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From J. S. Henslow   [5 November 1837 – March 1838]

Summary

Fragment glued to CD’s notes on rock specimens. The recto refers to one of CD’s specimens, the verso mentions his Keeling Island plants.

Author:  John Stevens Henslow
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [5 Nov 1837 – Mar 1838]
Classmark:  DAR 39: 88a
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-338

To John Maurice Herbert   [1 January 1837]

Summary

Enjoyed the merry evening with JMH.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Maurice Herbert
Date:  [1 Jan 1837]
Classmark:  Natural History Museum (General Special Collections DC AL 1/1)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-339

From Fanny Myddelton Biddulph   14 January 1837

Summary

Apologises for delay in thanking him for the flowers. Has been too unwell to write.

Author:  Fanny Myddelton Biddulph
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  14 Jan 1837
Classmark:  DAR 204: 57
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-340

From Emily Catherine Darwin   15 [January 1837]

Summary

Morning Herald had an account of CD’s 80 specimens of Mammalia and 450 birds at the Zoological Society.

John Gould has described new species in CD’s Galapagos birds.

Much interest in CD’s "Laurels".

Family news.

Author:  Emily Catherine (Catherine) Darwin; Emily Catherine (Catherine) Langton
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  15 [Jan 1837]
Classmark:  DAR 204: 142
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-341

To a member of Downing College, Cambridge   [19 January 1837]

Summary

Declines invitation to dine at Downing College because of influenza.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Unidentified
Date:  [19 Jan 1837]
Classmark:  DAR 204: 142v
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-342

From Charles Lyell   13 February 1837

Summary

"I could think of nothing for days after your lesson on coral reefs, but of the top of submerged continents. It is all true, but do not flatter youself that you will be believed, till you are growing bald, like me, with hard work & vexation at the incredulity in the world."

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  13 Feb 1837
Classmark:  Kinnordy MS (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-343

From Catherine and Caroline Sarah Darwin   [16 February 1837]

Summary

News of family and friends.

Caroline repeats story told to R. W. Darwin of FitzRoy’s feeling of obligation to Captain John White, from whom he gained release to marry Miss O’Brien.

Fanny Biddulph has had a son.

Author:  Emily Catherine (Catherine) Darwin; Emily Catherine (Catherine) Langton; Caroline Sarah Darwin; Caroline Sarah Wedgwood
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [16 Feb 1837]
Classmark:  DAR 204: 143
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-344

From Caroline Darwin   [21 February 1837]

Summary

Interested in Lyell’s address [Proc. Geol. Soc. Lond. 2 (1833–8): 479–523]. Asks what the points are on which CD and Lyell are fully agreed.

Inquires about the paper FitzRoy and CD wrote on missionaries ["Moral state of Tahiti" (1836), Collected papers 1: 19–38].

News of family.

Author:  Caroline Sarah Darwin; Caroline Sarah Wedgwood
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [21 Feb 1837]
Classmark:  DAR 204: 141
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-345

To Caroline Darwin   27 February 1837

Summary

Has just given a paper [on "Sand tubes"] at Cambridge Philosophical Society and exhibited some specimens. It went well, with Whewell and Sedgwick taking an active part.

Herschel thinks 6000–odd years since the creation not nearly long enough to explain the separations from a single stock.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Caroline Sarah Darwin; Caroline Sarah Wedgwood
Date:  27 Feb 1837
Classmark:  DAR 154: 51
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-346

To William Whewell   [10 March 1837]

Summary

CD seeks to decline the Secretaryship [of the Geological Society] by citing his obligation to FitzRoy to write his volume of the narrative of their expedition. His youth, inexperience, and ignorance of English geology.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Whewell
Date:  [10 Mar 1837]
Classmark:  Trinity College, Cambridge (Add c 88: 2)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-347

To William Darwin Fox   [12 March 1837]

Summary

Finished going over his geological specimens at Cambridge, and is now in London.

