The [Megatherium] fossils were extremely interesting and were shown at the Geological Section of the BAAS meeting at Cambridge .
The plants delight him; will work them out with W. J. Hooker.
CD should send every fossil he can find; minute insects will be nearly all new. Delighted with descriptions of the few animals alluded to.
My dear Darwin,
I am afraid that I have been rather negligent in not writing sooner to announce the
arrival of your last Cargo which came safe to hand excepting a few articles in the Cask
of Spirits which are spoiled, owing to the spirit having escaped thro' the
bung-hole— I am now in possession of your letter of last April, which has
stirred me up to send you off a few books which I thought might interest you, &
I have (or rather shall) write to your Brother to recommend one or two
more— The fossil portions of the Megatherium turned out to be extremely
interesting as serving to illustrate certain parts of the animal which the specimens
formerly received in this country & in France had failed to do. Buckland
& Clift exhibited them at the Geological Section (what
this means you will learn from the Report I send you)— & I have just received a letter from Clift requesting me to forward the
whole to him, that he may pick them out carefully repair them, get them figured,
& return them to me with a description of what they are & how far they
serve to illustrate the ostuology of the Great Beast— This I shall do in
another week when I return again to Cambridge—for I am staying at present at
Ely & am here merely on Saturday for L. Jenyn's duty tomorrow he having
been unwell & advised not to take duty at present— I have popped the
various animals that were in the Keg into fresh spirits in jars & placed them in
my cellar— The more delicate things as insects, skins &c. I keep at my
own house, with the precaution of putting camphor into the boxes— The plants
delight me exceedingly, tho' I have not yet made them out—but with Hooker's
work & help I hope to do so before long— I
never thought of putting your name down to a Tablet we have been erecting to poor
Ramsay's memory in Jesus Chapel till lately— As the list has not yet appeared
I have ventured to do so for 21/-- I propose having an engraving (I think I told you)
from an excellent likeness which Miss Jenyns made for me—& this I
shall let the subscribers to the Tablet have at whatever the cost price may be, about
10/ or 12/-- probably— I am sure from your respect for R's memory I have not
done wrong in putting down your name— The comet you speak of is
expected in 1835, according to calculation—but it seems very doubtful
whether the calculation is correct— The papers of course talk nonsense about
it, but it is really something out of the ordinary cometical occurrences— M
Believe me | affect
- f1 213.f1William Buckland was deputy chairman of the Geological Section of the 1833 British Association meeting; William Clift was Curator of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons. The Report of the 1833 meeting makes no mention of CD's Megatherium bones.
- f2 213.f2The Report of the British Association meeting of 1832 at Oxford. In 1832 Buckland addressed the General Meeting on the Megatherium bones found by Woodbine Parish (see Buckland 1832).
- f3 213.f3William Jackson Hooker, then Regius Professor of Botany at Glasgow. Henslow described only some specimens collected later in the voyage: new species of Galápagos cacti (Henslow 1837) and the plants from the Keeling Islands (Henslow 1838). It was left to Joseph Dalton Hooker (William Jackson Hooker's son) to describe the collections from the Falkland Islands and Tierra del Fuego (Hooker 1844--7) and later the Galápagos flora (Hooker 1846a and 1846b). Most of the collection, however, remained unclassified until recently when Duncan M. Porter undertook to study it anew. For his account of the history of the work on CD's botanical specimens and the rediscovery of his notes, see Porter 1980a, 1981, and 1982.
- f4 213.f4Halley's Comet appeared, as predicted, in 1835.
- f5 213.f5Mrs William Clark and Mrs Robert Willis.
- f6 213.f6Henslow had written on the part of the cover reserved for the address.