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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Joseph Beete Jukes   10 August 1864

Geological Survey of Ireland, | Office, 51, Stephen’s Green, Dublin,

Augt 10th 1864

My dear Darwin

I am delighted to hear you are better & hope for a still better report eventually.—1

Many thanks for your kind expressions as to my controversy with Falconer.—2 He & I continue excellent friends in private though it certainly might have been otherwise.— Sir Roderick backs his side of the question of course3 & even Lyell does not go so far with us as I expected.4

I am daily & hourly strengthening my conviction in the field of the correctness of the view which appeals to external agency for the production of external form.—

I write this from the side of Waterford Harbour5 after a hard tramp over some hills of trap & ash & only wish you had been well enough & strong enough to have been with me.—

Believe me with all good wishes | Most sincerely yours | J. Beete Jukes.


CD’s letter to Jukes has not been found.
In a series of letters printed in the Reader in 1864, Jukes had debated the origin of mountain valleys and rock basins with Hugh Falconer. Jukes supported the theory, first presented by Andrew Crombie Ramsay in 1862, that such features were caused primarily by the action of glaciers (see Ramsay 1862 and Reader, 6 February 1864, pp. 173–4, 12 March 1864, pp. 332–5, 30 April 1864, pp. 557–8). Falconer had been an outspoken critic of Ramsay’s theory, proposing instead that mountain valleys and basins had formed from fissures in the earth’s surface (see letters from J. D. Hooker, 9 [March] 1864 and n. 14, and 29 March 1864; Reader, 27 February 1864, pp. 268–9, 5 March 1864, pp. 301–3, 2 April 1864, pp. 432–3; and Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society 8 (1864): 38–42). CD had largely supported Ramsay’s theory (see letter to A. C. Ramsay, 12 July [1864] and n. 5).
Roderick Impey Murchison had consistently opposed theories that attributed major features of the earth’s surface to glacial activity (see Davies 1969, pp. 293–4, and Stafford 1989). He had criticised Ramsay’s glacial theory in his presidential address to the Royal Geographical Society on 23 May 1864 (see Murchison 1864a, pp. 221–41).
In Antiquity of man, Charles Lyell argued that glaciers lacked sufficient force to carve out deep rock basins, such as those of the northern Italian lakes. Lyell favoured the view that great lake basins had been formed by gradual movements of upheaval and subsidence (see C. Lyell 1863a, pp. 309–19). CD had expressed his support for Ramsay’s theory in his letter to Charles Lyell, 14 October [1862] (Correspondence vol. 10; however, see also letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 October [1864] and n. 5).
Waterford Harbour is on the southern coast of Ireland.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Stafford, Robert A. 1989. Scientist of empire. Sir Roderick Murchison, scientific exploration and Victorian imperialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


CD’s support in JBJ’s controversy with Hugh Falconer is welcome. R. I. Murchison supports Falconer, and Lyell does not support their side strongly enough. Falconer and Jukes remain friends in private.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Beete Jukes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Geol. Surv. Ireland, Dublin
Source of text
DAR 168: 93
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4587,” accessed on 23 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12