To Johannes Japetus Smith Steenstrup 30 December 
Down Farnborough Kent
My dear Sir
I have delayed writing to you to give you my most cordial thanks for all your kindness, in the earnest hopes of hearing again from Prof. Forchhammer. He will have told you of the parcel never having arrived: I made all kinds of enquiries, & was assured at the Office that no parcel directed to me arrived by the Pomona in November: I yet hope that it may not, by mistake, have been sent off from Copenhagen; but no doubt Prof. Forchhammer will have made due enquiries. When I hear again, that it was really sent off, I will advertise in newspapers with large reward for its recovery.— I cannot in truth tell you how grieved I have been: your fossils would have been of the greatest interest to me, & of all the Cirripedes in the world, I most wish to dissect the Alepas squalicola, & I had written to Lovèn to beg for a specimen.1 But it is not on my account but on your account that I so deeply regret the loss of the parcel, if it prove really lost: I am assured by Mr Cuming, who receives hundreds of parcels of shells from all parts of world that he has never lost one! I will not fail to write to inform you should the parcel arrive.—
You are so kind as to offer me some northern recent species; namely some from Iceland &c, & an otion (I have a quite new & very singular genus like an Otion from a Delphinus) from the Delphinus globiceps,2 together with some remarks on their distribution; I cannot say too strongly how valuable these would be to me; & I would return them all to you. If, however, you enclose the sessile cirripedes, I shd have to keep them some time, for owing to my weak health, & partly to the cirripedes requiring very long descriptions, I make very slow progress; though I work a little every day. But I do not know, how I can venture to ask you to send me anything more after the apparent loss of the former parcel, which I fear must have contained several unique specimens. Oh how I should have liked to have seen your Anat. cretæ3 & the Alepas. I have only just commenced on the systematic part of the sessile cirripedes, & I find it impossible to even guess what Linnæus meant by Lepas balanus & balanoides;4 in fact I cannot name by descriptions the common species of the British Coasts.— I find in all our Museums, even different genera of British cirripedes made into one species, & mere varieties made into distinct species: if, therefore, you cd give me some of the commoner Northern species named, it wd be a great assistance to me.—
As far as industry goes, I will make my monograph as complete as I can; & I have large materials most generously placed at my disposal. Again let me thank you most sincerely for all the very great kindness you have shown me: I assure you I consider receiving even a letter from the Author of the volume on Alternate Generations a pleasure & honour.—5
Believe me, dear Sir, Yours very faithfully & obliged. C. Darwin.—
How anxiously I yet hope to hear that the parcel is safe; if you can endure to send me anything more; it had better be addressed to C. Darwin Esq 7. Park St Grosvenor Sqre — London my Brother’s who lives in Park St, & it is safer addressing anything there, than to my house in the country.— For a letter, however, my address is given at the head of this letter.— I am most particularly anxious to examine any species of Scalpellum, besides the S. vulgare.— Stroem described in 1788 a Lepas with 7 valves6 from the northern Gorgonia placomus; do you know this?
CD is distressed that JS’s shipment of fossils has been lost: "of all the Cirripedes in the world, I most wish to dissect the Alepas squalicola". Welcomes JS’s offer to send some northern recent species. CD finds great confusion in the current classification of cirripedes in British museums; different genera are made into one species, mere varieties are made into distinct species. If JS would give him some named common northern species, it would be of great assistance.
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Steenstrup, J. J. S.
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Copenhagen (NKS 3460 4to)
- Physical description
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1281,” accessed on 30 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1281