Says AM's letters on glacial action not publishable since they do not give facts. Suggests readings on the subject of glaciers. Expresses doubts about AM's theory that Scandinavian glaciers brought the boulders he was studying.
Down near Bromley Kent
Your letters of the 3
Pray observe I do not pretend to say your theories are not right, but a substratum of facts ought surely to be first given. Have you read Lyell's Paper on the “Till” (you will see the reference in my American Boulder Paper) & considered his curious case of disturbed beds resting on undisturbed? Again I am sure the publication of your Loëss views in their present state would injure your reputation: it is a most curious & difficult subject. I hope you may solve it.
I think Escholtz in Kotzebue's first Voyage describes a cliff of ice with earth on it & in the Appendix to Beechey's Voyage to the Pacific there is some allusion to the same class of facts: fossil bones were found in these frozen cliffs. I suspect in these cases (according to Ermanns limit of perpetual congelation in depth) that the ice would be frozen to the undersoil.— Granting, however, that these cliffs were moving glaciers covered with earth, & vegetation surely you ought to show that this is a common occurrence, before you apply it to your Scandinavio-German glacier; & then it w
I could go on writing; but I well know that this comes very badly from me, who have dealt so largely in the sin of speculation, which I endeavour, though with little success, to check.— I have not the folly to oppose my opinion on the value of your observations, to that of the illustrious Germans, whom you mention; but at the same time every one must be individually guided by his own opinion, & my opinion is, that, though a good description of ice-action (which I daresay you are fully capable to give) on the mountains, which you have visited, would be very valuable, that your letters, in which facts are so mingled with speculation, are not fit to be published.— I know I shall appear to you unjust & unkind, & I am sorry for it.— I have, in accordance with your wish, expressed in your letter of the 2
I am very glad to hear that Plutonic Geology is making progress; I have been prepared by Keilhau's clever papers (translated in the Eding: Phil: Journal) for some great changes, but I am loth to give up the old views: the study of volcanic countries prejudices one in favour of heat-motions.— Evans Hopkins & Hopkins the Mathematician, are very different men.— I sh
Believe me | dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin
Surely your better course would be to publish your facts & views in a Swiss or German Periodical; for they would naturally excite less attention here, than there, where other observers could test & profit by them.
- f1 780.f1C. Lyell 1840b.
- f2 780.f2‘On the distribution of the erratic boulders and on the contemporaneous unstratified deposits of South America’, Collected papers 1: 145–63.
- f3 780.f3Kotzebue 1821, 1: 146–8. Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz was present when the glacier was discovered, but the description of the cliff was written by the naturalist of the expedition, Adelbert von Chamisso.
- f4 780.f4William Buckland gives an account of the fossils listed in the journal of Alexander Collie, in Beechey 1831, 2: 331–56. A different edition of this work is in the Darwin Library–CUL. The reference is to a cliff face glazed over with ice and frozen mud. Alexander Collie was the surgeon on board H.M.S. Blossom, 1825–8.
- f5 780.f5Georg Adolph Erman discovered that in eastern Siberia the ground might remain permanently frozen to depths of several hundred feet even though summer air temperatures were well above freezing. See Erman 1838.
- f6 780.f6For James David Forbes's views see letter to Adolf von Morlot, 9 August , n. 4.
- f7 780.f7Keilhau 1838–40 and 1844, in which a theory of the origin of rocks by heat-induced crystallisation is proposed.
- f8 780.f8Evan Hopkins.
- f9 780.f9William Hopkins.