To David Milne 20 [September 1847]1
Down Farnborough Kent
I am much obliged by your note. I returned from London on Saturday & I found there your Memoir,2 which I had not received, owing to the Porter having been out when I last sent to the Geolog. Soc.— I have read your Paper with the greatest interest & have been much struck with the novelty & importance of many of your facts. I beg to thank you for the courteous manner in which you combat me, & I plead quite guilty to your rebuke about demonstration.3 You have misunderstood my paper in a few points, but I do not doubt that is owing to its being badly & tediously written.
You will, I fear, think me very obstinate when I say that I am not in the least convinced about the Barriers:4 they remain to me as improbable as ever. But the oddest result of your paper on me (& I assure you, as far as I know myself, it is not perversity) is, that I am very much staggered in favour of the ice-lake theory of Agassiz & Buckland;5 until I read your important discovery of the outlet in Glen Glastig6 I never thought this theory at all tenable. Now it appears to me that a very good case can be made in its favour. I am not, however, as yet a believer in the ice-lake theory, but I tremble for the result.
I have had a good deal of talk with Mr Lyell on the subject, & from his advice I am going to send a letter to the Scotsman, in which I give briefly my present impression,7 (though there is not space to argue with you on such points, as I think I could argue) & indicate which points strike me as requiring further investigation with respect, chiefly, to the ice-lake theory, so that you will not care about it. If my letter be inserted I will send you a copy, & with my best thanks for your valuable & most interesting Memoir
I beg to remain | dear Sir | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin D. Milne Esqe
P.S. | Some facts, mentioned in my Geology of S. America, p. 24, with regard to the shoaling of the deep fiords of T. del Fuego, near their Mouths, & which I have remarked would tend, with a little elevation to convert such fiords into lakes with a great mound-like barrier of detritus at their mouths, might, possibly, have been of use to you, with regard to the lakes of Glen Roy.
Comments on paper by DM ["On the parallel roads of Lochaber", (1847) Trans. R. Soc. Edinburgh 16 (1849): 395–418]. "I am not in the least convinced about the Barriers … [but] I am very much staggered in favour of the ice-lake theory of Agassiz & [William] Buckland." Will "send a letter to the Scotsman, in which I give briefly my present impression".
Cites facts mentioned in South America possibly of use to DM.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1120,” accessed on 24 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1120