Describes his plans for writing the journal, and later the geology and zoology of the Beagle voyage.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  [12 Mar 1837]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 51)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-348

To Charles Babbage   [14 March 1837 – 31 December 1838]

Summary

Would have had great pleasure in accepting CB’s invitation, "whether for beauty or for shells", but has another engagement.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Babbage
Date:  [14 Mar 1837–31 Dec 1838]
Classmark:  British Library (Add MS 37190: 326)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-349

From the Misses Horner   [17 March 1837 – 28 December 1838]

Summary

“The Botanists” and “The learned Linguists” give thanks for book and assistance.

Author:  Anne Susanna (Susan) Horner; Leonora Horner; Leonora Pertz; Joanna Baillie Horner; Frances Joanna Horner; Frances Joanna Bunbury; Katharine Murray Horner; Katharine Murray Lyell
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [17 Mar 1837 – 28 Dec 1838]
Classmark:  DAR 94: 1a
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-350

To the Geological Society of London   27 March 1837

Summary

Recommends David Williams’ paper on raised beaches of Devon [David Williams, "Letter … on the raised beaches of Barnstaple", Trans. Geol. Soc. Lond. 2d ser. 5 (1840): 287–8] be shortened and published immediately after Sedgwick’s and Murchison’s paper ["Description of a raised beach in Barnstaple", ibid., pp. 279–86] as chief point of paper is to support their conclusions.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Geological Society of London
Date:  27 Mar 1837
Classmark:  Geological Society of London (GSL/COM/P/4/2/216)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-352

To John Stevens Henslow   28 March [1837]

Summary

Publication plans for the account of the Beagle expedition – CD to have the third volume for his journal.

News of naturalists and their interest in his specimens. Queries about plant specimens, including one on whether seeds from Keeling Island would endure salt water.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  28 Mar [1837]
Classmark:  Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Henslow letters: 34
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-353

To Leonard Jenyns   10 April [1837]

Summary

Discusses possibility of publishing the zoology of the voyage of the Beagle. Will need help from more able naturalists. Would LJ object to describing the fishes for such a work rather than for scientific journals? Is working on his Beagle journal.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Leonard Jenyns; Leonard Blomefield
Date:  10 Apr [1837]
Classmark:  Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-354

To J. S. Henslow   18 [May 1837]

Summary

Plans to apply to Government for assistance with publishing Zoology.

Robert Brown has taken an interest in the fossil woods.

CD is at work on his journal. Has not begun his geology yet. Has seen much of Lyell.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  18 [May 1837]
Classmark:  Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Henslow letters: 35
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-355

To J. S. Henslow   [28 May 1837]

Summary

CD to read paper on formation of coral islands at Geological Society. Lyell seems prepared to give up [his view].

Publication of the Narrative is now definite. Feels he should have published journal after the geology and zoology of the voyage.

Robert Brown, as well as JSH, is interested in edible fungi from Tierra del Fuego.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  [28 May 1837]
Classmark:  Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Henslow letters: 36
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-356

To John Lort Stokes   [after 31 May 1837]

Summary

Asks JLS: "Are there masses of coral or beds of shells some yards above high water mark, on the coast fronting the barrier reef?" [In reference to JLS’s proposed exploration of Australian coasts and rivers.]

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Lort Stokes
Date:  [after 31 May 1837]
Classmark:  Stokes 1846, 1: 331
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-356F

To Charles Babbage   [June–September 1837]

Summary

At Lyell’s request sends his copy of Whewell’s History of inductive sciences [1837] to CB.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Babbage
Date:  [June – Sept 1837]
Classmark:  British Library (Add MS 37190: 322)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-358
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Date
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03 (6)
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Language: key letters

Summary

How and why language evolved bears on larger questions about the evolution of the human species, and the relationship between man and animals. Darwin presented his views on the development of human speech from animal sounds in The Descent of Man (1871),…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Letter 346: Darwin, C. R. to Darwin, C. S., 27 Feb 1837 Darwin’s first letter on the …

Variation under domestication

Summary

Sources|Discussion Questions|Experiment A fascination with domestication Throughout his working life, Darwin retained an interest in the history, techniques, practices, and processes of domestication. Artificial selection, as practiced by plant and…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … the variation present in domestic species. Letter 1837 — Darwin to Thwaites, G.H.K. 8 …

