To Robert Fitch 3 November 
Down Farnborough Kent
My dear Sir
Far from thinking your note & question unreasonable, I have marvelled at your goodnature, I should say kindness, in not having written long ago to demand why your specimens have been kept so long.— I pledge you my honour that it has not been directly or indirectly anyways my fault.— I have done all in my power to urge on Mr Sowerby to complete the engravings, & so have some of the members of the Council of the Pal. Soc.— I know Mr S. has made some progress, & I hope he has made much. No one can be so anxious as I am for many reasons to finish the fossil Part of the Cirripedia. It is most provoking to me to reflect that I have detained so many specimens so long from their owners, some I am ashamed to say for twice as long as I have had yours. I do hope you will let Mr S. keep the specimens till he has completed the engravings— so important has your collection been to me, that the withdrawal would quite destroy my monograph. The only conceivable cause of Mr S. monstrous delays must have been some previous engagements, & the routine of the Botanic Garden.1 I do not doubt but that he must complete his engagements before long, & then your specimens shall be immediately returned. I have written to him repeatedly, but I will do so again.—
When I last wrote to you, I had thought, that er’e this time I shd certainly have returned you your most interesting collection.—
Pray believe me that I have been truly grieved at all this delay & allow me to trespass a little longer on your kindness.
Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin
Explains that fossil cirripede specimens have not been returned because J. de C. Sowerby has been monstrously delayed with the engravings. Members of Palaeontographical Society have urged Sowerby to complete task.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1366,” accessed on 17 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1366