To Charles Lyell 10 September 
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Lyell
I have been very much interested by your long letter (to be forwarded tomorrow);1 but these subject have so much gone out of my head that I have nothing to suggest.2
I cannot think much of the absence of organic remains.3 There were none in the vast gravel beds of Patagonia with sea-shells on surface; & none in the till of T. del Fuego, also with shells on surface;4 though it may have been that these till beds were formed when T. del F. was like Greenland & afterwards subsided.— Yet I confess from what little I have of late read of Greenland I have suspected what you seem now inclined to admit & what Chambers so vehemently urges.5 Is it certain that abundance of sea-living & swimming animals is any guide to shells &c living at the bottom? I cannot think that animals could live where icebergs are habitually grounded. I have remarked on this in Geolog. Transact Vol. VI p. 421,6 but I refer to this only because a statement by Wrangell seems interesting on the tranquil space of shallow sea within that where the icebergs ground.7
With respect to former state of England, the Boulder which I describe at height of 803 ft in middle of Staffordshire has always seemed to me a striking case: it is in my paper on Glaciers of N. Wales in the Phil. Mag. 3d series Vol. XXI. p. 186.—8
I pity you having to alter & modify on this great subject: I always marvel at & admire your industry & care.—9
I wish this note was better worth sending. I grieve over poor dear Glen Roy.—
Ever yours | C. Darwin
Absence of organic remains in many deposits.
Discusses presence of marine animals near icebergs.
Comments on former geological state of England.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3249,” accessed on 23 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3249