Remarks on his illness and treatment.
Discusses MS [of Coral reefs] and changes in his view of coral reefs since Journal of researches. Mentions C. G. Ehrenberg's observations on coral reefs.
My dear Lyell
Many thanks for your kind note.— I will send for the Scotsman. Dr
My M.S. is in such confusion, otherwise I am sure you should most willingly, if it had been worth your while, looked at any part you chose.—
I will briefly notice, two or three points, which will be different in my volume.— Although I believe that coral-reefs do not exist at greater depth than 20 fathoms (mentioned incidentally at p. 558, Journal) in the open oceans, it appears, contrary to what Ehrenberg has said, that in the Red Sea there are beds of coral in 25 fathoms.— The argument drawn from the fact of coral-reefs not existing at great, that there must have been subsidence in the large areas, scattered with reefs, stands firm, even should coral-reefs be hereafter found to live at much greater depths that I suppose; for I find the areas are immense in which every island is low, & of coral-formation.
My classification of reefs is somewhat modified viz
(1) Lagoon islands (or atolls, as I mean always to call them). to avoid the word lagoon, which refers only to the interior lake.
(2).‘Encircling reefs’,—of which the ‘Barrier” reefs are a mere modification & not a separate class as I have made them in my Journal
(3). Fringing reefs.
(4). Irregular reefs, springing up from shoal water, & fringing banks of sediment.—
Lastly.— I shall have only very slightly to modify my general conclusions. (p. 567 Journal).— it will chiefly consist in speaking rather less positively—& using the words alternate areas more frequently than “parallel bands” I shall not be able to throw any light on distribution of organic forms in the Pacific as I had hoped p. 568.—
I hope these remarks may be worth your reading— I send them, as other wise my conscience would not have been easing.— If I am able, I certainly will come on Saturday & will let you know in time, if I find I am too unwell—
Yours, C. D.—
- f1 554.f1The Scotsman of 15 February 1840 carried a report of an essay by William Kemp read to the Galashiels Geological Society on 31 January in which Kemp described how CD's Glen Roy theory had inspired him to look for similar terraces. Kemp found such terraces in the Eildon Hills and elsewhere and believed that his observations corroborated CD's theory that these roads or terraces were raised sea beaches.
- f2 554.f2Henry Holland was a second cousin of the Darwins. CD's Account Book (Down House MS) shows three payments of a guinea each to Dr Holland during February and March, but CD's hopes of a cure were not realised. No information (except for a passing reference in letter to Robert FitzRoy, [20 February 1840]) on either Dr Holland's diagnosis or treatment is available. See Colp 1977, p. 21 and n. 9, for a plausible conjecture based on Holland's recommended treatment of dyspepsia.
- f3 554.f3Journal of researches, pp. 539–69.
- f4 554.f4Coral reefs was not published until May 1842.
- f5 554.f5C. Lyell 1840.
- f6 554.f6Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg observed corals growing only to a depth of six fathoms (Ehrenberg 1834, p. 50), but CD was told by British naval officers of corals growing at twenty-five fathoms (Coral reefs, p. 83).
- f7 554.f7CD means that living corals do not exist at great depths.