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To the Geological Society of London   28 March [1840]


Feels he has no choice but to comply with the request of Council that he remain in office. Is reluctant to do so as his health has caused him to miss meetings and he has never once attended without suffering the next day. Cannot hold office beyond next anniversary meeting.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Geological Society of London
Date:  28 Mar [1840]
Classmark:  Geological Society of London (GSL/L/R/5/56)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-562

From David Milne   28 March 1840


Comments on CD’s paper on South American volcanoes [Trans. of the Geol. Soc. of London, 2d ser., pt 3, 5 (1840): 601–31]. Jets of steam or flame issuing from the side of a hill in Glen Almond.

Author:  David Milne Home
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  28 Mar 1840
Classmark:  Milne Home 1891, pp. 69–72
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-562F

From Benjamin Silliman   7 April 1840


Thanks CD for a copy of his Journal of researches which is "not second in interest and instruction to any work of the kind I have ever read".

Author:  Benjamin Silliman, Sr
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  7 Apr 1840
Classmark:  DAR 204: 184
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-565

To William Kemp   1[8] May [1840]


CD has read WK’s abstract in the Scotsman, 15 February 1840, p. 3, and asks for further details.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Kemp
Date:  1[8] May [1840]
Classmark:  Cambridge University Library (MS Add. 10252/2) (gift of Ruth Cramond and David Cramond)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-565F

To Thomas Walker   5 May [1840]


Acknowledges TW’s letter supplying him with William Kemp’s address.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Walker
Date:  5 May [1840]
Classmark:  Jim Somerville (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-565G

From W. C. Redfield   6 May 1840


Thanks CD for information about Captain Tillard’s account of the volcanic eruption in the Azores in 1811.

Author:  William C. Redfield
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  6 May 1840
Classmark:  Yale University: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (William C. Redfield’s outbound letter book 1835–41 (z117 00151 2), pp. 179–80)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-565H

From B. J. Sulivan   12 May 1840


Gives CD the results of some calculations for "dip" over different distances, as requested.

Author:  Bartholomew James Sulivan
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  12 May 1840
Classmark:  DAR 177: 274
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-566

To Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce   13 May [1840–2]


Informs correspondent that he wrote to William Walton all that he knew about the guanaco.

Present state of his health prevents his acceptance of invitation to attend the meeting of the Society.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  secretary of R. Soc Arts
Date:  13 May [1840-2]
Classmark:  Royal Society of Arts (RSA/PR/MC/104/10/28)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-567

To A. Y. Spearman   20 May 1840


The fourth number of part one of the Zoology has now been published. The Smith, Elder & Co. account is submitted.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Alexander Young Spearman, 1st baronet
Date:  20 May 1840
Classmark:  The National Archives (TNA) (T1/4524 paper 25824)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-568A

To Robert Fitzroy   [20 February 1840]


Cancelled. Same as To Robert FitzRoy   [20 February 1840]. Dated 21 [May 1840], in first edition of the printed Calendar, but cancelled before the second edition.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Robert FitzRoy
Date:  [20 Feb 1840]
Classmark:  DAR 144: 117
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-569

To Charles Babbage   26 May [1840]


Asks if he can bring his guests, J. C. L. and Mme [Simonde de] Sismondi and [Fanny] Allen, to CB’s parties.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Babbage
Date:  26 May [1840]
Classmark:  The British Library (Add MS 37191: 294–5)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-570

To J. M. Herbert   [after 5 June 1840]


Writes to find whether the date of the event [JMH’s marriage?] has been fixed.

Has been unwell and does not yet feel up to work.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Maurice Herbert
Date:  [after 5 June 1840]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.19)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-571

To W. D. Fox   [7 June 1840]


Family news.

CD’s health is improving, but he has scarcely put pen to paper in the last half-year, and everything in the publishing line is going backwards.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  [7 June 1840]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 60)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-572

To J. S. Henslow   3 July [1840]



Describes an orange tree with curious "horned" fruit; sends specimen. Asks if the horns represent "metamorphoses of some organ into the fruit orange".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  3 July [1840]
Classmark:  DAR 93: A5–6
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-573

From Susan and Catherine Darwin   [22 July 1840]


Reference to W. Smellie’s Natural history [1791] requested by CD.

Author:  Susan Elizabeth Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [22 July 1840]
Classmark:  DAR 261.11: 24 (EH 88206076)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-575

To G. N. Smith   [c. 15 August 1840]


Questions GNS on remains found in caves on Caldy Island. [CD’s pencilled queries sent via Frances Allen].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gilbert Nicholas Smith
Date:  [c. 15 Aug 1840]
Classmark:  Tenby Museum
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-576

To John Phillips   [November 1840]


Sends his paper on earthquakes [(1840), Collected papers 1: 53–86]. Now sets less value on theoretical reasoning in geology than when he wrote it.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Phillips
Date:  [Nov 1840]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.22)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-578

To John Gould   [after 1 December 1840]


Feels he cannot keep the gift of Gould’s "magnificent work" or take out a subscription now that he is a married man.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Gould
Date:  [after 1 Dec 1840]
Classmark:  Profiles in History (dealers) (12 December 2012)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-578F

From J. S. Henslow   2 November 1840



Would like further experimentation to confirm report about germination of wheat from Egyptian tombs. Sir G. Wilkinson may have been deceived by the Arabs.

Author:  John Stevens Henslow
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Nov 1840
Classmark:  DAR 205.2: 236
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-579

To the Geological Society of London   18 November [1840]


Recommends that Consul Chatfield’s communication on an earthquake in San Salvador [read 5 Feb 1840; Proc. Geol. Soc. Lond. 3 (1840): 179] not be published in Transactions.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Geological Society of London
Date:  18 Nov [1840]
Classmark:  Geological Society of London (GSL/COM/P/4/2/35)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-580
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