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To A. C. Ramsay   21 December [1871]


Requests further information on subsidence of flagstones because of action of worms.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Andrew Crombie Ramsay
Date:  21 Dec [1871]
Classmark:  DAR 261.9: 6 (EH 88205979)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8116

From J. D. Hooker   22 December 1871



Philosophical Club dinner.

Lyell contradicts W. B. Carpenter on current in Straits of Gibraltar.

James Orton’s report on fossil shells found by L. Agassiz 2000 miles up the Amazon. Their identification disposes of the glacial hypothesis.

No news yet from Gladstone on Ayrton affair.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  22 Dec 1871
Classmark:  DAR 103: 99–100
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8117

From Francis Galton   22 December 1871


Encloses "account of Dr H. M. Butler’s hereditary odd habit".

Author:  Francis Galton
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  22 Dec 1871
Classmark:  DAR 105: A40; DAR 195.4: 103
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8118

To Henry Johnson   23 December 1871


Is unable to accept invitation to Shrewsbury. Is grateful for offer of assistance at Wroxeter.

The weight of dry earth cast up by worms is 161/10 tons per acre annually.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Henry Johnson
Date:  23 Dec 1871
Classmark:  Private collection
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8118A

To Henry Lee   23 December [1871]


"I have now looked at both lots of specimens, & I think both are the variable L. anatifera.–– I have disarticulated the right-hand scutal valve in both & the umbonal teeth are plain in both … I have hardly any doubt that both are L. anatifera.––"

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Henry Lee
Date:  23 Dec [1871]
Classmark:  Kenneth W. Rendell (dealer) (1995)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8118B

From Archibald Geikie   24 December 1871


Sends a paper on denudation ["On modern denudation", Trans. Geol. Soc. Glasgow 3 (1871): 153–90].

Author:  Archibald Geikie
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  24 Dec 1871
Classmark:  DAR 165: 24
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8119

To William Ogle   25 December 1871


Sends notes on left- and right-handedness from observations made on his eldest son as an infant.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Ogle
Date:  25 Dec 1871
Classmark:  DAR 261.5: 13 (EH 88205911)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8120

To Ernst Haeckel   27 December 1871


Refers to priest who believes in "our ape-like progenitors".

EH’s work on sponges.


Describes new edition of Origin [6th]

and his work on plant crossing.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Ernst Philipp August (Ernst) Haeckel
Date:  27 Dec 1871
Classmark:  Ernst-Haeckel-Haus, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena (Bestand A Abt. 1–52/26)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8121

From A. C. Ramsay   27 December 1871


Sends description and measurements of the 18th century courtyard pavement of his house, the stones of which have sunk as a result of earthworm action [see Earthworms, pp. 192–3].

Author:  Andrew Crombie Ramsay
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  27 Dec 1871
Classmark:  DAR 176: 17
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8122

To Archibald Geikie   27 December [1871]


His admiration for the papers of AG [see 8119].

Relates his recent discovery that earthworms have brought to surface no less than 161 tons of dry earth over an area of 10 acres, thus creating the conditions for significant denudation. Would welcome information about the persistence of ridges and furrows in old pasture lands ploughed centuries ago. Do they run down the slopes or transversely? Refers to [A. C.] Ramsay, [James] Croll, Elie de Beaumont, and [Henry] Johnson.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Archibald Geikie
Date:  27 Dec [1871]
Classmark:  DAR 185: 132
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8122F

From W. E. Darwin   28 December [1871]


Sends three sheets but keeps one. Suggests looking at a curved field on the way to Orpington.

Author:  William Erasmus Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  28 Dec [1871]
Classmark:  Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 48)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8122G

From Archibald Geikie   29 December 1871


Action of earthworms and weather on surface soil of old earthworks and fortifications.

Author:  Archibald Geikie
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  29 Dec 1871
Classmark:  DAR 165: 25
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8123

From G. H. Darwin   30 December 1871


Varying depth of top-soil in a ridge-and-furrow field with a depression.

Author:  George Howard Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  30 Dec 1871
Classmark:  DAR 162: 64
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8124

From Erasmus Galton   30 December 1871


After reading Descent sends two instances of men and animals using the same muscles to express similar emotional states.

Author:  Erasmus Galton
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  30 Dec 1871
Classmark:  DAR 165: 5
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8125

To Archibald Geikie   30 December 1871



Is obliged for valuable letter [see 8123] and encloses queries about the manner of gradual obliteration of ridges or furrows in old pasture lands in various parts of England.

Gives details of his experiment to test his observations of the downward flow of worm-casts.

Refers to [Lyon] Playfair, [A. C.] Ramsay, and AG’s edition of [J. B.] Jukes, [A student’s manual of geology, 3d ed., 1872].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Archibald Geikie
Date:  30 Dec 1871
Classmark:  DAR 185: 133
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8125F

From Francis Galton   [after 22 December 1871]


Gives his account of H. M. Butler’s apparently inherited habit.

Author:  Francis Galton
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [after 22 Dec 1871]
Classmark:  DAR 105: A42–3
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8126

From R. B. Litchfield   [before 2 December 1871]



Discussion of H. Spencer’s views on the origin of music.

Author:  Richard Buckley Litchfield
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [before 2 Dec 1871]
Classmark:  DAR 89: 121–7
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8129

To W. E. Darwin   11 February [1871]


Would like precise details about pouting of English children to add to his information about children of savages.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Erasmus Darwin
Date:  11 Feb [1871]
Classmark:  Natural History Museum (General Special Collections MSS DAR 31)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8208

To Daniel Oliver   17 November 1871


Thanks for the information about the action of roots on rocks.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Daniel Oliver
Date:  17 Nov 1871
Classmark:  Christie’s, New York (dealers) (3 December 2010: Sale 2361, Lot 422)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8074F

To David Forbes   18 November [1871]


Inquires about the effect of turf covering on the rate of disintegration of rock.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  David Forbes
Date:  18 Nov [1871]
Classmark:  DAR 185: 111
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8075
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