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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Daniel Sharpe   23 August [1848?]1

Down Farnborough Kent.

Augt 23rd.

My dear Sir.

I must just send one line to thank you for your note. & to say how heartily glad I am that you stick to the Cleavage & Foliation question.— Nothing will ever convince me that it is not a noble subject of investigation, which will lead some day to great views. I think it quite extraordinary how little the subject seems to interest British Geologists— You will I think live to see the importance of your paper recognised. I had always thought that Studer was one of the few Geologists who had taken a correct and enlarged view on the subject.

Dear Sharpe | Yours sincerely, | C. Darwin.

Your specimen shall be returned next week.2


Dated [1846?] by Francis Darwin (ML 2: 199), but the content of the letter makes 1848 more probable. The reference to Sharpe continuing to work on cleavage and foliation indicates that time had passed since his first paper (Sharpe 1847, read 2 December 1846).
Sharpe supplied CD with fossil cirripedes he had found in Tertiary beds near Lisbon (Fossil Cirripedia (1854): 17). Sharpe’s fossils were essential to his explanation of cleavage (Sharpe 1847). In his section on cleavage in the chapter on geology for the Admiralty manual, written in March 1848 (Herschel ed. 1849, pp. 174–5), CD stated: ‘Fossil shells have been found by Mr. Sharpe in slaty rocks, which have had their shapes greatly altered, and all in the same direction; here then we have a guide to judge of the amount and direction of the mechanical displacement which the surrounding slate-rocks have undergone.’ (Collected papers 1: 237).


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

Fossil Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the fossil Balanidæ and Verrucidæ of Great Britain. By Charles Darwin. London: Palaeontographical Society. 1854.

ML: More letters of Charles Darwin: a record of his work in a series of hitherto unpublished letters. Edited by Francis Darwin and Albert Charles Seward. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1903.


Thanks for note.

Glad DS sticks to cleavage and foliation question. Bernhard Studer one of few to take correct view on subject.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Daniel Sharpe
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 147: 47
Physical description
ALS 4pp & C 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 991,” accessed on 1 March 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4