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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Charles Lyell   [7 March 1847]

Down Farnborough Kent


My dear Lyell

I returned home on Friday night & found here your present of your work;1 I am very much obliged for it & now that I have it, I may say I am extremely glad that it is not merely a loan, as there is, I can perceive, much new which I shall want to refer to.— You have, not, however, sent the list of the new parts, as you promised, which I shd be glad of,2 as I have not time at present to read it through; amongst other reasons Stokes3 having lent me the Annales des Sc. in 30 vols, which I must soon wade through.—4

I suppose you have commenced in earnest on your American work;5 I had hoped to have seen you in passing through London but I had a good deal to do, & have lately had much unwellness.— — I got R. Chambers to give me a sketch of Milne’s Glen Roy views6 & I have reread my paper,7 & am now, that I have heard what is to be said, not even staggered. It is provoking & humiliating to find that Chambers not only had not read with any care my paper on this subject or even looked at the coloured map, so that the new shelf, described by me,8 had not been searched for, & my arguments & facts of detail not in the least attended to.— I entirely gave up the ghost & was quite chicken-hearted at the Geolog. Soc., till you reassured me, & reminded me of the main facts in the whole case.—

I heartily hope the new Edit. of the Principles will have a large sale; my S. America has had an enormous sale according to my notions, 100 copies having been sold. By the way if you will send me the list of your additions, I will copy it (not lending it to anyone) & return the original to you.

My visit to Shrewsbury was rather a melancholy one, for though I found my Father better, he is much changed bodily during the last six months.

Farewell, my dear Lyell, with many thanks for your present. Yours ever | C. Darwin


C. Lyell 1847. CD’s copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
Tipped into CD’s copy of C. Lyell 1847 is a manuscript list of page numbers, in an unknown hand. The list is headed, ‘Additions & Alterations Principles of Geology 7th. Edn.’ in Lyell’s hand.
In CD’s reading notebook (DAR 119; Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV), he recorded on 25 December 1845: Annales des Sciences Nat Tom 1. to 30 (1s t series) —— 3d. series. Bot & Zoolog. to end of Tom VI.— On 3 April 1847, he wrote: ‘Annal. des Sc. Nat: Second Series, *all Tom I [interl] to Tom. XX’ (DAR 119; Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV). The abstracts that CD made of his reading of these volumes are in DAR 72 and 74.
C. Lyell 1849, an account of Lyell’s second visit to the United States of America during 1845 and 1846.
David Milne had read the first part of a paper to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 1 March 1847 in which he argued that the roads marked the ancient beaches of a lake that had formed after detritus blocked the foot of Glen Roy (Milne 1847b).
CD refers to a shelf near the hamlet of Kilfinnin (see Collected papers 1: 92, 94–5).


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Lyell, Charles. 1847. Principles of geology; or, the modern changes of the earth and its inhabitants considered as illustrative of geology. 7th ed. London. [Vols. 4,9]

Lyell, Charles. 1849. A second visit to the United States of North America. 2 vols. London. [Vols. 4,7]

‘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.]


Has received copy of CL’s Principles [7th ed.].

Comments on reading Annales des sciences naturelles.

David Milne’s and Robert Chambers’ views on Glen Roy.

Mentions sales of South America.

Describes visit to his father at Shrewsbury.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.59)
Physical description
ALS 3pp & C

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1070,” accessed on 27 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4