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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Lonsdale  [c. June 1838]

My dear Lonsdale

I have passed my pen through the paragraph, very properly objected to by the Referee.—1

To page 5, I have added a note, which I should like to be printed if not against the rules, which I suppose it is not, as the appendage is permitted.— There is however, this difference that the note refers to a period, subsequent to the publication of the abstract of the paper.— Will you tear it up if against rules?—2

I cannot make up my mind whether the last sentence of the formerly appended page is ridiculous— it is I believe, quite true, but yet it sounds absurd. will you have the kindness to strike it ought, if it so appears to you.—3

I do not know whether the English of the paper wants improving. I cannot see anything obviously wrong.—

Yours ever truly | Chas Darwin

Monday. Morning36 Great Marlbr’ Stt.—

P.S. I will send the report Mr Austen’s paper soon.—4


CD’s paper ‘On the formation of mould’, Collected papers 1: 49–53. On the deleted passage, see letter from William Buckland to the Geological Society of London, 9 March 1838.
The note was added (see Collected papers 1: 53, n. 3). It quotes the letter from William Fullerton Lindsay-Carnegie to Charles Lyell, [14 February 1838].
The sentence was altered in the Transactions of the Geological Society, but the point remains the same as in the earlier version, i.e., worms had covered the marl put on a field eighty years ago with a layer of earth averaging twelve to thirteen inches in thickness. However, in a letter of 6 April 1844, to Gardeners’ Chronicle (Collected papers 1: 195–6) CD corrected the time to thirty years.
Robert Alfred Cloyne Austen (later Godwin-Austen) published three papers on the geology of Devonshire in the Proceedings of the Geological Society. The paper reviewed by CD was ‘On the origin of the limestones of Devonshire’ (Austen 1838). See letter to the Geological Society of London, 7 September 1838.


Responds to report of the referee [on his paper "The formation of mould"]. Strikes out a paragraph and wants to add a note. Asks WL’s advice about a sentence.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Lonsdale
Sent from
London, Gt Marlborough St, 36
Source of text
American Philosophical Society
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 417,” accessed on 18 July 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2