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Darwin Correspondence Project

To David Thomas Ansted, assistant secretary, Geological Society of London1   [c. January 1845]2

Down nr Bromley | Kent


My dear Sir

I have written to Mr Lonsdale3 about the descriptive catalogue of Fuegian specimens.—

Mr. Lonsdale says he remembers well the large boxes being exposed, & that they were taken below in the crpt, & are labelled outside either “Tierra del Fuego” or “Patagonia” or “S. America” presented by either “Capt. King” or “Capt. FitzRoy”. He thinks probably that the Catalogues are inside one of these boxes & on the top of the specimens.

Would you be so kind as to direct Charlton4 to search for these boxes, which are large & heavy, for I well remember them.— Mr. Lonsdale says that if not there, the catalogue is probably in some table-drawer or cupboard in the upper museum.— & if not there, must be together with several other catalogues, belonging to the specimens in the upper museum.—

As it could not take long to have these places searched, would you oblige me by having this done by Wednesday.—5 If I cannot consult the catalogue soon, it will be useless to me.—6

I hope you have finished the labour of the first number of the Journal; I shall be exceedingly anxious to see it, & hope I may able to get one at the Society.

Pray believe me | My dear Sir | Your’s very sincerely | C. Darwin


Ansted served as assistant secretary of the Geological Society from 1844 to 1847 and edited the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society for many years.
The date is based on the reference to the appearance of the first issue of the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society in February 1845.
William Lonsdale, assistant secretary and librarian of the Geological Society from 1838 to 1842.
Isaac Charlton, the house steward of the Geological Society (Woodward 1907, pp. 243, 309).
CD attended council meetings of the Geological Society on 8 January and 5 February, either of which may have been the Wednesday referred to (see Correspondence vol. 3, Appendix II).
CD completed the manuscript of South America on 25 April 1845 (see ‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 3, Appendix II).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

South America: Geological observations on South America. Being the third part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1846.

Woodward, Horace B. 1907. The history of the Geological Society of London. London: Geological Society.


Asks about Fuegian specimens stored at the Geological Society. CD needs them soon.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 811,” accessed on 3 December 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3