To William Henry Smyth 7 August 
12 Upper Gower St
I hope you will excuse the liberty I take in addressing you, after having only once had the pleasure of meeting you.
I am engaged in drawing up an account of the Coral formations of the Pacific & Indian seas, and I observe it is said in Krusentern’s memoir, that you were in the Cornwallis, when Smyth’s Isld in the Northern Pacific was discovered.—1 I am particularly anxious to know, whether the low islets & reefs, of which the group is composed, form a ring surrounding a lagoon, like so many other islds in the Pacific, and the atolls in the Indian ocean:—or, if it has not a lagoon, then is one central island of greater height, & apparently of different constitution from the other low islets on the reef, & surrounded by a channel of deepish water:—in short whether it has any peculiar structure.—2 As I cannot obtain this information from any other quarter, if you would spare me a few minutes & send me an answer, I should feel extremely obliged and I trust you will excuse my having ventured so far to trouble you.—
Believe me dear Sir | Yours respectfully | Chas. Darwin 12 Upper Gower St
Aug 7th —
Asks for details of Smyth’s Island discovered by WHS – particularly whether the islets form a ring surrounding a lagoon. [See Coral reefs, p. 158].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 530,” accessed on 9 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-530