To John Phillips 14 February 1
Down Farnborough Kent
My dear Sir
I hope that you will excuse my giving you a little trouble. In Mr Hopkins paper on Lake District,2 he alludes to a statement of your regarding some erratic boulders which have come from a lower level to their present position.3 Will you kindly give me the reference in any of your works. Living in the country it would cost me some search to find out. I am going to write a little paper on this subject4 & I want to get all the cases possible in some detail. I believe I have got the true explanation (I know that you will shake your head incredulously) of this curious phenomenon, of erratics travelling from their parent rock at a low level to a higher position.
Since you wrote your account (in whichever work it may be inserted) of the boulders so situated in Yorkshire, have you made any further observations on this head, & in that case would you kindly communicate with me. Is the difference of level accurately or only approximately ascertained? Mr Milne has described some similar facts near Edinburgh,5 & Hitchcock some striking cases in N. America.6 I observed, though without sufficient care the same thing in Glen Roy & the phenomenon has occasionally haunted me ever since.7
Do you know of any other published cases?
I feel sure that your kindness will lead you to forgive this trouble.
Pray believe me, my dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin
P.S. I am employed in drawing up some Geological instructions, at the desire of Sir J. Herschel for the Admiralty Volume. Do you happen to have any suggestions, or special points of enquiry, likely to suit Naval Expeditions; I shd be very grateful for such.—
Asks for the reference in which JP states that some erratic boulders came from a lower to a higher level. CD is writing a paper ["Transportal of erratic boulders", Collected papers 1: 218–26] in which he believes he has the true explanation. Would like as many instances, with details, as possible.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1157,” accessed on 22 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1157