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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Bowman   7 August [1867]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Aug. 7th

Dear Bowman

Very many thanks for your kind note & clear answers to my queries, which are valuable to me.—2 I hope to do a little more work in natural science,—much is out of the question—but I agree with you entirely that no one can say how glorious the future prospect of knowledge is.— What an instance the spectroscope is!3

With hearty thanks for your uniform kindness— believe me | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from William Bowman, 5 August 1867.
The spectroscope (invented in the late 1850s by Gustav Robert Kirchhoff and Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen) made possible the chemical analysis of stars as well as providing a highly accurate means of identifying the presence of even minute amounts of chemical substances (DSB s.v. Kirchhoff, Gustav Robert, and Bunsen, Robert Wilhelm Eberhard).


DSB: Dictionary of scientific biography. Edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie and Frederic L. Holmes. 18 vols. including index and supplements. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1970–90.


Thanks for reply to queries. Spectroscope an instance of unimagined glorious prospects of science.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Bowman, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.11: 10 (EH 88206062)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5601,” accessed on 18 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15