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Darwin Correspondence Project

To ?   22 June [1875–81]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

June 22.

Dear Sir

I send the photograph which you desire.2 I have published only one paper in the Royal Society, & of this I have no spare copy; it is on the Parallel Roads of Glenroy & my conclusions have proved erroneous3

Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The date range is established by the headed notepaper, which is of a sort that CD used from November 1874; he died in April 1882.
The enclosure has not been found. The image included with this letter in the Wellcome Library is an wood-engraving from 1883 based on a photograph by Leonard Darwin.
The so-called ‘parallel roads’ of Glen Roy are three terraces that run parallel to one another along the sides of Glen Roy in Lochaber, Scotland. In the nineteenth century several attempts were made to account for their formation; in a paper published in 1839 in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (‘Parallel roads of Glen Roy’), CD argued that the roads were the remains of beaches formed by the sea as the landmass of Scotland rose in graduated steps. By the time of this letter, he had been convinced that during a great Ice Age ice-flows trapped a series of lakes in the glen and that the roads represented the shorelines of three of these former lakes. See Correspondence vols. 2, 9, and 10 and Rudwick 1974.


‘Parallel roads of Glen Roy’: Observations on the parallel roads of Glen Roy, and of other parts of Lochaber in Scotland, with an attempt to prove that they are of marine origin. By Charles Darwin. [Read 7 February 1839.] Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 129: 39–81. [Shorter publications, pp. 50–88.]

Rudwick, Martin John Spencer. 1974. Darwin and Glen Roy: a ‘great failure’ in scientific method? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 5 (1974–5): 97–185.


Sends signed photo of himself.

Has published only one paper in Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society, "Parallel roads of Glen Roy" [Collected papers 1: 87–137]. His conclusions have proved erroneous.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Wellcome Collection (MS.7781/1–32 item 15)
Physical description
LS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10544,” accessed on 13 July 2024,