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 8 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1150