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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George M’Ilvaine Ramsey   5 April 1869

New York

April 5th 1869

Charles Darwin M.A. F.R.S.

Dear Sir

You have fought your battle, & are reaping the fruits of victory.

I have just begun.

I have a work (Cosmology) ready for the press—but alass neither the press nor people ready for the work—which is destined to overturn nearly all that has hitherto been taught of Astronomy, Geology, & Theology.1

Save only the Darwin System. & you sir well know that no one truth ever clashes with another.

I have discovered the origin of Diurnal motion.2 & the results, as seen logically flowing therefrom are most wondrous in scope, diversity & magnificense.

The Advocates of Periodic creations, you are aware, cite against you, the abrupt termination of some-so called-species, & the introduction of others in the same locality— but in different geological periods.

My Work demonstrates to the Scientific World the origin of Periods. & thereby explains this apparent extinction, of some species.3

I wish first to explain to you that Diurnal Motion, is the result of Sunshine 4


Cosmology (Ramsey 1870) was published by W. White and Company in Boston. Ramsey gave a lecture expounding the same ideas on 15 June 1876; this was published as Ramsey 1877. See also Ramsey 1897.
Diurnal motion is the apparent movement of the sun, moon, and planets around earth resulting from the earth’s rotation (EB).
Ramsey argued that the combined forces of atmospheric pressure, the earth’s rotation, and gravity resulted in periodic and dramatic shifts in the earth’s axis: ‘at long but undefined periods the earth is virtually capsized, causing geological and glacial periods and changes in the geographical position of the polar centres’ (Ramsey 1870, quoted in Crumrine 1882, p. 959). See also Ramsey 1877.
Ramsey wrote: ‘Atmospheric motion is simply the result of sunshine on vapor … Diurnal rotation of the Earth, [is] the result of atmospheric pressure and motion’ (Ramsey 1877, pp. 3, 10).


Crumrine, Boyd. 1882. History of Washington County, Pennsylvania, with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co.

EB: The Encyclopædia Britannica. A dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information. 11th edition. 29 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1910–11.

Ramsey, George M’Ilvaine. 1870. Cosmology. Boston: W. White and Co.

Ramsey, George M’Ilvaine. 1877. Overturning the world; or, cause and effects of atmospheric motion. New York: P. F. McBreen.

Ramsey, George M’Ilvaine. 1897. Philosophy of phenomena. Boston: Banner of Light Publishing.


Describes the work he is writing, Cosmology (Ramsay 1870).

Letter details

Letter no.
George M’Ilvaine Ramsey
Charles Robert Darwin
Source of text
DAR 271.6: 3

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6692F,” accessed on 24 November 2020,

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