skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Kemp   1[8] May [1840]1

12 Upper Gower St

Monday May 1⁠⟨⁠8⁠⟩⁠


I was very much interested by an abstract of your paper which appeared some time since in the Scotsman.2 Having learnt your address, through the kindness of Mr. Walker,3 I trust you will excuse the liberty I take in addressing you, and that will do me the pleasure of accepting a copy of my paper o⁠⟨⁠n⁠⟩⁠ Glen Roy.—4 I wish very much to know, whether your paper is printed anywhere at greater length than in the Scotsman? I should feel much obliged if you would answer me this question, & at the same time perhaps you will be good enough to inform me, whether any more facts have been discovered, & whether your views on the origin of ⁠⟨⁠th⁠⟩⁠e terraces round the summit of the Eildons have been confirmed, or the contrary?—5 I should much like to know by what means you have estimated the height of the terraces above the sea, and their corresponding level on the different hills?6 Over how many miles of country have traces of these marks at the same level been observed? Should you feel so inclined, any observations on th⁠⟨⁠is⁠⟩⁠ subject, which you would have the kindness to communicate with me, I should receive with the greatest interest.— I had intended to have visited your part of Scotland this summer, but the state of my health renders it very doubtful, whether I shall be able. I should have much enjoy⁠⟨⁠ed⁠⟩⁠


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Charles Maclaren to Thomas Walker, 30 March 1840 (this volume, Supplement). The date is partially obscured, but reads May 10, 16, or 18. In 1840, 18 May fell on a Monday.
See Correspondence vol. 18, Supplement, letter from Charles Maclaren to Thomas Walker, 30 March 1840 and n. 1.
Thomas Walker.
CD refers to ‘Parallel roads of Glen Roy’.
Kemp wrote that the terraces in the Eildon Hills were raised sea beaches, in accordance with CD’s theory about the terraces at Glen Roy in ‘Parallel roads of Glen Roy’, which Kemp had already read (Scotsman, 15 February 1840, p. 3). He did not publish further on the terraces.
CD measured the terraces at Glen Roy by taking measurements at either end of each terrace with a mountain barometer (see ‘Parallel roads of Glen Roy’, pp. 44–5). The terraces are the ‘parallel roads’ referred to in ‘Parallel roads of Glen Roy’.


CD has read WK’s abstract in the Scotsman, 15 February 1840, p. 3, and asks for further details.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Kemp
Sent from
12 Upper Gower St, London
Source of text
Cambridge University Library (MS Add. 10252/2) (gift of Ruth Cramond and David Cramond)
Physical description
4pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 565F,” accessed on 4 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18 (Supplement)