Darwin's health

Summary

On 28 March 1849, ten years before Origin was published, Darwin wrote to his good friend Joseph Hooker from Great Malvern in Worcestershire, where Dr James Manby Gully ran a fashionable water-cure establishment. Darwin apologised for his delayed reply to…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … vol. 2, letter to J. S. Henslow, 14 October [1837] , Correspondence vol. 7, letter to Robert …
  • … vol. 2, letter to Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood, [28 August 1837] ). His grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, …

Darwin’s reading notebooks

Summary

In April 1838, Darwin began recording the titles of books he had read and the books he wished to read in Notebook C (Notebooks, pp. 319–28). In 1839, these lists were copied and continued in separate notebooks. The first of these reading notebooks (DAR 119…

Matches: 29 hits

  • … sleep & movements of plants  £ 1 ..s  4. [Dutrochet 1837] Voyage aux terres australes …
  • … of useful knowledge Horse, cow, sheep [Youatt 1831, 1834, 1837]. Verey Philosophie d’Hist. …
  • … contains all his fathers views Quoted by Owen [Hunter 1837] [DAR *119: 3v.] Hunter …
  • … 11  besides the paper collected by Owen [Hunter 1837] (at Shrewsbury). Yarrells paper on …
  • … of plants. 13 Books quoted by Herbert [Herbert 1837] p. 338 Schiede in 1825 …
  • … remarks on acclimatizing of plants. Herbert [Herbert 1837] p. 348 gives reference to …
  • … notes to White Nat. Hist of Selbourne [E. T. Bennett ed. 1837 and [J. Rennie] ed. 1833] read 19  : …
  • … 6: folio par Céran de Lemonier. Bailliere [Céran-Lemonnier 1837] Transactions of the …
  • … history of British Birds by W. Macgillivray [W. Macgillivray 1837–52].— I should think well worth …
  • … Instinct & Reason by S. Bushnan. Longman. 5 s  [Bushnan 1837]—dedicated to L d . Brougm. 26 …
  • … of Brutes [Fabricius 1603]. referred to by Hallam [Hallam 1837–9] D r . Lord has written …
  • … analysis of British Ferns. G. W. Francis 4 s  [Francis 1837]— plates of every species—treats of …
  • … [Hogarth 1835] Wilkinson Ægyptian [J. G. Wilkinson 1837–41] read [DAR *119: 14v.] …
  • … At end of 2 d . Vol of Müller Phy. [Müller 1837–42] references to some good Books Blacklock …
  • … “Vergleich: Anat der Myxinoiden”. Müller [Müller 1837] Towards end of paper describes  anomalies …
  • … Miss. Martineau Society in America [H. Martineau 1837] Bamfords Life of a Radical [Bamford …
  • … t . of Ossory [Walpole 1848] Lamb’s Letters [Lamb 1837] (read) Feuerbaches Trials …
  • … very good . Rivers Catalogue of Roses [Rivers 1837] Saunders Map-seller Charing Cross …
  • … Society in America. Miss Martineau [H. Martineau 1837] Layards Babylon [Layard 1853] …
  • … of London 1839] (List from Muller & Bronn [Müller 1837–42 and Bronn 1842–3] in this Book) …
  • … Society ] Asiatic Journ. of London to end of 1837 [ Journal of the Royal   Asiatic …
  • … 1838a] Mayo Philosophy of Art of Living [H. Mayo 1837] [DAR 119: 3a] …
  • … 1643] Lyell’s Book III 5th Edit 58  [Lyell 1837]— There are many marginal notes …
  • … 59 Hunters animal economy edited by Owen [Hunter 1837], read several papers all that bear …
  • … Oct 12 th  W. Earle’s 60  Eastern Seas [Earl 1837]. 12th Sir S. 61  Stauntons Embassy …
  • … [Lessing 1836] Whewell inductive History [Whewell 1837] References at end Herschel’s …
  • … 1839 Jan 10 All life of W. Scott [Lockhart 1837–8] except 5 th  vol. 19 Mungo …
  • … 1831] 4 vols 25 Phillips Geology [J. Phillips 1837–9] Lardners 2 nd  vol March 16 …
  • … 1817] —— Herbert on Hybrid mixture [Herbert 1837]— marginal notes 20 th  Carlyles …

