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Letter 692

Darwin, C. R. to Fox, W. D.

[4 Sept 1843]

    Summary Add

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    Comments on his visit to N. Wales and the evidence of glaciation, of which he feels certain.

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    His marine theory [of the parallel roads of Glen Roy] has revived after Louis Agassiz's "ice work" knocked it on the head.

Transcription

Monday Morning

My dear Fox

When I sent off the glacier paper, I was just going out & had no time to write— I hope your friend will enjoy (& I wish you were going there with him) his tour, as much as I did— it was a kind of geological novel, but your friend must have patience for he will not get a good glacial eye for a few days. Murchison & Count Keyserling rushed through North Wales the same autumn & could see nothing except the effects of rain trickling over the rocks! I cross-examined Murchison a little & evidently saw he had looked carefully at nothing. I feel certain about the glacier-effects in N. Wales.—

We are all well here, that is fairly well for such wretches, as we. Emma will be confined this month.— What glorious weather— Saturday felt as hot to me, as ever did the Brazils.—

Get up your steam, if this weather lasts, & have a ramble in Wales— its glorious scenery must do every one's heart & body good.— I wish I had energy to come to Delamere & go with you; but as you observe, you might as well ask St. Paulls. Whenever I give myself a trip, it shall be, I think, to Scotland to hunt for more parallel roads.

My marine theory for these roads was for a time knocked on the head by Agassiz ice-work—but it is now reviving again.— I dont mean, that I ever doubted, but others did (even Lyell for a time became a catastrophist) & they have now gone back to the elevation theory. The contrast between the valleys of N. Wales, which have had all their rubbish & detritus swept out by the glaciers & those of Scotland, from which the sea has slowly retired, is very striking.—

We have had a visit of some weeks from Elizabeth Wedgwood, & I think the change has done her good after her incessant nursing of her father.

Farewell— we are getting nearly finished—almost all the workmen gone & the gravel laying down on the walks— Ave Maria how the money does go— there are twice as many temptations to extravagance in the country compared with London.—

Adios | Yours | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 692.f1
    ‘Notes on the effects produced by the ancient glaciers of Caernarvonshire’, Collected papers 1: 163–71.
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    f2 692.f2
    Count Alexandr Andreevich Keyserling, with whom Murchison later made a geological expedition to Russia (see Murchison, Verneuil, and Keyserling 1845).
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    f3 692.f3
    Henrietta Emma Darwin was born on 25 September.
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