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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Henri Milne-Edwards   2 March [1849]1

Down Farnborough Kent

March 2d

My Dear [Sir]

My health [has] been so bad all this winter that I [have been] advised to go [to] Malvern [for one] or two months & consequently [cannot come to] Paris this spring.—2 I am however not in the least less anxious to accept your truly generous offer of assistance in [identific]ations.3 The delay in my coming will [at least be] advantageous in one respect, f[or I fin]d the [species are] most difficult to [distinguish] by only [external] characters & [therefore] the more perfectly I [know the class the more] I will profit by my visit to the Jardin des [Plantes].4 I suppose from [[illeg] delayed that I shall not come [for six] or seven months. I have already lost four to five months [of my time [illeg] donate] some [new] [genus] or species to the Museum.—5

[As you thought] it most useful to [do, depositing] one species of each genus. You would confer a great favour on me if you could send me a single specimen of the Alepas parasite of which a large group is figured in the Voyages of the Astrolabe & of the Coquille.6 If you care to thus far oblige me, you might send it (to avoid custom-house opening it) by some friend in a very little bottle, directed to me either at “7 Park St. Grosvenor Sqr7 or to the “Geological Soc: Somerset House.” Pray do not waste your time in answering this letter. By working every day on which I could, I have made some progress & I hope that my work may meet hereafter with your approval, which I should prize more than that of any man’s in Europe.—

With my thanks | I remain, with much respect | Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter, the letter to Henri Milne-Edwards, 1 September [1848], and the letter to William Thompson, [1 March 1849] (Correspondence vol. 4).
CD went to Malvern for the water cure from 10 March to 30 June 1849 (see Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix I).
The letter containing Milne-Edwards’s offer has not been found; however, see Correspondence vol. 4, letter to Henri Milne-Edwards, 1 September [1848]. CD was working on his monograph on cirripedes (Lepadidae; Living Cirripedia (1851)). Milne-Edwards was in charge of the collection of Crustacea at the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, and had written a monograph on Crustacea (Milne-Edwards 1834–40).
CD did not visit the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.
For cirripede species newly described by CD, see Living Cirripedia (1854), pp. 611–40.
CD refers to Alepas parasita, to Quoy and Gaimard 1830[–4] (Voyage de découvertes de l’Astrolabe: Zoologie), and to Duperrey, 1825–30 (Voyage autour du monde … sur la corvette … La Coquille). See also Correspondence vol. 4, letter to Henri Milne-Edwards, 1 September [1848]. For CD’s diagnosis of A. parasita, see Living Cirripedia (1851), pp. 163–5.
Seven Park Street was the house of CD’s brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin (see Correspondence vol. 3, letter to J. D. Forbes, 13 [November 1844]).


CD is obliged to put off his journey to Paris because of ill-health, but this will give CD more time to study the specimens.

Values HM-E’s opinion on CD’s barnacle work more than any man’s in Europe.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henri Milne-Edwards
Sent from
Source of text
Piasa SA, Paris, 2008
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1232F,” accessed on 8 August 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18 (Supplement)