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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Bowerbank   [24 April 1850]1

Down Farnborough Kent


My dear Sir

By the circular received this morning, I see there is a Council of Pal. Soc. on Friday. I hope that you will bring my affairs before it.—2 After seeing you the other week I was with Forbes, & mentioned the foreign species to him; & he seemed to think very strongly that there wd be no objection to their introduction: there are eight of them.— You know that before seeing you I had talked with Mr Morris & Flower & they seemed to think their admission desirable; so I cannot but think that you might introduce the case boldly. I trust to your judgment: if you can I shd. greatly prefer introducing openly the species in the text in small type.— Forbes said he did not believe there wd be any objection, if permission was granted specially.— will you talk with him & act as you think best.— It really wd be a great blemish to my work, if they were not introduced, as I have often to allude to them.—3

I am delighted to hear about the Sponges: Have you had the bottle I sent last Thursday to you to Geolog. Soc: the sponge therein enclosed, strikes me as remarkable.—4

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

Since last seeing you, I have heard from Charlesworth that Mr J Pearce has recovered his senses, & I have accordingly addressed him directly—but have not yet had any answer, regarding the Pollicipes concinus.—5


The date is established by the reference to a meeting of the council of the Palaeontographical Society; the meeting took place on 26 April 1850 (see n. 2, below). The previous Wednesday was 24 April.
At their meeting on 26 April 1850, the council of the Palaeontographical Society agreed to grant money ‘up to the maximum of the cost of one extra plate, so that foreign specimens may be illustrated by Darwin’ (Palaeontographical Society Minute Book, Natural History Museum).
Bowerbank had proposed the establishment of the Palaeontographical Society specifically for the publication of illustrations and descriptions of British fossils. Bowerbank served as honorary secretary of the society; Edward Forbes, John Morris, and John Wickham Flower were members of council (List of the council, secretaries and members of the Palaeontographical Society (1851)). The foreign species were included in Fossil Cirripedia (1851), p. 1.
Bowerbank was an expert on sponges, and published the first part of A monograph of the British Spongiadae in 1864 (Bowerbank 1864–82); CD is not mentioned in the list of acknowledgments. For the sponge specimens CD collected on the Beagle voyage, see R. D. Keynes ed. 2000.
Edward Charlesworth was curator of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society Museum. CD had probably applied to James Pearce for access to the extensive fossil collection of his son, Chaning Pearce, which had been bequeathed to the family following his death in 1847 (Brinkman et al. eds. 2013, p. 174). CD discussed Pollicipes concinnus in Fossil Cirripedia (1851), pp. 48–50, and stated that he was unable to examine Pearce’s specimens.


Requests permission to include foreign species in Fossil Cirrpedia (1851). Asks whether sponges arrived. Has not yet heard from Pearce about Pollicipes concinus.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Scott Bowerbank
Source of text
University of Delaware Library (Mark Samuels Lasner Collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1382F,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)