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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Washington   1 November [1839]

12 Upper Gower St

Novemb. 1st.

Dear Washington

The case of the rock in the ice is I think so very remarkable, that I want to make a few remarks on it—, a couple of sentences,—in the form of a note or otherwise,1 —if you have no objection to it. Will you therefore oblige me by copying the Lat. & Long of the spot where it was seen, & leave it with the Librarian at your rooms, & likewise any chart of the antarctic sea, which has recent tracks on it, that I may judge how far distant land probably is.— If you will do this, I will call on Monday or Tuesday at the Soc.—

May I beg one other favour, it is that you will send me one line by post, telling me how I ought to direct to Humboldt & Krusentern, for I know no more than if I had to write to the King of Prussia & the Emperor of all the Russias—

Believe me | Most truly yours | Chas. Darwin


CD’s remarks appeared in ‘Note on a rock seen on an iceberg’, Collected papers 1: 137–9. He says, ‘Every fact on the transportation of fragments of rock by ice is of importance, as throwing light on the problem of “erratic boulders”, which has so long perplexed geologists’. See also the Addenda to Journal of researches and footnote at the end of chapter 11 of the edition of 1845.


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.


CD thinks report of a rock imbedded in an iceberg is remarkable; wants to write a note for the [Journal] about it. Asks for location of the sighting and a chart of the Antarctic Sea. [See "Rock seen on an iceberg", Collected papers 1: 137–9.]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Washington; Royal Geographical Society
Sent from
London, Upper Gower St, 12
Source of text
Royal Geographical Society
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 544,” accessed on 20 April 2024,

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