Requests authoritative information on erratic boulders and marks of glaciers in New Zealand, and especially in southern islands.
Down Bromley Kent Nov.
I hope you will excuse the great liberty I take in addressing you, but I trust my long
acquaintance with your honoured Father may serve me as an introduction. When on board H.M.S. Beagle I particularly attended to
glacial deposits, & I am now very much interested on this subject, & most earnestly want to know whether any distinct
phenomena of this kind have been observed in New Zealand.— When I was in Bay
of Islands I saw several large boulders of greenstone, but as I did not know the
surrounding country, & as they were in valleys & not on isolated
hillocks, I was not able to tell whether they were true erratic boulders, or merely blocks washed down by chance floods &c
&c from greater heights. Now I sh
Hoping that you will forgive my asking you to take the trouble to inform me; I remain, Dear Sir | Your's faithfully & obliged | Charles Darwin
I may add that on stating how anxious I was to obtain the foregoing information, I was encouraged by Sir Charles & Lady Lyell to take the liberty of addressing you.—
- f1 1603.f1Mantell, the son of Gideon Algernon Mantell, had settled in New Zealand in 1840. See Correspondence vol. 2, letter to G. A. Mantell, 21 [April 1843], n. 2.
- f2 1603.f2CD's interest dates from 1844. See Correspondence vol. 3, letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 December , and also Appendix III, in which CD sought information on glaciation in New Zealand as an indication of a possible former cool period during which plants and animals might have colonised the country. In November 1854 he was re-examining the geographical distribution of plants on a worldwide scale (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 November ).
- f3 1603.f3CD had visited the Bay of Islands in December 1835 (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter to Caroline Darwin, 27 December 1835).