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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Robert Fitch   6 January [1850]

Down Farnborough Kent

Jan 6th

Dear Sir

If you will have now the kindness to lend me your Pollicipes,1 I shd be very much obliged.— I have given up in despair the lot from Copenhagen;2 but I now have 40 or 50 specimens here. I hope that you will allow me to keep your specimen a week for I really shall hardly be able to compare all my specimens under this time.—

If you have any separate valves3 & wd be pleased to entrust them to me, I shd be grateful for the assistance.

I will immediately on receipt of the specimen acknowledge its arrival. & return stamps for its registry &c.—

I beg to remain | Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | C. Darwin


Two species of Pollicipes, P. striatus and P. fallax, from Fitch’s collection are described in Fossil Cirripedia (1851): 70–1 and 75–6. In the preface, CD thanked Fitch for ‘his unrivalled collection of Cirripedia from the Upper Chalk of Norwich’ (p. v). For a description of the collection and biographical details about Fitch, see Trenn 1974.
Since the valves of cirripedes are linked only by tissue that easily decays, most fossil specimens are preserved as single valves. The Pollicipes specimens in Fitch’s collection were rare ones in which all, or nearly all, of the valves were co-embedded. See CD’s paper on ‘British fossil Lepadidae’ (Collected papers 1: 251–2) and Trenn 1974, pp. 471, 477, and 478 (fig. 3).


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

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

Trenn, Thaddeus J. 1974. Charles Darwin, fossil cirripedes, and Robert Fitch: presenting sixteen hitherto unpublished Darwin letters of 1849 to 1851. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 118: 471–91.


Asks to borrow some more cirripede specimens.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Robert Fitch
Sent from
Source of text
Norwich Castle
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1288,” accessed on 18 September 2023,

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