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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. B. Sowerby   12 [November 1845]1

Down Bromley Kent

Wednesday 12th.

My dear Sir

I intend being in town this day week,2 & with your permission should be very glad on Thursday the 20th to come to your house as early as convenient to yourself & begin our work of going through the shells, it will probably take two or three or more mornings.3 If you can possibly so arrange it, would you oblige me by agreeing & send me note soon & please inform me at which hour; (the earlier the better for my health, after 9 oclock) it will suit you to receive me.— I will bring the specimens & M.S. with me.— You will remember, that you were so good as to acquiesce in my proposal (for in no other way could I permit myself to trespass on your valuable time) of keeping a memorandum of the number of hours I consume & allowing me to in some degree remunerate you for the loss.—

Pray believe me with apologies for troubling you. Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin

Supposing it impossible for you to receive me on Thursday morning the 20th, would you kindly inform me, what three or four first consecutive mornings you could spare; as I am pressed to get on & cannot proceed, till my species are ultimately worked out.


For the basis of the date see nn. 2 and 3, below.
CD attended a council meeting of the Geological Society on 19 November 1845 (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 3, Appendix II).
CD’s Account Book (Down House MS), for 24–5 November 1845, records expenses for a five-day trip to London, with a note of 1s. ‘present to Sowerby’s man’. Presumably the meeting concerned Sowerby’s appendix for South America, pp. 249–64. Sowerby’s identifications of CD’s South American shells are in DAR 46.1: 6–45.


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

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.


Asks for a meeting in order to go over the shells [which GBS was to describe in the appendix on Tertiary fossil shells in South America].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Brettingham Sowerby
Sent from
Source of text
Houghton Library, Harvard University (Autograph File, D)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 926,” accessed on 13 September 2023,

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