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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. L. Mitchell   31 May [1839]

My dear Sir

I am extremely obliged to you, for your great kindness in making enquiries respecting my servant.— But by a great chance, the day after I saw you, I made an arrangement for him to work his passage out as cook to a vessel. I am very sorry you should have taken so much trouble in vain.—

I enclose the curious stone, which I take much shame to myself for not having returned earlier.—but I had stored it away so carefully, that it had utterly past from my mind. I hope before very long, however, to publish a short account of it, & the woodcut, which you permitted to be taken from it.—1

Believe me | Very truly yours | Chas. Darwin 12 Upper Gower St

May 31st.—


CD describes it as a ‘volcanic bomb of obsidian’ (Volcanic islands, p. 38 and fig. 4). It has since been identified as a flanged-button tektite produced by the impact of a meteorite (Dietz 1978, p. 345).


Dietz, Robert S. 1978. IFOs (Identified Flying Objects). Sea Frontiers, pp. 341–6.


CD’s servant [Syms Covington] will work his passage to Australia.

Returns a curious stone, of which he hopes to publish an account. [See Volcanic islands, p. 38.]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Livingstone Mitchell
Sent from
London, Upper Gower St, 12
Source of text
Mitchell Library, Sydney
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 515,” accessed on 18 November 2019,

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