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Darwin Correspondence Project

To the Geological Society of London   7 September 1838

[36 Great Marlborough Street]

Your referee is of opinion that the abstract in the Proceedings is sufficient to call the attention of Geologists to Mr Austen’s views concerning the origin of the limestone of Devonshire.1 The principal facts, on which his views are grounded are there given,—namely the high inclination of the beds over a large area, & the presence of similar organic remains througout their entire thickness.— A paper of this nature, if it be not accompanied by detailed sections, & if great care be not evident in guarding against sources of error,—which is not here shown, for instance in the absence of all allusion to the possibility that the present flat surfaces of the limestone may have been caused by denudation, instead of being the effect of a coral-reef having reached the surface of the water,—a paper not thus accompanied, your referee thinks is not worthy of a place in the Transactions.—

Charles Darwin September 7th. 1838.



Austen, Robert Alfred Cloyne. 1838. On the origin of the limestones of Devonshire. [Read 25 April 1838.] Proceedings of the Geological Society of London (1833–8): 669– 70.


Report on R. A. C. Austen’s paper on the origin of limestone in Devonshire [Proc. Geol. Soc. Lond. 2 (1838): 669–70]. CD deems it not worthy of publication in Transactions.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Geological Society of London
Sent from
London, Gt Marlborough St, 36
Source of text
Geological Society of London (GSL/COM/P/4/2/8)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 426,” accessed on 19 January 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2