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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. F. W. Herschel   6 June [1848]

Down Farnborough Kent

June 6th

Dear Sir John Herschel

I enclose two valves of the Ibla1 done up in damp cotton; you had better put it into spirits. I hope I made it clear that I did not wish you to waste a minute of your truly valuable time, without you feel on your own account any interest in the phenomenon: I am so wholly ignorant on such points, that I did not know whether the case was of any signification. To see the blue, a thin slice must be cut off & a tolerably high single lens used to look at it, if you think it worth looking at, if not pray throw it away.2

I fear that you must find the superintendence of the Instructions3 very troublesome. Any part of mine which you think had better be struck out shall be done & I will piece it as well as I can; but if much shortening is required it will almost require rewriting & it will render necessary all one’s virtue to take that much trouble to save the Admiralty a few pounds in using smaller type. I did not put it anything for the mere purpose of swelling mine.

Believe me | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin To Sir J. W. Herschel Bart.


A note by Herschel on the last page of the letter states that he examined the specimen but ‘Could see no trace of change of colour—June 13/48—Destroyed specimen in vain attempts.’ CD nevertheless reported his own observations in Living cirripedia (1851): 184–5.
Herschel ed. 1849.


Sends two valves of Ibla.

In his chapter [for Manual, Collected papers 1: 227–50], he will strike out any part that JFWH wants struck out, but if much shortening is required it will need rewriting.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Frederick William Herschel, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
The Royal Society (HS6: 13)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1183,” accessed on 18 January 2022,

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