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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. B. Jukes   25 December [1838]


Dear Sir.

I am glad to be able to inform you, that no application, besides yours, has been received by the Geological Soc. nor do I think it very likely that there will be, as, at my request Mr Lyell mentioned the subject at the Newcastle meeting of the British Association, where volunteers were most likely to have been heard of.—

I have received a letter on the subject of your application from Professor Sedgwick, & I mentioned it to the Council, & everyone seemed to wish, that your zeal might meet its due reward in an abundant harvest of geological facts.— I would recommend you, to apply to Mr Whewell for a recommendation; as I think I understood from him, that he knew you.— With such recommendations, your plan appears to me very good, of going out to Newfoundland & taking your chance of the approvement of the Governor.—

When you pass through town, I shall be most happy to give you any suggestions, which my own experience in foreign geologizing may have taught me.— The action of ice will be a most interesting subject of investigatio〈n〉.— I shall feel surprise if you do not discover remains of Extinct Mammalia in a continent, where they formerly seem to have abounded in so extraordinary a manner.—

If you will allow me to take the liberty of advising you, I would suggest the great advantage, you would derive, from some practice in surveying, which you might easily acquire, by the aid of some elementary book, & a theodolite & actual practice in making a rough map of the country where you are now living,—I speak from the experience of having seen how very soon midshipmen learnt to make excellent plans, that it is very easy.— The Coast-charts of Newfoundland would give you fixed points of longitude; with a sextant & artificial horizon, you might make out your own latitudes, (& practice the calculations & observations at sea in your passage out), with a theodolite to ascertain true bearings, & the larger triangles and those invaluable instruments Kater’s1 pocket compass & a pocket sextant to fill up the minuter details, you might be enabled to lay down accurately any part of the country, which appeared particularly interesting. Should no part of your work be so minute, yet the advantage of being able to make a map, will be an invaluable one to you all your live.—

With many excuses for troubling you with these suggestions. Believe me Truly Yours | Chas. Darwin Decemb 25th.—


Henry Kater.


Advises JBJ on preparing himself for geological work in Newfoundland.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Beete Jukes
Sent from
Athenaeum Club
Source of text
University of Oklahoma Libraries History of Science Collections
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 461,” accessed on 27 September 2021,

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