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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. de C. Sowerby   [12 or 19 August 1850]

Down Farnborough | Kent


My dear Sir

I am sorry to trouble you, but I have received some specimens, which I dare not name without seeing the scutum of Pollicipes rigidus;1 will you please send it me as soon as you can, enclosed in a tin or wooden little Box by Post; on no account, please put it in paste-board box; I will return stamps for posting.—when the specimen itself is returned.

I have been disappointed in not having received anything from you.— Please remember how time slips by.— I am plagued to return specimens & only the other day I was asked by Mr Bowerbank on part of Pal. Soc. what progress I was making & I could only answer by stating that everything depended on you.— All this is very disagreeable to me & I do earnestly hope that you will endeavour to make more progress:2 I know not what to say to those gentlemen, whose specimens I borrowed for only a few weeks.—

Believe me | Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin


In order to determine whether a specimen received from William Harris was a new species, CD needed to examine Pollicipes rigidus, which it closely resembled (see Fossil Cirripedia (1851): 43).
J. de C. Sowerby’s slow progress was no doubt the reason for CD’s employing George Brettingham Sowerby Jr to do the drawings for Fossil Cirripedia (1854).


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.


CD asks for the return of a specimen [to be used for illustration in Fossil Cirripedia (Lepadidae)], so he can do some identifying.

J. S. Bowerbank has again asked on behalf of the Palaeontographical Society what progress has been made.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James de Carle Sowerby
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1346,” accessed on 12 May 2021,

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