Illnesses of Mrs Horner and Emma Darwin.
Death of Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood.
Mentions work on his "Big Book" [Natural selection].
Remarks on J. A. H. de Bosquet's discovery of a Chthamalus in the Chalk.
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Lyell
I am writing to you in order to answer Lady Lyells note to Emma,—as she find writing or indeed doing anything whatever a considerable exertion.
We have been most sincerely grieved to hear such very indifferent accounts of
Last week my Aunt, M
I wish I could see you sooner than I shall, for I
I am working very steadily at my big Book;—I have found it quite impossible to publish any preliminary essay or sketch; but am doing my work as complete as my present materials allow, without waiting to perfect them. And this much acceleration I owe to you.
I know you like all cases of negative geological evidence being upset. I fancied that I was a most unwilling believer in negative evidence; but yet such negative evidence did seem to me so strong that in my Fossil Lepadidæ I have stated, giving reasons, that I did not believe there could have existed any Sessile Cirripedes during the Secondary ages. Now the other day Bosquet of Maestricht sends me a perfect drawing of a perfect Chthamalus, (a recent genus) from the Chalk! Indeed it is stretching a point to make it specifically distinct from our living British Species.— It is a genus not hitherto found in any Tertiary bed.
Farewell | Yours most truly | C. Darwin
- f1 1984.f1Dated by the reference to the death of Sarah Elizabeth (Sarah) Wedgwood (see n. 3, below).
- f2 1984.f2Anne Susan Horner, Charles Lyell's mother-in-law.
- f3 1984.f3Sarah Wedgwood died on 6 November 1856 (Emma Darwin 2: 161). She had broken her hip in an accident in September (see letter to W. D. Fox, 3 October ).
- f4 1984.f4Lyell had been working for several years on an analysis of the volcanic geology of Madeira and intended to publish a paper in collaboration with Georg Hartung (see K. M. Lyell ed. 1881, 2: 232, 282). The paper was eventually abandoned, but Hartung later published most of their results (Hartung 1864).
- f5 1984.f5Lyell had urged CD to publish a short sketch of his theory in order to establish his priority (letter from Charles Lyell, 1–2 May 1856).
- f6 1984.f6See letter to J. A. H. de Bosquet, 9 September .