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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Phillips1   [November 1840]

I enclose you a copy of my paper on Earthquakes.—2 I have grown older, since I wrote it, & therefore, I hope, a little wiser, & as a consequence set less value on theoretical reasoning in geology—but I even yet think there is some weight in the argument, respecting the necessary slow elevation of mountain chains, which have protuberant axes of Plutonic rock.— Should you read my paper, & have at any future time, (although I well know how much your time must be occupied) leisure to tell me what you think of it, I should feel very great interest in hearing from you—

Believe me my dear Sir | Your’s most truly | Chas. Darwin


The letter is addressed to ‘Prof. Phillips | St Mary’s Lodge | York’.
‘On the connexion of certain volcanic phenomena’, Collected papers 1: 53–86. The paper (read 7 March 1838) describes ‘the intimate connexion between the volcanic and elevatory forces’ and from that went on to ‘deduce … certain inferences regarding the slow formation of mountain chains’ (ibid. p. 54).


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


Sends his paper on earthquakes [(1840), Collected papers 1: 53–86]. Now sets less value on theoretical reasoning in geology than when he wrote it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Phillips
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.22)
Physical description
ALS 1p inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 578,” accessed on 31 January 2023,

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