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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Henry Thomas De la Beche   19 August [1847]

Down Farnborough Kent

Aug 19th

My dear Sir Henry

I did not write to thank you for your kind note, until I knew Studer’s plans. He has been here & I now find that he is too much pressed for time to visit your working party, though on his return from Wales, he will perhaps return by the great Holyhead road.

He is much obliged to you for your kind offer & would have liked very much to have accepted it.— He is going to visit the Edinburgh Forbes.—1

I am glad to hear about the very old rocks under the Silurians;2 there is something so grand & mysterious at these depths.—

With my thanks, believe me | dear Sir Henry | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin


James David Forbes, who, from 1841, had published papers on the structure of Alpine glaciers, a subject of great interest to Studer.
Following the extension of Roderick Impey Murchison’s Silurian system in 1842 to include Adam Sedgwick’s initial Cambrian system (see Secord 1986, pp. 128–30, 147) there had been much debate as to whether there were any rocks older than Murchison’s Silurian formations in Wales. By 1847, however, the Geological Survey had shown that there were ancient rocks, at the time thought to be without fossils, below these Silurian strata in north-western Wales (see Ramsay and Aveline 1848 and Jukes and Selwyn 1848).


Bernhard Studer has been at Down. Studer will not be able to join HDelaB’s Ordnance Survey working party.

CD is glad to hear about very old rocks under Silurians. "There is something grand and mysterious at these depths."

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henry Thomas De la Beche
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Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1111,” accessed on 26 May 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4