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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Johnston   6 September 1853

Down, Bromley, Kent.

Sept. 6, 1853.

My dear Sir

I am extremely much obliged to you for the Balani in the Gorgoniæ:1 I know only four species of this form and habit; one American and so out of the question, and by a strange chance your lot includes all 3 other kinds, which differ very materially from each other. One of them is so rare that I have never seen but one specimen and that without any habitat;2 and I did not know at all certainly the habitat of another, so your specimens are extremely useful to me. I presume that the two larger separated specimens in yellow Gorgoniæ3 came from same habitat: if they did not, will you kindly inform me; but if I do not hear, I will assume that all come from the same place, viz., near Madras.

I have lately received from Van Voorst your Flora of the Eastern Borders:4 I have looked at parts with much pleasure; you will, perhaps, think it odd, but I was particularly charmed with the Preface; its style called up to my mind the writing of old and best authors: I look forward with interest to the Zoological Part,5 which is more in my line.

Pray believe me, with many thanks My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin.


Johnston’s specimens were identified as Balanus calceolus, B. cymbiformis, and B. navicula (Living Cirripedia (1854): 218–19, 221–2).
Balanus cymbiformis (Living Cirripedia (1854): 221). CD recorded that he had seen specimens from only Johnston’s and Hugh Cuming’s collections.
Balanus navicula (Living Cirripedia (1854): 221).
G. Johnston 1853. A copy is in the Darwin Library–Down. John Van Voorst was a major publisher of works in natural history.
Johnston died in 1855, leaving his work on the zoology of the eastern borders unfinished.


Johnston, George. 1853. Terra Lindisfarnensis. The natural history of the eastern borders. Vol. I: The botany. London.

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.


Thanks for rare Balanus specimens. Asks about their source.

Comments on GJ’s book [Terra Lindisfarnensis (1853)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Johnston
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 146: 7
Physical description
C 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1531,” accessed on 17 May 2022,

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