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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Trenham Reeks   14 March 1845

Museum of Economic Geology

14th. March 1845.

Dear Sir,

I had some conversation with Dr. Kane of Dublin,1 last Evening upon the decomposition of Carbonate of Lime and Common Salt2 and he mentioned that M D’Arcet3 had found upon mixing these two substances after a certain time an efflorescence of Carbonate of Soda made its appearance. Upon this ground a manufactory for Carbonate of Soda was established4 which very soon failed from the small quantities produced. So that it appears there must be some amount of action take place upon these bodies en masse.

Mr Phillips5 desires me to say his time is so very much occupied he has hardly had time to write but that he finds the rock to contain only traces of Sulphate of Lime.

I am, Dear Sir | Your’s sincerely | Trenham Reeks C Darwin Esqre. | &c &c &c

CD annotations

crossed ink
Bottom of last page: ‘Tuff from Patagonia’pencil


Robert John Kane.
CD had written for information on this subject to the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 14 September 1844 (Collected papers 1: 198–9), see second letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, [before 14 September 1844].
Jean d’Arcet, French chemist, much of whose research had industrial applications.
Possibly a reference to a French government report dealing with the LeBlanc process and other similar procedures (Arcet et al. 1794). See South America, p. 52 n.
Richard Phillips, curator of the Museum of Economic Geology.


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

South America: Geological observations on South America. Being the third 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. 1846.


Discusses chemical reaction involving common salt and carbonate of lime.

Letter details

Letter no.
Trenham Reeks
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Museum of Economic Geology
Source of text
DAR 39: 47–8
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 838,” accessed on 29 March 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3