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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. A. H. de Bosquet   17 July 1853

Down, Bromley, Kent1

July 17, 1853.

Dear and much respected Sir

I received your last valuable letter only the day before leaving home for a month with my whole family for the sea-side, and therefore could not give up time enough to consider the several points in your letter. But in truth you seem to have so thoroughly gone into the subject of Cirripedes, that any opinion of yours is quite as good, if not better, than mine. I had time to compare carefully the valve you were so good as to send me, with the rostro-lateral compartment of Sc. rutilum,2 and you are perfectly right there is a very close resemblance between them: that this valve is the rostro -lateral compartment of Sc. rutilum I think there can be hardly any doubt, for the manner in which the several valves fitted, and especially from its very considerable curvature. I am quite prepared to be proved wrong about the number of the valves in Sc. quadratum:3 but when I concluded that there were only 3 pairs of Lateral valves, my attention had been called by Mr. Sowerby’s figures of Mr. Dixon’s specimen,4 to the possibility or probability of there being 4 pairs and yet I thought that there were only 3 pairs: it should not be forgotten that in Sc. Peronii5 there are certainly only 3 pairs: yet upon the whole, after your discoveries, I agree in the probability of there being in Sc. quadratum 4 pairs. I will only further remark that in Pollicipes, which is so closely allied to Scalpellum (and indeed in Sc. villosum) no one could possibly distinguish the Rostral from the medial or carinal compartments; and therefore I do not think it at all surprising, that you should be puzzled in attributing to fossil species, the several valves to their right places. I heartily wish you success in your labours,—and indeed with such industry and penetration as yours, success in whatever you undertake is certain.— and with much respect I remain

Dear Sir | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin

P.S. In my volume now preparing which will complete the Cirripedia; I will insert a Synopsis in Latin of all the species of the Sub-Class; and I shall be very glad to have (or copy) a short character of your new species.6 My volume will not be printed till the Autumn, and I suppose before that time yours will be published.


CD actually wrote this letter in Eastbourne, where the Darwin family stayed from 14 July to 4 August 1853.
CD described the single, decayed specimen of Scalpellum rutilum from the collection of the British Museum in Living Cirripedia (1851): 253–8. He originally believed that this species had only twelve valves (Fossil Cirripedia (1851): 22), but he corrected the number to fourteen valves in Living Cirripedia (1851): 254 and n.
In Fossil Cirripedia (1851): 22, CD concluded ‘without hesitation’ that there were only three pairs of latera, and therefore twelve valves, in Scalpellum quadratum. In the synopsis and systematic index included in Living Cirripedia (1854): 611–40, no mention was made of the number of valves of S. quadratum (p. 632).
James de Carle Sowerby had drawn the figures of Frederick Dixon’s specimens both for the seventh volume (1836) of Sowerby and Sowerby 1812–46 and for Dixon 1850. CD had used these drawings in the preparation of his description of S. quadratum in Fossil Cirripedia (1851): 22 (see also Correspondence vol. 4, letter to Richard Owen, 10 September [1850], n. 2).
Bosquet’s new species are listed, with short descriptions in Latin, in the ‘Synopsis et index systematicus specierum’, Living Cirripedia (1854): 626, 631, and 637.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Dixon, Frederick. 1850. The geology and fossils of the Tertiary and Cretaceous formations of Sussex. London.

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

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.

Sowerby, James and Sowerby, James de Carle. 1812–46. The mineral conchology of Great Britain; or, coloured figures and descriptions of those remains of testaceous animals or shells, which have been preserved at various times and depths in the earth. Vols. 1–4 by James Sowerby; vols. 5–7 continued by J. de C. Sowerby. London.


Discusses valves in Scalpellum. Comments on JAHdeB’s research on cirripedes.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Augustin Hubert de Bosquet
Sent from
Eastbourne Down letterhead
Source of text
DAR 143: 127
Physical description
C 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1523,” accessed on 19 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5