skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From A. C. Ramsay   20 October 1871


20 Oct 1871

My dear Mr Darwin

I am very glad to find that you so far agree with my views.1 I am not surprised that my ideas abt the Red rocks are disputed. All theoretical papers are likely to meet with opposition when they do not coincide with established orthodoxy, and I have been very well accustomed to it before in cases that by degrees in 10 or 12 years have gathered many disciples.2 Therefore I am not as yet afraid about the ultimate success of the red rock theory, aided as it seems to me to be by other circumstances all pointing to inland waters. I ought to have mentioned in my paper that the red Marles of Auvergne form a case in point.3 I believe that the great area of inland drainage in Central Asia presents the nearest existing parallel of the state of parts of the world during Permian & New Red times.

If I could only find time to go to Germany I think I have some very good fish to fry in re the physical state of Europe in part of the Tertiary epoch. At all events I would like to prove to myself whether what I have been brooding on for several years is true or false.

Do not take the trouble to answer this unimportant note.

Yours very sincerely | Andw C Ramsay


Ramsay’s view that lakes could be created by glacial action had been slow to prevail (Ramsay 1862; see ODNB and Correspondence vol. 10).
In his paper, ‘On the physical relations of the New Red Marl, Rhætic beds, and Lower Lias’ (Ramsay 1871a), Ramsay had argued that the red beds of Britain had been formed in lakes and inland seas.


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

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Glad CD agrees with his views as much as he does. Not surprised that his red rocks [Red Sandstones] ideas are disputed. The red marls of Auvergne support his inland water theory.

Letter details

Letter no.
Andrew Crombie Ramsay
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 176: 16
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8026,” accessed on 4 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19