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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Richard Owen   21 [June 1846]

Down Farnborough Kent

Sunday 21

My dear Owen

I have just heard from Capt. Sulivan R.N. that he is arrived in London with six casks of fossil bones from the southern part of Patagonia, as I before mentioned to you.—1

He is anxious to have them inspected by you & I shd. be extremely glad to be present. I send this note open through him to make any alterations. I have suggested to him to send the casks direct to the College of Surgeons, & perhaps you could direct some one to get them unpacked, & ready for inspection. He proposes to call with me on you on Monday next The 29th— at Two oclock if, as I hope, that may suit you.—2

He has not made up his mind to what Public Body he will present these fossils, but I apprehend you will not object to receiving them at the College temporarily, & no doubt there will be some duplicates: in case he shd. think the British Museum better than the College3

Yours very truly | C. Darwin


Bartholomew James Sulivan had arrived from Montevideo on 19 June. The fossils are those collected at Rio Gallegos, Patagonia during the survey voyage of H.M.S. Philomel and described in Sulivan’s letters of 13 January – 12 February and 4 July 1845.
CD left spaces in this sentence and, in accordance with CD’s instructions at the beginning of the paragraph, presumably B. J. Sulivan filled in ‘Monday next The 29th—’ and ‘Two’.
The fossils were presented to the Royal College of Surgeons and described by Owen at the 1846 British Association meeting in Southampton, see letter from B. J. Sulivan, 13 January – 12 February 1845, n. 5.


B. J. Sulivan has just arrived with fossil bones from Patagonia. Wants to arrange meeting.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Richard Owen
Sent from
Source of text
Natural History Museum, Library and Archives (General Special Collections Owen correspondence 9/204)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 984,” accessed on 19 April 2024,

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