Asks whether the blind cave animals described by B. Silliman Jr [Am. J. Sci. 2d ser. 11 (1851): 332–9] belong to genera found only on the American continent.
On geographical distribution of Crustacea, CD asks whether northern genera sent species to the Southern Hemisphere or did southern genera send species north?
Does he know of any author who has described fossil trees in South Shetland Islands?
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Sir
I want to beg one more favour to the many which formerly you have conferred on me. I am extremely much interested in regard to the blind cave
animals, described some time since in your Journal by Prof. Silliman
Are the specimens at Newhaven? and if so could you get any good entomologist to look at
the insects— What I want to know is, whether any of the Crustacea, spiders,
insects (flies beetles, crickets &c) & Fish belong to the American
type (Has not Agassiz noticed the Fish?) ie to genera or sections of genera, found only on the American
continent.— I sh
Secondly I have been rereading with renewed interest your memoir on geograph. Distrib.
of Crustacea & I want to ask a question on this head:
Botanists have remarked on several cases in which northern temperate & arctic
genera have sent the same or representative species into corresponding zones of
S. hemisphere.— You give several similar & striking cases;
but I do not feel sure from my ignorance that these genera can be called from their
general affinities & range strictly northern genera. How is this? Might they not
be called southern genera, which have sent species to the North: I ask this because in
plants, it is very remarkable as observed by
Lastly can you remember whether any author (I think M
Now I am sure I have put your kindness to a severe proof, & can only beg to be
forgiven.— If you have a few minutes to spare, I sh
As for myself I live a very quiet & retired life, with a large set of very happy & good children round me, & do daily 3 or 4 hours work at Natural History; for more than which I have not, & shall never have, strength.— Our neighbour J. Lubbock, has married a young & pretty wife, & a very young couple they are reckoned in this country, & I think & hope he will be as happy as he deserves: he works away during the very little leisure which he has, at his Entomostraca, & if he could give himself up to Nat. History, he would make a capital Naturalist.
Pray believe me, my dear Sir, with every good wish & sincere respect. | Yours very truly | Ch. Darwin
I have directed this to care of Prof. Silliman; as I heard some time since that you were Professor of Geology at some new place.
- f1 1925.f1Dated from Dana's reply (see letter from J. D. Dana, 8 September 1856).
- f2 1925.f2CD and Dana had corresponded since 1849 about Cirripedia and the geological observations they had made on coral islands and Australia.
- f3 1925.f3Silliman 1851. Benjamin Silliman Jr, Dana's brother-in-law, was co-editor with Dana of the American Journal of Science and Arts, usually called ‘Silliman's Journal’ after its founder, the elder Benjamin Silliman.
- f4 1925.f4CD had previously asked Dana much the same question about the cave fauna (see Correspondence vol. 5, letter to J. D. Dana, 8 May ). For Dana's opinion, see letter from J. D. Dana, 8 September 1856. See also letter from J. O. Westwood, 23 November 1856, in which John Obadiah Westwood discussed the insect genera found in the cave.
- f5 1925.f5Agassiz 1851. Louis Agassiz had written to Benjamin Silliman that he considered the fish ‘an aberrant type of my family of Cyprinodonts’ (Agassiz 1851, p. 127).
- f6 1925.f6Dana 1853. CD's copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
- f7 1925.f7Dana's answer to this query has not been found, but see letter to J. D. Dana, 29 September .
- f8 1925.f8James Eights had collected in the Antarctic and published several papers on the marine Crustacea of the South Shetland Islands. He was primarily a palaeontologist. Dana evidently replied in some detail since there is a note made by CD, along with a reference to Eights 1856, in the manuscript of his species book (see Natural selection, p. 579 n. 3) reminding him to look at ‘Dana's letter on Mr. Eights’. The letter was probably part of the letter from J. D. Dana, 8 September 1856, which is now incomplete.
- f9 1925.f9William Hallowes Miller was professor of mineralogy at Cambridge University. CD may be referring to the Philosophical Club dinner of 19 June that both he and Miller attended (Royal Society Philosophical Club minutes).
- f10 1925.f10CD had previously told Dana about John Lubbock's work on Entomostraca (see Correspondence vol. 5, letter to J. D. Dana, 27 September ). Lubbock had married on 10 April 1856 (see letter to John Lubbock, 24 April ).
- f11 1925.f11Dana had not become professor of geology at any ‘new place’ but had, in 1855, finally taken up the duties of the Yale professorship in natural history to which he had been appointed in 1849 when the elder Benjamin Silliman retired (DAB).