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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Andrew Crombie Ramsay   2 February 1869

Jermyn St.

2 Feby 1869

My Dear Sir

Lyell has just told me that you are remodelling in the Origin of Species what you said abt the Weald.1 Have you got a copy of the 2nd Edition of my Physical Geology & Geography of Gt Britain?2

In it you will find 1st stated that the theory of Subaerial denudation applied to the Weald & the Origin of the Wealden escarpments, & I would be obliged if you would look at it. If I did not send you a copy please let me know & I will send one. The book is some years old; & very different from the 1st Edition which was very imperfect & little more than a shorthand writers Report.3

Yours very sincerely | A C Ramsay


CD was preparing the fifth edition of Origin (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 17, Appendix II)). Ramsay refers to Charles Lyell. In Origin, pp. 285–7, CD had calculated that the time required for the denudation of the Weald in Kent was nearly three hundred million years. This estimate was challenged by a reviewer of Origin in the Saturday Review, 24 December 1859, pp. 775–6. CD had accepted this criticism as justified and the section on the Weald was altered or omitted in subsequent editions (see Correspondence vol. 8 and Peckham ed. 1959, pp. 483–4). CD had also received information from Ramsay on the depth of deposits of the Weald (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter from A. C. Ramsay, 29 December 1858).
This edition (Ramsay 1864) has not been found in the Darwin Libraries at CUL or Down, but CD possessed other editions (see Marginalia 1: 695–6).
CD’s copy of the first edition of Ramsay’s book (Ramsay 1863) is in the Darwin Library–CUL.


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

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Lyell says CD is revising what he says about the Weald in the Origin. Asks CD to look at his subaerial denudation views in his book [Physical geology and geography of Great Britain, 2d ed. (1864)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Andrew Crombie Ramsay
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Jermyn St
Source of text
DAR 176: 14
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6594,” accessed on 1 October 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17