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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Charles Lyell   [9 April 1843]

My dear Darwin

I spoke separately yesterday to Warburton, Fitton & Greenough1 before they entered into Committee on the affairs of the Nation or G.S. as to a Government Grant for publication & said all you had suggested—2 The idea was new & struck them as leaving us more independent than any other scheme— So your coming up to town you see has done some good—

I shall read a paper on erect N. Scotia trees next meeting— 3

Capt Halstead RN—has returned from surveying Ramree & islands & coast ceded by Burmese—4 He tells me the shores are rising everywhere5 —oyster beds of recent species corals & old beaches inland & the same all along the E. side of Bay of Bengall where mud volcanos—for several 100 miles all the way he believes from Sumatra to Barren Isld.—6

⁠⟨⁠half page of text missing ⁠⟩⁠ making— So now I am unpacking all my U.S. silurian carbonifs. Devonian &c— Phillips7 looked over 8 drawers of beds below coal in Pensylva— the result as usual the species different but a complete representation of forms in correspondg formations

CD annotations

crossed pencil
‘(Species Book)’added pencil


Henry Warburton was President of the Geological Society; CD and George Bellas Greenough were vice-presidents; William Henry Fitton and Charles Lyell were members of the council (see Proceedings of the Geological Society 4 (1843–5): 64).
Probably a reference to the Geological Society’s need for funds to support an additional series of papers. See report to the Council at the Anniversary Meeting, 16 February 1844 (Proceedings of the Geological Society 4 (1843–5): 336).
C. Lyell 1843.
Edward Pellew Halsted spent the years 1839 to 1842 in the East Indies and China.
See also Halsted 1841, pp. 433–6. Halsted’s observations confirmed CD’s view that the shores of the Bay of Bengal were rising. CD’s map in Coral reefs locates two fringing reefs in the bay. Such reefs are associated with volcanic, rising land.
CD copied ‘way he believes from Sumatra to Barren Isld.—’ from the next page, now missing, to complete his extract.
John Phillips.


Coral reefs: The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1842.

Halsted, Edward Pellew. 1841. Report on the island of Chedooba. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 10: 349–77, 419–46.


Spoke to Henry Warburton, W. H. Fitton, and E. B. Greenough on CD’s idea of a Government grant for publication [not identified].

Will read at next meeting his paper on erect Nova Scotia fossil trees [Proc. Geol. Soc. Lond. 4 (1843–5): 176–8].

E. P. Halstead reports on shores rising off Burma and Bay of Bengal.

Unpacking his U. S. fossils.

Phillips looked at beds below coal in Pennsylvania. Result is the usual different species found but with complete representation of forms.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 170: 81, 205.9: 393
Physical description
†† inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 670,” accessed on 30 September 2023,

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