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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Robert Fitch   1 February [1850]

Down Farnborough Kent

Feb 1st

Dear Sir

As this is the first of Feby. I write to report progress. I have lost 5 days by my own unwellness & the illness of one of my children.— On every other day, without exception I have worked 212 hours (which the Doctors only allow me) on fossil Cirripedia. I believe I have now about 200 specimens in the house & the labour of comparing so many valves (many of which I have to clear out of matrix & repair) is great.

I have described eleven species in detail & next Wednesday I take up many specimens to be drawn.—1 I suppose I have at least 12 more species to describe, of which several belong to you.—2 I cannot work quicker, but I pledge myself to go steadily on with the fossil pedunculate species till they are finished.—

Please to observe that where there are many valves each species requires 5 or 6 pages of description.—

From the kindness of your notes, I do not believe you will object to my keeping your specimens somewhat longer—if I do not hear I shall understand I have your permission.—

Yours faithfully | C. Darwin

I forgot before to say that all your specimens shall be returned named specifically & with name of valve


CD took them to James de Carle Sowerby, who drew the figures of the fossil Lepadidae. See letter to James de Carle Sowerby, 12 February [1850].
Of Fitch’s specimens, CD described five species (two of Scalpellum and three of Pollicipes), besides several varieties of Scalpellum maximum, all from the Upper Chalk of Norwich.


Mentions illness.

Describes work on fossil cirripedes. Asks to keep specimens somewhat longer.

Letter details

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

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1299,” accessed on 14 April 2021,

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