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To Charles Lyell   30 July 1837

Summary

Galapagos land birds and reptiles.

No two naturalists agree on any fundamental idea [of species]. "Everything is arbitrary."

Has been with Richard Owen going over the S. American fossils.

Has worked out the non-relation between animals’ bulk and luxuriance of vegetation.

The horse once common on the Pampas. The mystery of the extinction of these animals.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  30 July 1837
Classmark:  Kinnordy MS (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-367

To Charles Lyell   [19 December 1837]

Summary

Responds to Lyell’s query [missing] about northern and southern limits of coral islands of the Pacific. Warns that coral islands are much more thinly distributed than people realise and cites examples. Comments on views of Matthew Flinders. Reading work of É[lie] de B[eaumont]. Notes difficulty of setting an east-west boundary to coral islands.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [19 Dec 1837]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.9)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-394

From William Fullerton Lindsay-Carnegie to Charles Lyell   [14 February 1838]

Summary

Impressed by CD’s theory [of earthworm action].

Author:  William Fullerton Lindsay-Carnegie
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [14 Feb 1838]
Classmark:  DAR 170: 3
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-402

From Robert Bastard James to Charles Lyell   [c. 10 March 1838]

Summary

Sends four samples of dust blown on board his ship from the coast of Africa, nearly 400 miles away, during four days in March 1838. Gives careful descriptions and relates the tests he made of it [see Collected papers 1: 200].

Author:  Robert Bastard James
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [c. 10 Mar 1838]
Classmark:  DAR 168: 43
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-405

To Charles Lyell   9 August [1838]

Summary

Comments on receiving copy of Lyell’s Elements [of geology]. Much is new to CD, and he is copying out notes and references.

Criticises geological work of John Phillips.

Describes expedition to Glen Roy, about which he is writing a paper ["Parallel roads of Glen Roy" (1839), Collected papers 1: 87–137].

Enjoys the Athenaeum Club.

Criticises entomological work of F. W. Hope.

Asks Lyell to obtain for him a copy of barometric readings made at Leith.

Asks him to ascertain altitude of several Scottish lochs.

Comments on FitzRoy’s character.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  9 Aug [1838]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.10)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-424

To Charles Lyell   [14] September [1838]

Summary

Comments on an article in Edinburgh Review [by David Brewster, 67 (1838): 271–308] on Comte’s Philosophie positive.

Discusses falsity of Élie de Beaumont’s views of contemporaneous parallel lines of elevation and subsidence.

Owen’s views of relationship of reptiles to birds.

On "question of species" CD has filled notebook after notebook with facts, "which begin to group themselves clearly under sub-laws".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [14] Sept [1838]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.11)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-428

To Charles Lyell   [12 November 1838]

Summary

Announces his engagement to Emma Wedgwood.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [12 Nov 1838]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.12)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-432

To Charles Lyell   [c. 9 January 1839]

Summary

Discusses his Glen Roy paper [(1839), Collected papers 1: 87–137], which he is sending to CL.

Remarks on Charles MacLaren’s treatment of alluvium. Comments on alluvial action in Lochaber.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [c. 9 Jan 1839]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.15)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-480

To Charles Lyell   [19 February 1840]

Summary

Remarks on his illness and treatment.

Discusses MS [of Coral reefs] and changes in his view of coral reefs since Journal of researches. Mentions C. G. Ehrenberg’s observations on coral reefs.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [19 Feb 1840]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.21)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-554

To Charles Lyell   [21 February – 4 April 1841]

Summary

Answers a number of queries from Lyell concerning geography and geology of Chiloé Island and its relationship to the Cordilleras.

Asks about "perched rocks" on Jura and notes their relevance to Louis Agassiz’s theory. Discusses Agassiz’s view on Jura.

Mentions seeing Robert Brown.

Notes R. I. Murchison’s discovery of shells in central England.

Weakness of negative evidence.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [21 Feb – 4 Apr 1841]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.26)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-590

To Charles Lyell   [March 1841]

Summary

Discusses the role of ice in determining the geological features of the Jura. Mentions view of Agassiz. Objects to idea of "a [sea of ice] carrying rocks". Notes Agassiz’s earlier view of "ice expanded in the line of the Great Swiss Valley". Comments on Pentlands.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [Mar 1841]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.27)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-592

To Charles Lyell   [9 March 1841]

Summary

Defends his theory [in "Parallel roads of Glen Roy" (1839), Collected papers 1: 87–137] against the view that the "roads" were formed by glacial action.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [9 Mar 1841]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.23)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-594

To Charles Lyell   [12 March 1841]

Summary

Discusses at length Louis Agassiz’s book [Études sur les glaciers (1840)] and Agassiz’s explanation of moraines. Defends his own theory of the importance of floating ice. Relates glacier theory to his own interpretation of Glen Roy.

Mentions a paper he is writing on South American boulders and till [Collected papers 1: 145–63].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [12? Mar 1841]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.25)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-595

To Charles Lyell   6 [July 1841]

Summary

Discusses various types of coral reefs on which he has been collecting notes. Views of C. G. Ehrenberg. His conception of the formation of Bermuda.

Pessimistic about the effect of his poor health on his scientific work.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  6 [July 1841]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.24)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-602

To Charles Lyell   [September–December 1842]

Summary

Discusses relationship of subsidence to the formation of coral reefs.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [Sept–Dec 1842]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.30)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-605

To Charles Lyell   [5 and 7 October 1842]

Summary

Cancelled: same as DCP-LETT-649. Discusses growth of various species of coral. Explains significance of dead reefs.

Describes meeting of the Council of the Geological Society; the controversy involving Edward Charlesworth.

Mentions conversations with William Lonsdale about Lonsdale’s work on corals and the financial support for his work.

Murchison’s views on glaciation in Wales.

Agassiz’s observations at Glen Roy.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  5 and 7 Oct 1842
Classmark:  CUL DAR 146: 149
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-645

To Charles Lyell   [5 and 7 October 1842]

Summary

Discusses growth of various species of coral. Explains significance of dead reefs.

Describes meeting of the Council of the Geological Society; the controversy involving Edward Charlesworth.

Mentions conversations with William Lonsdale about Lonsdale’s work on corals and the financial support for his work.

Murchison’s views on glaciation in Wales.

Agassiz’s observations at Glen Roy.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  5 and 7 Oct 1842
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.28)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-649

To Charles Lyell   [November–December 1842]

Summary

Believes "absurd letter" hastily read at last Geological Society Council meeting was from Charlesworth’s solicitor. Suggests that it may have been sent to entrap the Council and that it should be read over carefully.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [Nov–Dec 1842]
Classmark:  British Library (Surrogate RP 7381(i))
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-653

To Charles Lyell   [15 or 22 September 1843]

Summary

Mentions expected birth of child [Henrietta Emma].

BAAS meeting.

Comments on letters from G. R. Waterhouse and William Lonsdale.

Describes survival of apparently "fossil" seeds sent by W. Kemp.

Is at work on MS [of Volcanic islands].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [15 or 22] Sept 1843
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.32)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-696

To Charles Lyell   [16 December 1843]

Summary

Description and defence of his view of the tosca in Banda Oriental, along the Rio Uruguay and at the Rio Negro, taking issue with A. D. d’Orbigny. Refers to the pumice in the Patagonian Territory. Two tables show the layered tosca formation along the Uruguay.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  [16 Dec 1843]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.33)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-724
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