To Richard Owen [4 February 1848]1
Down Farnborough Kent
My dear Owen
To my great dismay, there arrived this morning a request from Ld Auckland,2 & Sir J. Herschel to me to draw up some Geological Instructions.3 When men like Herschel & yourself give up your time to the task, I could not of course refuse, when asked. My object in all this is to ask you, whether you do not think the remarks on Coral Reefs, which I sent you, appertain more properly to Geology than to zoology. It struck me so, when I was writing them, but I had not at that time any idea of the plan or that it included Geology. I shall have to treat on Subsidence generally, & I shd think my remarks would most naturally follow these; but if you think they would be better under Zoology, I can refer to them.4
I so hope that you & Mrs Owen will be able to come to us tomorrow week; it will be a real pleasure to us & you will lose very little time.
We shall dine at 7 oclock on Saturday & your best plan of coming here will be to start by the Croydon Railway from London Bridge (do not be too late for the Train) at 4o 45’ & stop at Sydenham Station; & thence take a Fly here. Forbes & hope Bell & Ramsay (as well as the Lyells earlier in the day) will come by the same 4o 45’ Train & you had better take a 2 horse Fly together, for it is a long hilly stage of 10 miles. There is, a good fly-place close to Station over the Bridge.— Do come; it will do you good, or if it does not, it will do me—
Ever yours | C. Darwin
P.S. | I have just received your note with sincere grief.— You need not leave the College on till past 4 oclock & you might start early back on Monday; but I fear there is no hope. Should you take heart of grace, let me have a line.5
If you decide to return me the Coral M.S. please send it pretty soon.—
Has been invited to contribute geological instructions [to J. F. W. Herschel, ed., Manual of scientific enquiry (1849); Collected papers 1: 227–50]. Asks RO whether remarks on coral reefs appertain to geology rather than zoology.
Looks forward to visit by Owens.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1150,” accessed on 28 October 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1150