skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To A. C. Ramsay   3 February [1869]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Feb. 3d

Dear Ramsay

I am very much obliged for your note.— You did send me a copy, & I read it with greatest interest, & I marked the very discussion to which you refer.2 I had already put you, of course, at the head of the subaerial denudationists, but I am ashamed to say that from having read Mr Whittaker’s excellent article on escapement subsequently to yours, I confounded the facts together & thought that Mr Whittaker had first brought this most important & to my mind quite conclusive evidence to bear.3 Now I shall be able to rectify this.— I struck out in 2d or 3d Edit. all the rubbish which I wrote about the weald, & now I am adding a paragraph on the importance of sub-aerial denudation.—4

Believe me | Dear Ramsay | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from A. C. Ramsay, 2 February 1869.
CD refers to the second edition of The physical geology and geography of Great Britain (Ramsay 1864). CD’s copy of this edition has not been found, but he refers to pp. 63–6 (see letter from A. C. Ramsay, 2 February 1869 and n. 2).
CD refers to William Whitaker’s article ‘On subaërial denudation, and on cliffs and escarpments of the chalk and lower tertiary beds’ (Whitaker 1867). Two offprints of the article, one annotated, are in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
See letter from A. C. Ramsay, 2 February 1869 and n. 1. In Origin 5th ed., pp. 349–52, CD discussed the evidence for subaerial denudation and cited both Ramsay and Whitaker for observations on the escarpment in the Wealden district.


Received and read ACR’s Physical geology. Places him at head of the subaeria denudationists. Unfortunately CD confounded William Whitaker’s article with ACR’s views and gave Whitaker credit for first producing the evidence. Will rectify it now. Has eliminated the rubbish he wrote on the Weald and will add a paragraph on importance of subaerial denudation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Andrew Crombie Ramsay
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.9: 4 (EH 88205977)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6598,” accessed on 20 July 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17