing for an Arctic voyage in search of the lost Franklin expedition.
Francis Leopold McClintock. No specimens from the expedition are cited in Living Cirripedia (1851, 1854). CD was, however, able to obtain Arctic specimens from John Richardson, Albany Hancock, and Peter Cormack Sutherland, surgeon on several Arctic voyages.


Living Cirripedia (1851): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Lepadidæ; or, pedunculated cirripedes. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1851.

Living Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Balanidæ (or sessile cirripedes); the Verrucidæ, etc. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1854.


Asks JCR to collect cirripedes for him on forthcoming expedition [to the Arctic in search of Sir John Franklin].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Clark Ross
Sent from
Source of text
The Royal Society (Sa: 384)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1140,” accessed on 28 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4