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Darwin Correspondence Project

To James Dwight Dana   12 August [1849]

Down Farnborough Kent

Aug. 12th.

Dear Sir

I hope that you will forgive the liberty I take in addressing you, but having been in correspondence with Dr. A. Gould,1 he has advised me to write to you, on my present occupation, in order to beg, if it lies in your power, assistance. I have been for many months & shall for a year or two longer (for my poor health allows me to work but an hour or two daily) be employed on an anatomical & systematic monograph on the Cirripedia.— I have the use of Mr Cuming’s, Mr Stutchbury, the Sowerbys, British Museum, & Jardin des Plantes2 collections all placed at my disposal & many other private collections.— It is my earnest wish to make my monograph as perfect as I can.—

Can you lend me any species collected during yr. great Expedition;3 they wd be most valuable to me, whether named or not; for I describe the animal of every species, & disarticulate the shells. If you would pay me so great a compliment as to entrust any specimens to my care, I would pledge myself to return them carefully to you. Even well-known species are very interesting to me, if localities are given accurately.— I am bound to state that I require to separate the valves of one specimen of every species, but I preseve them pasted on board: characters, I find, drawn solely from the outside are quite valueless & the systematic condition of the Cirripedia is one of Chaos.— I find that by soaking I can examine the animal pretty well in dryed specimens.

I believe it is generally admitted that the Cirripedia have been much neglected, & I hope that my work may be of some small service: if you can & are willing to assist me, I shall feel truly grateful.— I trust that our common pursuits & attachment to the good Cause of Natural History will excuse my thus writing to you, & believe me with much respect for all your labours,

Yours faithfully | C. Darwin To | James D. Dana Esqe | &c &c &c


See letters to Augustus Addison Gould, 3 September [1848] and 20 August [1849].
These were probably the specimens from the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris sent by Henri Milne-Edwards.
Dana was naturalist to the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838–42. In addition to writing a report on the geology of the expedition (Dana 1849a), he was also preparing one on the Crustacea (Dana 1852–3). See letter to J. D. Dana, 8 October 1849, n. 4.


Describes his research on cirripedes: an "anatomical and systematic catalogue". Asks to borrow specimens.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Dwight Dana
Sent from
Source of text
Yale University Library: Manuscripts and Archives (Dana Family Papers (MS 164) Series 1, Box 2, folder 43)
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1250,” accessed on 22 March 2023,

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