skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Robert Fitch   3 December [1849]

Down Farnborough Kent

Dec. 3d


I hope that you will excuse the liberty I take in addressing you.— I am employed on a monograph on the Cirripedia, recent & fossil, for the Ray. Soc.—1 I am very anxious to see as many specimens as possible.— I have now at my house numerous specimens from Mrss Bowerbank, S. Wood, Buckman2 & James de C. Sowerby &c; & a number are on their way to me from Prof. Steentrup of Copenhagen.— Mr John Morris3 writes to me that you have a Pollicipes from the Chalk, & he thinks that you would perhaps be so kind as to entrust it to me for examination.4 If you are willing to confer so great a favour on me, I shall feel very much obliged; & in that case, might I keep your specimen for a few weeks, for I want to compare as many specimen as possible together—& I hope soon to have several more sent me.—

If you send it, I shd think, if the specimen be not very heavy, registered by Post wd. be the safest way, & I wd take the liberty of returning you the Postage— If by parcel, the direction shd. be exactly as follows C. Darwin Esq care of G. Snow Nag’s Head Borough London.—

I hope that you will forgive my having taken the liberty to ask so great a favour.—

I beg to remain | Dear Sir | Your faithful servant | Charles Darwin

Would you inform me if you know, from what part of the Chalk your specimen came?—


The Ray Society published the two volumes of Living Cirripedia (1851, 1854). The two volumes of Fossil Cirripedia (1851, 1854) were published by the Palaeontographical Society.
Searles Valentine Wood and James Buckman. In Fossil Cirripedia (1851): v, CD thanked Buckman for ‘a fine series of the valves of Pollicipes ooliticus, the most ancient Cirripede as yet known, discovered and named by him.’
John Morris, with Daniel Sharpe, had identified the fossil shells CD had collected on the Falkland Islands. See South America, p. 151, and Morris and Sharpe 1846.
Two specimens of Pollicipes from Fitch’s collection (P. angelini and P. striatus) were described by CD. Both are said to come from the Upper Chalk, Norwich.


Fossil Cirripedia (1851): A monograph on the fossil Lepadidæ, or, pedunculated cirripedes of Great Britain. By Charles Darwin. London: Palaeontographical Society. 1851.

Fossil Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the fossil Balanidæ and Verrucidæ of Great Britain. By Charles Darwin. London: Palaeontographical Society. 1854.

Living Cirripedia (1851): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Lepadidæ; or, pedunculated cirripedes. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1851.

Living Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Balanidæ (or sessile cirripedes); the Verrucidæ, etc. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1854.

Sharpe, Daniel. 1846. On slaty cleavage. [Read 2 December 1846.] Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 3 (1847): 74–105.

South America: Geological observations on South America. Being the third part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1846.


Asks to borrow specimen of Pollicipes from the Chalk.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Robert Fitch
Sent from
Source of text
Norwich Castle
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1274,” accessed on 3 July 2022,

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