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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. L. Mitchell   31 May [1839]

My dear Sir

I am extremely obliged to you, for your great kindness in making enquiries respecting my servant.— But by a great chance, the day after I saw you, I made an arrangement for him to work his passage out as cook to a vessel. I am very sorry you should have taken so much trouble in vain.—

I enclose the curious stone, which I take much shame to myself for not having returned earlier.—but I had stored it away so carefully, that it had utterly past from my mind. I hope before very long, however, to publish a short account of it, & the woodcut, which you permitted to be taken from it.—1

Believe me | Very truly yours | Chas. Darwin 12 Upper Gower St

May 31st.—


CD describes it as a ‘volcanic bomb of obsidian’ (Volcanic islands, p. 38 and fig. 4). It has since been identified as a flanged-button tektite produced by the impact of a meteorite (Dietz 1978, p. 345).


Dietz, Robert S. 1978. IFOs (Identified Flying Objects). Sea Frontiers, pp. 341–6.


CD’s servant [Syms Covington] will work his passage to Australia.

Returns a curious stone, of which he hopes to publish an account. [See Volcanic islands, p. 38.]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Livingstone Mitchell
Sent from
London, Upper Gower St, 12
Source of text
Mitchell Library, Sydney (A 295/1 pp.1–3)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 515,” accessed on 20 April 2024,

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