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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Robert Fitch   24 January [1851]

Down Farnborough Kent

Jan 24th.

My dear Sir

At last I have the great happiness to be able to say that I have finally compared your specimens with Proof-Plates & have at last done with them. I thank you once again very sincerely for your very long loan of them:1 they have been of the greatest use to me.—2 None have been in the least injured in passing through Mr. Sowerby’s hands.— You will remember that some were injured in first coming here & that with your permission I removed several from the Challk.—3 I am certain, that they are scientifically in a more valuable state than when sent, though some are not so ornamental.—

I this morning packed up about half, each one or two specs. in a separate pill-box, so that none will be injured I hope. All will have name on lid or on separate label: some valves are folded up in silver paper.— If I do not hear to the contrary before Wednesday morning I will send all in a Box to Mess Barclay 95. Farringdon St.— —

If you shd generously be inclined, as you once hinted, to give me any duplicate specimens, I wd. gladly accept them for the British Museum, to which I intend giving all my own collection & all that I can collect.4

Once again with my sincere thanks | I remain | dear Sir | Your’s’ very faithfully | C. Darwin


CD had held many of Fitch’s specimens for over a year. See Correspondence vol.4, letter to Robert Fitch, [December? 1850].
In the preface to Fossil Cirripedia (1851): v, CD wrote: ‘To Mr. Fitch, of Norwich, I here beg to return my thanks, for having allowed me to keep, during several months, his unrivalled collection of Cirripedia from the Upper Chalk of Norwich,—the fruit of twenty years’ labour.’ Fitch had supplied type specimens of Scalpellum fossula, S. maximum, Pollicipes angelini, P. striatus, and P. fallax.
Withers 1928–53, which discusses the cirripedes presented to the British Museum by CD, does not list any specimens from Fitch. According to Withers 1928–53, 2: 185, Fitch’s collection, including specimens described by CD, is in the Norwich Castle Museum.


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

Fossil Cirripedia (1851): A monograph on the fossil Lepadidæ, or, pedunculated cirripedes of Great Britain. By Charles Darwin. London: Palaeontographical Society. 1851.

Withers, Thomas Henry. 1928–53. Catalogue of fossil Cirripedia in the department of geology. 3 vols. London: British Museum (Natural History).


Collection of fossil cirripedes to be returned. Would RF be willing to donate duplicates to the British Museum?

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Robert Fitch
Sent from
Source of text
Norwich Castle
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1387,” accessed on 21 October 2021,

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