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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Charles Lyell   [11 October 1847]1



My dear Lyell

Perhaps you would like to see the final result of the comparison of the Lochaber & Galashiels Terraces, (the latter measured by Mr Kemp):2 it is wonderful.— The upper Glen Roy terraces have been levelled by Mr Stevenson from a lower one, measured by Mr Chambers, & I am quite prepared to believe from my rude measurements that he is accurate & Macculloch quite wrong. There can, I think, then be no “cooking” of results & it is wonderful.

I would have sent Chambers’ last letter, but I thought you wd not have thought it worth the trouble of returning. His last letter is rather flippant & presumptuous: I told him that you, as well as I thought the ice-lake theory worth considering. He answers me that it is a dream & as probable as that Julius Cæsar instituted trial by Jury.

I have heard from Mr Maclaren,3 who says that as he had not inserted any abstract of Mr Milne’s paper,4 my discussion would be unintelligible to his Readers,5 but that Jameson would insert it in the Philosph. Journal;6 I have, however, written to Jameson to beg him to destroy it.

Thanks for your Casteroides paper7 wh. shall be returned with Miller.8 We have the house full of relatives

Ever yours | C. Darwin Final measurements9 Lochaber Tweed–measured by Mr Kemp Glen Gluoy —1202 1203 & Kilfinnin Upper Glen Roy—1170 none Middle Glen Roy—1090 1087 Lower Glen Gluoy— 989 987 Lower Glen Roy 87712 877. & the Spean


William Kemp of Galashiels had corresponded with CD about Scottish geology and the vitality of some ancient seeds found in a quarry near Melrose (see Correspondence vol. 2).
Charles Maclaren, editor of the Scotsman.
Milne 1847b.
CD’s letter to the Scotsman, [after 20 September 1847].
The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, edited by Robert Jameson.
Probably Hall and Wyman 1845–7, on the geological position in which the cranium of Castoroides ohioensis, an extinct, highly specialised beaver-like rodent, had been found. Lyell had recently returned from the United States and may have procured a copy of the paper during his visit.
CD copied these measurements from the table in the letter from Robert Chambers, 5 October 1847.


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

Miller, Hugh. 1847. First impressions of England and its people. London.


Discusses enclosed figures on elevation of terraces in several Scottish glens as surveyed by William Kemp and David Stevenson. Comments on Robert Chambers’ view of the terraces. Mentions a letter on the terraces, originally written for publication, which he has asked Robert Jameson [editor of the Edinburgh New Philos. J.] to destroy.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.64)
Physical description
ALS 4pp, encl 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1126,” accessed on 29 March 2023,

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