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Letter 1313

Darwin, C. R. to Fitch, Robert

17 Mar [1850]

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    Describes progress of cirripede research. Palaeontographical Society will publish monograph [Fossil Cirripedia].

Transcription

Down Farnborough Kent

March 17th

My dear Sir

I write only to say that I have now described all your specimens, & have merely to go over them a second time. I have heard from Mr Sowerby that about half are figured & I shall in a week or 10 days time take up the remainder to be figured.— I think it is since I last wrote to you, that the Palæontographical Society has agreed to publish my monograph on the fossil species.—

Your materials have indeed been of extreme value to me.— I assure you deliberately that the length of time I have detained your specimens has not been caused by idleness.—

I remain with thanks | Yours faithfully | C. Darwin

This scrawl obviously requires no answer.—

P.S. I have opened my note especially to thank you for having sent me so many specimens; had it not been for these, I shd in the species last described by me fallen into some great errors— I suppose in this weather you have not been collecting, but if you have lately procured even any fragments & do not grudge the trouble of sending me so very many parcels I have no doubt they wd aid me.— It is certain that many valves remain to be found in chalk of Norwich.—

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    f1 1313.f1
    CD probably refers to his having been saved from making many separate species of Scalpellum because Fitch's specimens demonstrated that they were only varieties of S. maximum (see Fossil Cirripedia (1851): 26–7). CD stated that he was forced to this conclusion because ‘the forms so blend together with very short intervals, that I cannot specifically separate them.’ Had it not been for the intermediate forms of valves, he said, he would ‘certainly have considered them quite distinct’.
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