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To Susan Darwin   [15 May 1838]


Recounts dinner at Erasmus’ house with Harriet Martineau and others, and a visit to Cambridge to stay with Henslow and meet old friends again.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Susan Elizabeth Darwin
Date:  [15 May 1838]
Classmark:  DAR 223: 38
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-413

To John Forbes Royle   [24 May 1838]


Would like to attend a lecture by JFR on "geography of plants with relation to the Himalayas".

"A grand battle" at the Geological Society between Sedgwick and G. B. Greenough.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Forbes Royle
Date:  [24 May 1838]
Classmark:  DAR 147: 397
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-415

To Charles Wood   24 May 1838


Asks for permission to have a copy of the published Admiralty chart of the Island of Ascension. The engraved chart will add value to the geological observations to be published in the natural history of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Wood, Lord Halifax, 1st Viscount Halifax
Date:  24 May 1838
Classmark:  The National Archives (TNA) (ADM 1 4548/Pro D170)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-415A

From Francis Beaufort   26 May [1838]


Has been commanded to supply CD with a copy of the plan of Ascension Island to be engraved for the natural history of the Beagle’s voyage. Suggests that a lithographer be sent to the [Hydrographic] office to take a transfer proof.

Author:  Francis Beaufort
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  26 May [1838]
Classmark:  United Kingdon Hydrographic Office Archive (Letter Book no. 8, p. 190)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-415B

To George Robert Waterhouse   [August 1838–40]


Determined to make GRW a geologist. Sends copy of C. Lyell [?Elements of geology (1838)].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  George Robert Waterhouse
Date:  [Aug 1838–40]
Classmark:  Cleveland Health Sciences Library
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-416

To William Lonsdale   [c. June 1838]


Responds to report of the referee [on his paper "The formation of mould"]. Strikes out a paragraph and wants to add a note. Asks WL’s advice about a sentence.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Lonsdale
Date:  [c. June 1838]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-417

From W. D. Fox   [c. November 1838]


Reports on the effects of inbreeding in dogs and the results of crossing Canada and common geese.

Author:  William Darwin Fox
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [c. Nov 1838]
Classmark:  DAR 164: 173
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-418

To W. D. Fox   [15 June 1838]


Has not been well.

Plans a geological trip to Glen Roy in Scotland.

Thanks WDF for remembering the crossing of animals, CD’s "prime hobby". "I really think some day I shall be able to do something on that most intricate subject species and varieties."

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  [15 June 1838]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 54)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-419

From Francis Walker   6 July [1838]



Thanks CD for suggestions for improving his descriptions of species by indicating localities. With few exceptions the Chalcidites of South America and Australia are remarkably like European species.

Author:  Francis Walker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  6 July [1838]
Classmark:  DAR 205.3: 293
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-421

From Jean Pierre Sylvestre de Grateloup   18 July 1838


Sends to CD, as Secretary of the Geological Society, his work on fossil shells ["Mémoire sur les coquilles fossiles", Actes de la Société Linnéenne de Bordeaux 10 (1838): 92–152].

Author:  Jean Pierre Sylvestre de Grateloup
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  18 July 1838
Classmark:  Geological Society of London (GSL/L/R/4/5)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-421A

To William John Broderip   [August–December 1838]


Would like to arrange a meeting about CD’s collection of shells [from the Beagle voyage].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William John Broderip
Date:  [Aug–Dec 1838]
Classmark:  Fitzwilliam Museum
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-422

To Charles Lyell   9 August [1838]


Comments on receiving copy of Lyell’s Elements [of geology]. Much is new to CD, and he is copying out notes and references.

Criticises geological work of John Phillips.

Describes expedition to Glen Roy, about which he is writing a paper ["Parallel roads of Glen Roy" (1839), Collected papers 1: 87–137].

Enjoys the Athenaeum Club.

Criticises entomological work of F. W. Hope.

Asks Lyell to obtain for him a copy of barometric readings made at Leith.

Asks him to ascertain altitude of several Scottish lochs.

Comments on FitzRoy’s character.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  9 Aug [1838]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.10)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-424

To A. Y. Spearman   18 August 1838


Notification of submission of Smith, Elder & Co. accounts (enclosed) for first numbers of part II and part III of the Zoology, which are now published.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Alexander Young Spearman
Date:  18 Aug 1838
Classmark:  The National Archives (TNA) (T1/4524 paper 25824)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-424A

From Charles Lyell   6 and 8 September 1838


Would like to talk over Salisbury Craigs with CD.

CL’s father enthusiastic over Journal of researches.

Comments on Élie de Beaumont’s theory of mountain elevation.

Asks about parallel lines of upheaval and depression in the Pacific.

Glad CD likes Athenaeum Club.

Comments on methods of work.

Invites CD to visit Kinnordy.

Defends BAAS: "in this country no importance is attached to any body of men who do not make occasional demonstrations of their strength in public meetings".

With respect to Glen Roy, notes existence of deposits destitute of shells.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  6 and 8 Sept 1838
Classmark:  K. M. Lyell 1881 2: 43
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-425

To the Geological Society of London   7 September 1838


Report on R. A. C. Austen’s paper on the origin of limestone in Devonshire [Proc. Geol. Soc. Lond. 2 (1838): 669–70]. CD deems it not worthy of publication in Transactions.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Geological Society of London
Date:  7 Sept 1838
Classmark:  Geological Society of London (GSL/COM/P/4/2/8)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-426

To Charles Lyell   [14] September [1838]


Comments on an article in Edinburgh Review [by David Brewster, 67 (1838): 271–308] on Comte’s Philosophie positive.

Discusses falsity of Élie de Beaumont’s views of contemporaneous parallel lines of elevation and subsidence.

Owen’s views of relationship of reptiles to birds.

On "question of species" CD has filled notebook after notebook with facts, "which begin to group themselves clearly under sub-laws".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [14] Sept [1838]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.11)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-428

To A. Y. Spearman   22 September 1838


Submits the account of Smith, Elder & Co. for the second number of the second part of the Zoology.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Alexander Young Spearman
Date:  22 Sept 1838
Classmark:  The National Archives (TNA) (T1/4524 paper 25824)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-428A

From Bartholomew James Sulivan   20 October 1838


Reports arrival at Falklands; weather conditions, and unsuccessful search he made for a geological formation CD had seen. Describes cliffs, streams, rocks, and lines of elevation; includes two drawings.

Author:  Bartholomew James Sulivan
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  20 Oct 1838
Classmark:  DAR 39: 18–19
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-429

To John Stevens Henslow   3 November 1838


Relates plan for an appendix to his Journal of researches which will include facts of species of birds’ being different in different islands of the Galápagos and also of the lizards and tortoises on the islands. Asks JSH whether he can supply parallels in the plant life.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  3 Nov 1838
Classmark:  Smithsonian Libraries (Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology MSS 2031 A. Gift of H. W. Lende Jr)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-429A

To John Frederick William Herschel   2 [November 1838]


Requests information for W. S. Macleay on JFWH’s method of catching pelagic animals while ship is under way.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Frederick William Herschel, 1st baronet
Date:  2 [Nov 1838]
Classmark:  The Royal Society (HS6: 10)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-430
Document type
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