Darwin in letters, 1837–1843: The London years to 'natural selection'

Summary

The seven-year period following Darwin's return to England from the Beagle voyage was one of extraordinary activity and productivity in which he became recognised as a naturalist of outstanding ability, as an author and editor, and as a professional…

Matches: 9 hits

  • … the most important of Darwin’s activities during the years 1837–43 was unquestionably his work on …
  • … species came to be as they are (Kohn 1980). Between April 1837 and September 1838 he filled several …
  • …  voyage. The book was finished and set in type by November 1837, though not published until 1839, …
  • … countries visited by H.M.S. Beagle .  Also in November 1837, Darwin read the fourth of a series of …
  • … May 1838] ). The new research Darwin undertook after 1837 was an extension and an …
  • … Lyell had called the ‘mystery of mysteries’ (see Babbage 1837 and Cannon 1961). In the  …
  • … species and varieties had no basis in reality (W. Herbert 1837, p. 341); species were only clearly …
  • … Health Active and productive as the years 1837–43 were, they were also years during which …
  • … seeds and other interests mentioned in the correspondence of 1837–43, which at first seem unrelated, …

Women’s scientific participation

Summary

Observers | Fieldwork | Experimentation | Editors and critics | Assistants Darwin’s correspondence helps bring to light a community of women who participated, often actively and routinely, in the nineteenth-century scientific community. Here is a…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … 385  - Wedgwood, S. E. & J. to Darwin, [10 November 1837] Emma’s sister, Sarah, …
  • … Letter 378  - Darwin to Henslow, J. S., [20 September 1837] Darwin takes Henslow up on …
  • … Letter 347  - Darwin to Whewell, W., [10 March 1837] Darwin seeks to decline the …

Earthworms

Summary

As with many of Darwin’s research topics, his interest in worms spanned nearly his entire working life. Some of his earliest correspondence about earthworms was written and received in the 1830s, shortly after his return from his Beagle voyage, and his…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Elizabeth Wedgwood & Josiah Wedgwood to Darwin, 10 November [1837] Written by Emma’s …

Journal of researches

Summary

Within two months of the Beagle’s arrival back in England in October 1836, Darwin, although busy with distributing his specimens among specialists for description, and more interested in working on his geological research, turned his mind to the task of…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … as he explained to his cousin William Darwin Fox in March 1837: ‘ I intend giving a kind of journal …
  • … which will much add to the value of the whole .’ By July 1837, Darwin had finished the draft of his …
  • … flurry of activity had been spurred by assurances in May 1837 that Darwin’s volume would ‘begin to …
  • … the first manuscript pages had been sent off.  On 1 August 1837, he reminded the dilatory Henslow …
  • … than the other two volumes, so, as early as September 1837, he had secured an agreement with …

Alexander Burns Usborne

Summary

Alexander Burns Usborne was born in Kendal, Westmorland, in 1808, the son of Alexander and Margaret Usborne; his father died in 1818 and in his will was described as the purser on HMS Hannibal. His son joined the navy in 1825 aged 16 as a second-class…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Constitucion , to survey the coast of Peru, 1835–6. In 1837 he was appointed acting master for the …

Darwin & the Geological Society

Summary

The science of geology in the early nineteenth century was a relatively new enterprise forged from the merging of several distinct traditions of inquiry, from mineralogy and the very practical business of mining, to theories of the earth’s origin and the…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … the voyager after the Beagle returned.  Between January 1837 and March 1838, Darwin became a …

Conrad Martens

Summary

Conrad Martens was born in London, the son of an Austrian diplomat. He studied landscape painting under the watercolourist Copley Fielding (1789–1855), who also briefly taught Ruskin. In 1833 he was on board the Hyacinth, headed for India, but en route in…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … visited Martens and both commissioned paintings. In 1837 some of Martens’s Australian …

