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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Paul Edmund de Strzelecki   [25 May 1845]

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Sir

I received a few days since your kind & valuable present:1 I am exceedingly obliged to you for it, though I feel that I have no claim on so magnificent a present.

I congratulate you on having completed a work which must have cost you so much labour & I am astonished at the number of deep subjects which you discuss. I must be permitted to express my sorrow that there are not far more copious extracts from the ‘M.S. Journal’: I hope some day to see it fully published.— You speak of your unidiomatic English; I heartily wish that one quarter of our English authors could think & write in language one half as spirited yet so simple.

Once again allow me to thank you very sincerely & believe me My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin

You were so good, when I last saw you, as to say, that you would take the trouble of informing me (as a guide for myself) what you paid for the engraving of the shells alone.2 The plates appear to me admirable.


Strzelecki 1845. A copy in the Darwin Library–CUL is inscribed ‘To Charles Darwin Esqr M.A. from the Author 19th. of May.’ It is lightly annotated, with a note ‘Abstract March 57’ (the time CD began to write his ‘big book’, Natural selection).
Strzelecki’s work contains plates illustrating specimens of shells and corals, several of which had also been collected by CD in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). Strzelecki named one species of shell Spirifer darwinii in honour of CD’s contributions ‘to the advancement of physical geology and natural history generally’ (p. 280). He recorded that he examined some of CD’s collection in London.


Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.


Thanks PEdeS for gift of his book [Physical description of New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land (1845)].

Asks how much engravings of shells cost.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Paul Edmund de Strzelecki
Sent from
Source of text
Yale University: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (GEN MSS MISC Group 1559 F-3)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 871,” accessed on 16 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3