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Darwin Correspondence Project

To James Scott Bowerbank   25 June [1851]

Down Farnborough Kent

June 25th

My dear Sir

Several months ago you gave me some little Scalpellums from Algoa Bay,1 (the most interesting species I ever received) & you sent me a Sertularia or Plumularia to which they were attached, since returned to you.— I now want extremely, to examine the point of attachment; will you be so kind as to take the trouble to send me the specimen: it will be an essential service to me.—2

You told me some time ago that you wd. send a fossil Balanus belonging to Mr. Image3 to Geolog. Soc. for me; I sent some time afterwards there, but it had not then arrived, but I have not had occasion to send there lately, & perhaps it is lying there for me.— I am now getting a volume ready for the Ray Soc.y.—

When will the Pal: Soc:y. Parts appear? It is rather a cruel delay to Authors, who have worked not to delay the publications of the Society, but I presume there is no help.—4 Whenever published, will you kindly remember to direct my Copies to be sent, as requested, to

C. Darwin

care of G. Snow5

Nag’s Head


My dear Sir | Your’s sincerely | C. Darwin


Scalpellum ornatum from Algoa Bay, South Africa, is described in Living Cirripedia (1851): 244. Bowerbank is thanked for having provided specimens of ‘this extremely interesting species’ and also John Morris, ‘to whom Mr. Bowerbank had given some of the original specimens.’
CD apparently wished to compare the means of attachment of this species with that of Scalpellum vulgare. He believed these cirripedes were specially adapted to enable them to be attached to horny corallines (see Living Cirripedia (1851): 226–8). In the description of S. ornatum (Living Cirripedia (1851): 246) CD stated: ‘The peduncle does not seem to have been attached in any definite position to the horny coralline, as is the case with S. vulgare.’
Thomas Image, geologist and fossil collector. CD thanked him in Fossil Cirripedia (1854): 39 for the opportunity to examine a specimen of Coronula barbara.
CD had already received several copies of Fossil Cirripedia (1851) (see letter to W. B. R. H. Dunker, 5 April [1851]), but the remainder of his author’s copies were not available until September (see letter to J. J. S. Steenstrup, 9 September [1851]). According to the practice of the Palaeontographical Society, the monographs were published as separate numbers of one volume, which appeared annually. Fossil Cirripedia (1851), for example, was number 13 of volume 5, published in June 1851 (Freeman 1977, p. 68). Hence there was a delay between the time an individual monograph was printed and the date the entire volume was available.
The Down parcel-carrier, who made weekly trips to London every Thursday. The Nag’s Head Inn, 102 Borough High Street, was the point of departure in London (Post Office London directory 1851).


Fossil Cirripedia (1851): A monograph on the fossil Lepadidæ, or, pedunculated cirripedes of Great Britain. By Charles Darwin. London: Palaeontographical Society. 1851.

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

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Living Cirripedia (1851): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Lepadidæ; or, pedunculated cirripedes. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1851.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


Asks to re-examine specimen of Scalpellum. Discusses publication [of Fossil Cirripedia] by Palaeontographical Society.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Scott Bowerbank
Sent from
Source of text
Houghton Library, Harvard University (Autograph File, D)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1438,” accessed on 8 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5