George Peacock

Summary

George Peacock was born 9 April 1791 in Denton near Darlington in Yorkshire. He was the son of a clergyman, the Rev. Thomas Peacock, curate of Denton for 50 years and school master. George was educated at Sedbergh School, Cumbria and Richmond School in…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … appointed Lowndean Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge in 1837. Running parallel to his busy …

People featured in the Dutch photograph album

Summary

Here is a list of people that appeared in the photograph album Darwin received for his birthday on 12 February 1877 from scientific admirers in the Netherlands. Many thanks to Hester Loeff for identifying and researching them. No. …

Matches: 4 hits

  • … Civil Engineer   Dordrecht 28 april 1837 Hardinxveld 21 …
  • …     Utrecht 31 august 1837 Maastricht 26 april 1897 …
  • … Gymnasium.   Amsterdam 29 november 1837 Heumen 17 April 1921 …
  • … of Anatomy 40 Leiden 15 november 1837 Dirksland 23 December …

Casting about: Darwin on worms

Summary

Earthworms were the subject of a citizen science project to map the distribution of earthworms across Britain (BBC Today programme, 26 May 2014). The general understanding of the role earthworms play in improving soils and providing nutrients for plants to…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … papers presented to the Geological Society of London in 1837. He had been inspired by observations …

Darwin on human evolution

Summary

'I hear that Ladies think it delightful reading, but that it does not do to talk about it, which no doubt promotes the sale.' For the first time online you can now read the full texts of nearly 800 letters Darwin wrote and received during 1871,…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … confine himself to the subject of expression, however. In 1837, he had published a short paper on …

People featured in the Dutch photograph album

Summary

Here is a list of people that appeared in the photograph album Darwin received for his birthday on 12 February 1877 from scientific admirers in the Netherlands. Many thanks to Hester Loeff for identifying and researching them.   …

Matches: 4 hits

  • … Civil Engineer   Dordrecht 28 april 1837 Hardinxveld 21 …
  • …     Utrecht 31 august 1837 Maastricht 26 april 1897 …
  • … Gymnasium.   Amsterdam 29 november 1837 Heumen 17 April 1921 …
  • … of Anatomy 40 Leiden 15 november 1837 Dirksland 23 December …

Darwin and barnacles

Summary

In a letter to Henslow in March 1835 Darwin remarked that he had done ‘very little’ in zoology; the ‘only two novelties’ he added, almost as an afterthought, were a new mollusc and a ‘genus in the family Balanidæ’ – a barnacle – but it was an oddity. Who,…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … the entry on ‘Cirripeda’ in the Penny cyclopaedia of 1837 reads, ‘a well-defined natural group …

Darwin in letters, 1847-1850: Microscopes and barnacles

Summary

Darwin's study of barnacles, begun in 1844, took him eight years to complete. The correspondence reveals how his interest in a species found during the Beagle voyage developed into an investigation of the comparative anatomy of other cirripedes and…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … been described by the taxonomists Darwin had enlisted in 1837 and published in the five volumes of …
  • … 2, letter to Leonard Jenyns, 10 April [1837]) and it was intended that invertebrates be included in …

John Stevens Henslow

Summary

The letters Darwin exchanged with John Stevens Henslow, professor of Botany and Mineralogy at Cambridge University, were among the most significant of his life. It was a letter from Henslow that brought Darwin the invitation to sail round the world as…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Berkshire, and finally rector of Hitcham, Suffolk, from 1837, a post he also held until his death. …

Darwin & coral reefs

Summary

The central idea of Darwin's theory of coral reef formation, as it was later formulated, was that the islands were formed by the upward growth of coral as the Pacific Ocean floor gradually subsided. It overturned previous ideas and would in itself…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … for ever . . . ,’ he wrote to John Herschel on 24 May 1837, ‘the whole theory is knocked on the head …
  • … on his coral theory before the Geological Society in May 1837.  His most fully developed statement …
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