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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Charles Lyell   1 December [1866]1


Dec 1.

My dear Lyell

Emma has brought me your grand book, & I thank you sincerely for it, & still more for the inscription on the first page, which pleases me much.—2

Your additions are prodigious. (N.B an error, for p. 136, read 146)3 & I long to read them & especially the climate chapter,4 but I must refrain for some weeks, for my present work is actually delayed until I get through 5 or 6 books & long papers, & my strength for reading is not great.—5 I heartily congratulate on the completion of so much of what is really a gigantic work.6 Believe me with cordial thanks | Your sincere friend

Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to the tenth edition of Lyell’s Principles of geology (see nn. 2 and 3, below).
The first volume of the tenth edition of Principles of geology (C. Lyell 1867–8) was published in November 1866 (Publishers’ Circular, 15 November 1866, p. 722). The inscription in CD’s copy (Darwin Library–CUL) reads, ‘Charles Darwin from his affectionate friend Charles Lyell Novr. 29. 1866’.
CD refers to an incorrect page number in the list of changes that appeared in the front matter of C. Lyell 1867–8.
Lyell had made significant changes to the material on climate, adding a new chapter on the fossil evidence for climate change during different geological periods (C. Lyell 1867–8, 1: 212–32).
CD was preparing Variation for publication (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 14, Appendix II)).
The second volume of the tenth edition of Principles of geology was published in March 1868 (Publishers’ Circular, 1 April 1868, p. 179).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Lyell, Charles. 1867–8. Principles of geology or the modern changes of the earth and its inhabitants considered as illustrative of geology. 10th edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks CL for copy of his "grand book" [Principles of geology, 10th ed., vol. 1 (1867)]. Congratulates him on additions.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.322)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5289,” accessed on 17 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14