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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Tyndall   24 July [1861]1

2. Hesketh Crescent | Torquay

July 24.

My dear Tyndall

I write a single line to say that it was not of the least consequence your retaining the letter for as long as you liked.— I shall be most happy at any time to send you the letters again, if you like to publish any passages.—2

We are all here idling for health-sake & enjoying the beautiful scenery & sea air—

By the way the other day at dinner we were all sticking bits of ice together by their points, marvelling at the phenomenon & talking of you—3

Yours most sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is given by reference to the Darwins’ stay in Torquay during the summer of 1861 (see ‘Journal’; Appendix II).
The reference is to letters from Erasmus Darwin to Josiah Wedgwood I that CD had sent to Tyndall (see letter to John Tyndall, 23 February [1861], and Correspondence vol. 9, Appendix V). The letters discussed physical aspects of the congelation of ice.
Tyndall used the principle of ‘regelation’ to account for the way in which a glacier could be moulded under its own pressure. According to this principle, when ice is broken into fragments under pressure, the fragments, becoming moist through melting, reunite when they again come into contact. See Tyndall 1860, pp. 351–2.


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

Tyndall, John. 1860. The glaciers of the Alps. Being a narrative of excursions and ascents, an account of the origin and phenomena of glaciers, and an exposition of the physical principles to which they are related. London: J. Murray.


Has been idling and enjoying the scenery.

"At dinner we were all sticking bits of ice together by their points, marvelling at the phenomenon and talking of you."

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Tyndall
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.8: 4 (EH 88205942)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3217,” accessed on 15 May 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9