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Darwin Correspondence Project

To the Council of the Royal Society   18 August 1855

To the Council of the Royal Socy

I recommend Dr. Carpenter’s paper on Orbitolites to be printed in the Transactions.1 Though written, as it appears to me, in too diffuse a style, I cannot point any particular portion which could be condensed.

With respect to the publication of the very beautiful drawings, I feel much difficulty: their cost, I apprehend, would be very great, & there does not seem to me, sufficient new matter of physiological importance in the memoir to justify going to a very great expence. Dr. Carpenter seems rather to overrate the novelty of connecting forms, apparently very different, by intermediate structures; though he most justly appreciates the importance of always attempting to do this, & he gives, under the form of Canons, the processes which all sound naturalists have long endeavoured to carry out. Very many of the figures are given to illustrate intermediate forms and variations.—

I would, therefore, suggest that the author himself should be consulted as to how many Plates would contain those figures, which he considers as most important.—

Ch. Darwin. Down Augt. 18th. 1855.


Carpenter 1855. William Benjamin Carpenter’s paper on the fossil shells of foraminifera, called by him ‘Orbitolites’, was read 14 June 1855 and printed in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London in 1856.


Carpenter, William Benjamin. 1855. Researches on the Foraminifera. Pt I. Containing general introduction, and monograph of the genus Orbitolites. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 146 (1856): 181–236.


Recommends publication of W. B. Carpenter’s paper on Orbitolites [Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 146 (1856): 181–236]. Discusses style and the cost of the plates.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Council of the Royal Society
Sent from
Source of text
The Royal Society (RR3: 38)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1744,” accessed on 1 April 2023,

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