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Letter 1533

Darwin, C. R. to Dana, J. D.

27 Sept [1853]

    Summary Add

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    Admires JDD's work on Crustacea, corals, and geology.

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    Commends young John Lubbock to his attention. Hopes JDD can give him encouragement; if he can resist his "great wealth, business, and rank, he may do good work in Natural History".


Down Bromley Kent

Sept. 27th

My dear Sir

Pray forgive my troubling you: but my neighbour Mr J. Lubbock has got your work on Crustacea (as yet without the Plates) & has lent it me for a fortnight to look over; and I have experienced such great interest in many parts & have found it so suggestive towards my own Cirripedial work, that I cannot resist expressing my thanks & admiration. The Geographical discussion struck me as eminently good. The size of the work, & the necessary labour bestowed on it, is really surprising: why, if you had done nothing else whatever, it would have been a magnum opus for life.

Forgive my presuming to estimate your labours, but when I think that this work has followed your Corals & your Geology, I am really lost in astonishment at what you have done in mere labour. And then, besides the labour, so much originality in all three works! I only hope that your health has withstood such labour; it frightens me to think of it.—

You will have seen my friend & neighbour, Mr Lubbock has been working a little on the lower Crustacea: he is a remarkably nice young man, only a little above 18 years old:—if you can ever give him a little encouragement it would really be a good service, for he has great zeal, & for so young, I shd hope, has done well; & if he can resist his future career of great wealth, business & rank, may do good work in Natural History.

I hope myself to go to press in a month's time with my last vol. on the Cirripedia: I have got 30 Plates engraved, & shall be very glad to have finished it.—

Pray do not think for one moment of answering this for there is nothing to answer in it: but excuse my troubling you & believe me with the highest respect. | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 1533.f1
    Dana 1852–3; the Atlas did not appear until 1855. See letter to J. D. Dana, 25 November [1852], in which CD stated his intention to borrow John Lubbock's copy. In his reading notebook (Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 128: 6), CD recorded on 20 September 1853 having completed ‘Dana's Crustacea’.
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    f2 1533.f2
    The last section of part two of Dana 1852–3 is entitled ‘On the geographical distribution of Crustacea’. This was also printed as a separate volume in 1853. Unknown to CD, Dana had already sent him a copy of this work (Dana 1853), which arrived in Down by 10 October (letter to J. D. Dana, 10 October [1853]). This copy of Dana 1853, annotated by CD, is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
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    f3 1533.f3
    Dana prepared three reports for the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838–42: Zoophytes (1848), which included corals; Geology (1849), including his observations on the formation of coral reefs and islands; and the monograph on Crustacea (1852–3).
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    f4 1533.f4
    John Lubbock published a series of papers in 1853 on new genera and sub-genera of the Calanidae (see letter to J. D. Dana, 25 November [1852], n. 10).
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    f5 1533.f5
    CD refers to Living Cirripedia (1854), which contains thirty plates. Proofs were not ready until February 1854 (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 5, Appendix I). CD was also preparing Fossil Cirripedia (1854).
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