To Charles Lyell 18 July 
King’s Head Hotel | Sandown | Isle of Wight
My dear Lyell
I write merely to thank you for the abstract of the Etna paper.1 It seems to me a very grand contribution to our volcanic knowlede. Certainly I never expected to see E. de B. theory of slopes so completely upset.2 He must have picked out favourable cases for measurement. And such an array of facts he gives!— You have scotched & will see die, I now think, the Crater of Elevation Theory. But what vitality there is in a plausible theory!
We are established here for ten days & then go on to Shanklin which seems more amusing to one, like myself, who cannot walk— We hope much that the sea may do Etty & Lenny good. And if it does our expedition will answer, but not otherwise.
I have never half thanked you for all the extraordinary trouble & kindness you showed me about Wallace’s affair. Hooker told me what was done at Linn. Socy & I am far more than satisifed;3 & I do not think that Wallace can think my conduct unfair, in allowing you & Hooker to do whatever you thought fair.
I certainly was a little annoyed to lose all priority, but had resigned myself to my fate. I am going to prepare a longer abstract; but it is really impossible to do justice to the subject, except by giving the facts on which each conclusion is grounded & that will of course be absolutely impossible.
Your name & Hooker’s name appearing as in anyway the least interested in my work, will, I am certain have the most important bearing in leading people to consider the subject without prejudice.— I look at this as so very important that I am almost glad of Wallace’s paper for having led to this.
My dear Lyell | Yours most gratefully | Ch. Darwin
Thanks for abstract of Etna paper [Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 148 (1858): 703–86]. Never expected to see Élie de Beaumont’s theory ["craters of elevation"] so completely upset. "He must have picked out favourable cases for measurement."
More than satisfied by what was done at Linnean Society [joint reading of CD’s and Wallace’s papers: "Tendency of species to form varieties", Collected papers 2: 3–19]. Intends to prepare longer abstract.
- negative criticism of correspondent
- positive attitude/assessment
- species, speciation
- subsidence and elevation
- theory (including philosophy)
- volcanoes and earthquakes
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2309,” accessed on 30 September 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2309