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Darwin Correspondence Project


To John Phillips1   [November 1840]

I enclose you a copy of my paper on Earthquakes.—2 I have grown older, since I wrote it, & therefore, I hope, a little wiser, & as a consequence set less value on theoretical reasoning in geology—but I even yet think there is some weight in the argument, respecting the necessary slow elevation of mountain chains, which have protuberant axes of Plutonic rock.— Should you read my paper, & have at any future time, (although I well know how much your time must be occupied) leisure to tell me what you think of it, I should feel very great interest in hearing from you—

Believe me my dear Sir | Your’s most truly | Chas. Darwin


The letter is addressed to ‘Prof. Phillips | St Mary’s Lodge | York’.
‘On the connexion of certain volcanic phenomena’, Collected papers 1: 53–86. The paper (read 7 March 1838) describes ‘the intimate connexion between the volcanic and elevatory forces’ and from that went on to ‘deduce … certain inferences regarding the slow formation of mountain chains’ (ibid. p. 54).

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Phillips, John
Sent from
Physical description


Sends his paper on earthquakes [(1840), Collected papers 1: 53–86]. Now sets less value on theoretical reasoning in geology than when he wrote it.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 578,” accessed on 13 February 2016,