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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Hugh Miller   29 March [1855]

Down Farnborough Kent

March 29th.

Dear Sir

I hope that you will excuse the liberty I take in troubling you; but I heard lately at the British Museum, from Dr. Baird & Mr A. White1 (who said that I might use their names as an introduction) that you had published a very curious paper in the Witness on the effects of the frost on certain shells;2 & I am anxious to see this. They could not tell me at all the date of the Witness, & I now write to ask whether you will take the trouble to inform me, that I may order the copy.

It may be presumptuous, but I cannot resist, expressing the very great pleasure I owe to you, from the perusal of the two of your works, which I have as yet read.3

With much respect | I remain | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin


William Baird and Adam White were both employed in the zoological department of the British Museum.
The article ‘On the late severe frost’ was published in the Witness, a liberal, pro-Free Church newspaper edited by Miller, on 24 February 1855.
CD had read Miller’s Old Red Sandstone (Miller 1841) in June 1842, First impressions of England and its people (Miller 1847) in October 1847, and Footprints of the Creator (Miller 1849) in November 1849 (Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 119: 12a, 20a, 22a).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Miller, Hugh. 1841. The Old Red Sandstone; or, new walks in an old field. Edinburgh.

Miller, Hugh. 1847. First impressions of England and its people. London.

Miller, Hugh. 1849. Footprints of the Creator: or, the Asterolepis of Stromness. London: Johnstone and Hunter.


Requests HM’s article in the Witness [24 Feb 1855; see HM, "On the late severe frost", Proc. R. Phys. Soc. Edinburgh 1 (1854–8): 10–14], on the effects of frost on shells. CD expresses admiration for the two works by HM he has read.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Hugh Miller
Sent from
Source of text
National Trust for Scotland (Hugh Miller’s Cottage, Cromarty)
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1657,” accessed on 21 February 2024,

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