skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Charles Lyell   13 February 1837

16 Hart Street, London

Feb. 13. 1837

Dear Darwin

As I am just revising what I have said in my Anniversary Address, of you & your new Llama, Armadillos, gigantic rodents, & other glorious additions to the Menagerie of that new continent, which was heaved up,à un seul jet, Anno mundi 1656;1 it strikes me as right to tell you, to come up by all means on the 17th. instt & be at the G. S. Somerset House, at 1 ock. to ballot & hear my speech, & see the learned. I could think of nothing for days after your lesson on coral reefs, but of the tops of submerged continents.

It is all true, but do not flatter yourself that you will be believed, till you are growing bald, like me with hard work, & vexation at the incredulity of the world. The Anniversary dinner at which you must come & support Whewell,2 will be at 6 ok. I presume that you have not had leisure like a certain Prebend at Norwich,3 to have what he terms “that beastly-swinish disease” the influenza.

Your lines of Elevation & subsidence will deservedly get you as great a name as De Beaumont’s parallel Elevations,4 & yours are true, which is more than can be said of his.

Yours most faithfully | Chas Lyell

Footnotes

A sarcastic reference to extremist diluvialists in geology who believed in the Noachian flood. According to Bishop Ussher’s chronology, the year 1656 after the creation in 4004 B.C. would be 2348 B.C. when land emerged after the deluge.
William Whewell was elected President of the Geological Society at the meeting.
Adam Sedgwick.
Jean Baptiste Armand Louis Léonce Élie de Beaumont maintained that parallel mountain chains had been simultaneously elevated.

Summary

"I could think of nothing for days after your lesson on coral reefs, but of the top of submerged continents. It is all true, but do not flatter youself that you will be believed, till you are growing bald, like me, with hard work & vexation at the incredulity in the world."

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-343
From
Lyell, Charles
To
Darwin, C. R.
Sent from
unstated
Source of text
Lady Lyell

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 343,” accessed on 6 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-343

letter