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To A. Y. Spearman   13 July 1839


Transmits, as on former occasions, the Smith, Elder & Co. account for the now published third number of the third part of the Zoology.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Alexander Young Spearman
Date:  13 July 1839
Classmark:  The National Archives (TNA) (T1/4524 paper 25824)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-525A

From William Yarrell   14 July 1839


Acknowledges Journal of researches and in return sends the first volume of his History of British birds [1839–43].

Author:  William Yarrell
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  14 July 1839
Classmark:  DAR 204: 185
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-526

From John Grant Malcolmson   24 July 1839


Detailed evidence for and against geological elevation along coast of the Indian subcontinent, South Asia, and Arabia. Extensive references to geological literature about these areas.

Describes coral sand-dune and salt-marsh formation.

Author:  John Grant Malcolmson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  24 July 1839
Classmark:  DAR 39: 7–10
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-528

From Jean Baptiste Armand Louis Léonce Élie de Beaumont   31 July 1839


Acknowledges receipt of CD’s gift of the Journal of researches. Praises CD’s "ingenious" views.

Author:  Jean-Baptiste-Armand-Louis-Léonce (Léonce) Elie de Beaumont
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  31 July 1839
Classmark:  DAR 204: 177
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-529

To William Henry Smyth   7 August [1839]


Asks for details of Smyth’s Island discovered by WHS – particularly whether the islets form a ring surrounding a lagoon. [See Coral reefs, p. 158].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Henry Smyth
Date:  7 Aug [1839]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-530

To William Shoberl   16 August [1839]


Gives his opinion of a MS on geology. It is not really a scientific work. It might sell well, but CD’s opinion on success of sale is worthless.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Shoberl
Date:  16 Aug [1839]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-531

From Carl Friedrich Alexander Hartmann   23 August 1839


Thanks CD for his Journal of researches, "one of the best scientific travelworks of this time", which CFAH intends to translate into German.

Author:  Carl Friedrich Alexander Hartmann
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  23 Aug 1839
Classmark:  DAR 204: 179
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-532

From J. G. Malcolmson   31 August 1839


Observations on the geology of Arabia.

Author:  John Grant Malcolmson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  31 Aug 1839
Classmark:  DAR 39: 11
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-533

From Alexander von Humboldt   18 September 1839


Praises CD’s Journal of researches and comments on some of CD’s observations and conclusions. Considers volcanic activity and its effect on past climate and changes in climate over time. Discusses glacial phenomena. Believes the climate of the coast of Peru is modified by cold sea-currents.

Author:  Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander (Alexander) von Humboldt
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  18 Sept 1839
Classmark:  DAR 204: 180
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-534

From J. G. Malcolmson   7 October 1839


Sends notes on soundings made on coral banks in the China Sea.

His recent geological observations.

Finds a difficulty with CD’s erratic block theory.

Author:  John Grant Malcolmson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  7 Oct 1839
Classmark:  DAR 39: 12–14
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-535

From Thomas Evans Blackwell   26 January 1839


A newly-elected Fellow returns the obligation to be signed upon entering the Geological Society.

Author:  Thomas Evans Blackwell
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  26 Jan 1839
Classmark:  Geological Society of London (GSL/L/R/4/121)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-494

To A. Y. Spearman   4 February 1839


Submits the account of Smith, Elder & Co. for the third number of part two and second number of part three of the Zoology.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Alexander Young Spearman
Date:  4 Feb 1839
Classmark:  The National Archives (TNA) (T1/4524 paper 25824)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-494A

From J. S. Henslow   7 February 1839


Writes to CD as "Brother Benedick" and sends hearty good wishes for health and happiness in marriage. They are sending a little silver candlestick for a wax taper.

Author:  John Stevens Henslow
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  7 Feb 1839
Classmark:  DAR 204: 167
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-495

To William Whewell   16 February [1839]


Asks WW to alter, before printing, the passages in WW’s Presidential Address to the Geological Society [Proc. Geol. Soc. Lond. 3 (1839): 93] which pointedly allude to the delay in publication of CD’s Beagle journal; they might annoy FitzRoy, who, as Captain, has a right to first use of the papers of all officers on board.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Whewell
Date:  16 Feb [1839]
Classmark:  Trinity College, Cambridge (Add c 88: 4)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-496

From Andrew Irvine   7 March 1839


Supports John Lawrance’s application to become a fellow of the Geological Society.

Author:  Andrew Irvine
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  7 Mar 1839
Classmark:  Geological Society of London (GSL/L/R/4/165)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-496A

To William Lonsdale   [8 March 1839]


Has finished earthquake paper ["Volcanic phenomena in South America" (1840), Collected papers 1: 53–86]. Gives instructions about a woodcut. There should be an outline map.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Lonsdale
Date:  [8 Mar 1839]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-497

From Andrew Smith   16 March 1839


Sends his congratulations and best wishes on CD’s marriage.

Author:  Andrew Smith
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  16 Mar 1839
Classmark:  DAR 204: 172
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-498

To the Librarian of the Royal Geographical Society   [19 March 1839]


Formal request for F. Lutké’s charts of the Caroline Islands and any charts by Beechey of the Lagoon Islands [Ellice Islands] that the Society might possess.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Librarian, Royal Geographical Society
Date:  [19 Mar 1839]
Classmark:  Royal Geographical Society
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-499

From Robert FitzRoy   [20 March 1839]


Has objected to loading Narrative with advertisements, but thinks CD’s Zoology and Geology might be advertised. Mentions other details of the final stages of publication.

Author:  Robert FitzRoy
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [20 Mar 1839]
Classmark:  DAR 204: 146
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-500

Questions for William Herbert   [c. 1 April 1839]



Questions on breeding of plants: variation in established versus new varieties; predominance of wild species and old varieties when crossed with newer forms; predominance of males versus females; correlations between ease of hybridisation and tendency to vary and undergo cultivation; reversion; correlations between hybridisation and geographic distribution.

In WH’s Amaryllidaceae [1837], does he intend to say crossing is inimical to fertility?

[Sent via J. S. Henslow; note to amanuensis Syms Covington.]

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Herbert, dean of Manchester
Date:  [c. 1 Apr 1839]
Classmark:  DAR 185: 62
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-502
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