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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Charles Lyell   22 February [1866]1


Feb. 22

My dear Lyell

I have been particularly glad to see my errors pointed out by Bunbury,2 who adds nearly as much as he takes away.3 I believe now I have notes about Drimys & Fuchsia &c in my Portfolio on this subject, but knowing nothing of Botany, they had escaped me.—4 I have also vague remembrance, but cannot hunt up my notes, that some of fossil mammals of caves of Brazil are Andean, as Vicunas, Bears & Goat-like animal &c.—5

I am all the gladder to have seen all these letters,6 as I have heard, almost to my sorrow, this morning that Murray wants new Edit. of Origin, & I must alter a few words about Organ Mountains.7 I suppose I might add “that I have been informed that Agassiz has detected Glacial markings on these mountains”.—8

It goes to my heart that all my present work will be stopped for a month or two or three.—

Yours affectionately | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from C. J. F. Bunbury to Charles Lyell, 20 February 1866 (see n. 2, below).
CD refers to Charles James Fox Bunbury and the letter from Bunbury to Lyell of 20 February 1866 (see this volume).
CD had noted Bunbury’s admission (letter from C. J. F. Bunbury to Charles Lyell, 20 February 1866) that Gaultheria, Gaylussacia, and Escallonia were common to the flora of the Andes and the Organ Mountains. CD’s note ends: ‘Drimys (he admits) or Winter’s Bark is in favour of me & Fuchsia— Drimys ranges along Andes to Mexico & reappears conspicuously on Table-land of Brazil’ (DAR 50: E47). For Bunbury’s comments on CD’s views as expressed in the letter to Charles Lyell, 7 February [1866], see the letter from C. J. F. Bunbury to Charles Lyell, 20 February 1866, n. 13.
CD’s notes on the geographical distribution of plants were in his portfolio number 20. CD kept a number of such portfolios, amassed over a long period of time and since dispersed. The likely contents of some portfolios were reconstructed when some of CD’s papers were catalogued in 1932 (see DAR 220: 13). However, CD’s earlier notes on the distribution of Fuchsia and Drimys in South America have not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
CD may refer to notes made in 1839 and 1840 (see Notebooks, Torn Apart Notebook, Frag 6r, 79 (pp. 464–5)). These two notes concerned fossil mammals in the caves of South America and referred to Edward Blyth’s belief ‘in the existence of Molina’s Pudu— or goat’ (see also Blyth 1841, pp. 255–6, in which the relationship between the Pudu and the fossil Antilope Mariquensis is considered).
The letters were those from Bunbury, Joseph Dalton Hooker, and Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz (see n. 2, above, letter to Charles Lyell, 7 February [1866] and n. 2, and letter to Charles Lyell, 15 February [1866] and n. 2).
For CD’s temporary alteration to the text of Origin on this point, see the letter to Charles Lyell, 7 February [1866] and n. 7.


Blyth, Edward. 1841. An amended list of the species of the genus Ovis. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 7: 195–201, 248–61.

Notebooks: Charles Darwin’s notebooks, 1836–1844. Geology, transmutation of species, metaphysical enquiries. Transcribed and edited by Paul H. Barrett et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press for the British Museum (Natural History). 1987.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Comments on errors [in Origin] pointed out in C. J. F. Bunbury’s letters.

Mentions CD’s notes on Drimys, Fuchsia, and fossil mammals of Brazilian caves.

Sorrowful that his work must be put aside because Murray wants a new [4th] edition of Origin. Remarks on changes to be made regarding Organ Mountains and Agassiz’s glacial markings.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.314)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5015,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14