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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. E. Darwin   3 January [1872]1


Jan 3d.

My dear William

Your letter & facts are quite splendid.—2 I cannot conceive how you could have observed so much without aid.—

The depth of mould at different parts of slope & base is a most valuable observation.— The little step or slope round the great fallen stones very curious;— I suppose the worms work under the stones, & come up at nearest point, viz close outside.— There are many points which I want to discuss & get explained. Shall you be coming to Down within a month or so? We cannot reconcile the large & capital diagram with the 2d page of your letter: I imagine they refer to different parts.3 Again I am curious to know whether in the middle part of slope in diagram, whether the inclination is greater, for the furrows for a space are decidedly deeper than above or below.— I have made pencil notes on your letter,4 so that I shall not forget what to


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. E. Darwin, [1 January 1872].
The diagram has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL. CD’s notes for Earthworms are in DAR 63–5. The second page of the letter from W. E. Darwin, [1 January 1872], runs from ‘I unfortunately’ to ‘to do it quickly.’
See CD’s annotations to the letter from W. E. Darwin, [1 January 1872].


Earthworms: The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms: with observations on their habits. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1881.


Thanks for letter [8137]. Finds observation at Stonehenge of depth of mould at different parts of slope "most valuable".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Erasmus Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Natural History Museum, Library and Archives (General Manuscripts MSS DAR 30)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8140,” accessed on 7 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20