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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).


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.

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Phillips, John
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (22)
Physical description
1p inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 578,” accessed on 21 October 2016,