RECORD: Anon. 1836-7. [Reports of Darwin's communications read to the Cambridge Philosophical Society 1835-7]. The London and Edinburgh philosophical magazine and journal of science 8, no. 43 (January 1836): 79, 80; 10, no. 61 (April 1837): 316.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by John van Wyhe and Kees Rookmaaker, edited by van Wyhe 1.2011. RN1

NOTE: Details of Darwin's presentations to the Cambridge Philosophical Society have not been previously published as the Society's minutes have been used rather than the press reports. Here both are combined.

[page] 79

[Report of meetings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society]

November 16. [...] Extracts were also read of letters from C. Darwin, Esq., of Christ College, to Professor Henslow, containing an account of the geological phaenomena of some parts of the Andes.1

1 Published as Darwin 1835. These letters were read, without Darwin's knowledge, at a meeting of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 16 November 1835. The minutes record: 'Extracts were read of letters from C. Darwin Esq. of Christ's College containing accounts of the Geology of certain parts of the Andes and S. America. Observations by Prof. Sedgwick and Henslow.'

[page] 80

Dec. 14 [...] Afterwards a communication was also read from C. Darwin, Esq., containing a notice that animals (lizards, &c.) which are oviparous in certain districts of South America, as they are in this country, are viviparous in the province of Mendoza, which he visited. Mr. Darwin also gave an account of red snow observed by him in the road from St. Jago de Chili to Mendoza, by the Portello pass, and of a microscopical examination of the substance.1

1 In the minutes of the Cambridge Philosophical Society for 14 December 1835, item 6 records: 'communications from C. Darwin, Esq., on Viviparous Lizards and on Red Snow'. The 'red snow' was first recorded in the St. Fe notebook, p. 126a and discussed in an entry dated 20 March 1835 in Zoology notes, pp. 286-7; Beagle diary, p. 309, Journal of researches, pp. 394-5, and Beagle plants, pp. 207-9. Keynes identified the 'spores' as the alga Chlamydomonas nivalis, Zoology notes, p. 288. The lizards collected by Darwin, Claude Gay, and others are described in Reptiles.

[page] 316

Feb. 27. [...] Mr. C. Darwin exhibited various specimens of rocks, collected by him in a voyage round the world, made in His Majesty's ship Beagle, Capt. Fitzroy, and occupying five years. These specimens were—tubes of fused sand (produced by lightening?) found near the Rio Plata; a white calcereous incrustation alternately formed and removed on the rocks of Ascension Island by a periodical change in the direction of the swell; a black incrustation formed by the spray on the tidal rocks at Ascension; a white hard calcereous rock formed rapidly at Ascension; a recent calcereous formation indurated by the contact of lava at St. Jago, one of the Cape de Verde islands.1

1 The minutes of the General Meeting of the Cambridge Philosophical Society on 27 February 1837 record: 'An account by Mr C. Darwin of fused sand tubes found near the Rio Plata, which were exhibited along with several other specimens of rocks.' Details are provided in this press report that are not given in the minutes. Darwin's paper was not published in the Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. The glass tubes were discussed in Journal of researches, pp. 69-71.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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