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From Charles Lyell   1–2 May 1856



Urges CD to publish his theory with small part of data.

Corrects names of land shells on list of shells picked up at Down.

Discusses transport of Ancylus from one river-bed to another by water-beetle.

"I hear that when you & Hooker & Huxley & Wollaston got together you made light of all Species & grew more & more unorthodox."

Mentions discussion of old Atlantis by Oswald Heer.

Comments on Helix and Nanina.

Mentions beetle discovered with small bag of eggs of water-spider under wing.

Madeira evidence favours single species birth-place theory.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1–2 May 1856
Classmark:  DAR 205.3: 282
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1862

From Charles Lyell   17 June 1856


CD forgets an author [CD himself in Coral reefs] "who, by means of atolls, contrived to submerge archipelagoes (or continents?), the mountains of which must originally have differed from each other in height 8,000 (or 10,000?) feet".

CL begins to think that all continents and oceans are chiefly post-Eocene, but he admits that it is questionable how far one is at liberty to call up continents "to convey a Helix from the United States to Europe in Miocene or Pliocene periods".

Will CD explain why the land and marine shells of Porto Santo and Madeira differ while the plants so nearly agree?

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  17 June 1856
Classmark:  DAR 146: 475
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1905

From Charles Lyell   [1 July 1856]


To cast doubt on CD’s view that volcanic action is associated with elevation of land, CL suggests that local oscillations in strata underlying volcanoes could also explain how active volcanoes have uplifted fossil deposits of marine shells. Overall he is more inclined to believe that recent volcanoes belong to areas of subsidence rather than of elevation.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [1 July 1856]
Classmark:  Kinnordy MS (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1915A
Document type
letter (3)
Lyell, Charles[X]
05 (1)
06 (1)
07 (1)