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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Albert Way   9 December 1838


December 9/38.

My dear Darwin.

You must not imagine that because we dwell far from the sources of science—we are so wholly rusticated as to know nothing of our friends’ proceedings, for you must know that so far from giving me the first announcement of the auspicious approaching event which forms the secondary subject of your Epistle, & to which you perceive I give the more prominent place which it deserves, it was I assure you a subject of very interesting conversation here at least a month since— In this respect however you were rightly assured, that my congratulations on the occasion would come with all sincerity—and most heartily now do I congratulate you & wish you long & unmingled happiness—

But to the business part of your letter— I remember well speaking to you of the sketches of my fellow traveller in the Hebrides, but I am by no means positive that Glen Roy was among his subjects, certainly not of the drawings I saw, although as he bestowed a considerable time in collecting materials for an illustrated work on Northern Scotland—& had a very keen interest in every locality of interest, I have no doubt that Glen Roy is to be found in his Portfolio. I must observe however that my acquaintance with him was of a very passing nature, just such as arises on the Deck of a Steamer, & would ripen into an acquisition of value, had one had time to cultivate it. Such unfortunately was not my good fortune. My name even is unknown to him—& I could make no application I am sorry to say towards your object. But if you think it worth while, I think you might, for the purpose in view—because I believe him to be one of the Class you discriminate so nicely who would like to see their labours made useful. however I can give you no address, & the readiest way I can help you to it, is if you will call on Boone the Bookseller in Bond St. who furnished me with the few numbers of the work on Scotland that appeared.1 he will give you information that will enable you to find out where to direct your request. Lieut. Col. Murray of some place with a long name, by which he is to be distinguished from the Clan.2

I am fully persuaded if as I suppose he has made drawings of Glen Roy, that he would willingly place them at your disposal for such an object. I would gladly take the whole upon myself—but I feel that it would come with more advantage from you.

And now I must inform you that I suspect the sketch of these wonderful roads of which I gave you a report if I did so, was by another less eminent hand—& that you have in making up your bundles of recollections inserted it in the same sheaf with others, of Eig & Skye of which I made mention—

In fact I have a sketch of Glen Roy which I took with some pains—& which I believe is tolerably exact, though not so exact or so artist like as your purpose deserves. if it could be of use to you it is quite at your service—3 it is a long sketch quite enough for a quarto plate—with a good deal of detail but none of what the Art call Effect—that is no heavy showers passing over the middle plane of the landscape, no powerful results of light & shadow, but such as it is, if it can help you I should be very glad. Unluckily my sketch books are in London, or I would have sent it to you. I shall be in Town soon after Christmas. I leave home on Saturday. if you think my sketch may be of any service to you please to let me know— I am highly curious to see the developement of your Theory about these same wonderful roads.

Believe me ever my dear Darwin | most sincerly yours | Albert Way


Possibly Lieutenant-colonel William Murray of Touchadam and Polmaise, Stirlingshire.
A lithographic sketch made from Way’s drawing was used by CD in his paper. In his acknow-ledgment, CD says, ‘It very faithfully represents the general appearance of Glen Roy.’ See Collected papers 1: 88, 132.


Murray, W. 1834. Sketches of scenes in Scotland, drawn in outline by Lieut.-Col. Murray … with historical and descriptive illustrations, by D. Morison. Perth.


Congratulations on CD’s engagement.

In answer to CD’s request, tells him how to locate an artist who made excellent sketches of Scotland, and probably of Glen Roy. AW himself made a sketch of the Glen which he offers to CD [Collected papers 1: 88].

Letter details

Letter no.
Albert Way
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 148
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 455,” accessed on 20 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2