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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Bowerbank   19 January [1850]

Down Farnborough | Kent

Jan 19th.

My dear Sir

In accordance with your permission, I have cleared one of the large valves, which can be now drawn. The four little embedded pieces, now cleared & separated, consist of (1) a fragment of a scutum, (2) a perfect upper latus (3d) a perfect lower latus 4th. a broken do.—1

Your specimen is certainly now a hundred–fold more instructive; & the 3 valves which were in their nearly proper position have not been in the least displaced.

Many thanks for offer of sessile cirripedes, but I am not nearly ready for them yet.—2

Forbes3 wrote to me that he understood that you had some valves from the Gault of Pollicipes besides those sent to me; if you have & wd entrust them to me, I shd be particularly thankful, as I want to see as many as possible.— Mr Fitch has sent me some beautiful specimens for description.—

I fully thought I had asked you in my former note, & if I did not it was an accidental omission which I am very sorry to say will entail another note on you.— It is to ask whether you will permit me to have some of your specimens drawn by Mr J. Sowerby: I intend to have all the fossils (if I get permission), which have any good characters, drawn.—

With respect to publication of the fossils, I have not yet thought: your mentioning the Palæont. Soc. makes me think whether my work wd suit them.4 I hope immediately to receive a lot of fossils from Copenhagen-chalk, named by Beck5 & Steenstrup; which will be very valuable for comparison with the British specimens.— Will you give me your idea about Palæont. Soc.— I suppose, even if you thought it would suit, I had better wait till I have done the Sessile cirripedes, as the whole will of course be only a small Part.—

Pray forgive this trouble. & believe me. Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin


According to Trenn 1974, p. 480 n. 87, this is probably the co-embedded specimen of Pollicipes glaber from the Chalk described in Fossil Cirripedia (1851): 62 and Tab. III, fig. 10a.
CD began systematic descriptions of the sessile Cirripedia on 28 April 1850 (see ‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix I).
Edward Forbes.
Bowerbank had initiated in 1847 the establishment of the Palaeontographical Society for the purpose of publishing undescribed British fossils (DNB).
Henrick Henricksen Beck.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

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.


Describes result of his dissection of one of JSB’s cirripede specimens, "now a hundred fold more instructive". Awaits fossils from Copenhagen Chalk for comparison with British specimens. Asks permission for J. de C. Sowerby to draw specimens.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Scott Bowerbank
Sent from
Source of text
Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1294,” accessed on 8 March 2021,

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