RECORD: Darwin, C. R. Glen Roy notebook. (1838) CUL-DAR130.- Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker. (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker, corrections by John van Wyhe and Martin Rudwick 6-7.2009, revised by Rookmaaker and van Wyhe 11.2011. RN3

NOTE: This 116 X 73 mm notebook is bound in shiny black paper embossed with a spiral design. It has an integral pencil holder. The pencil is missing. It bears a label which reads "De la Rue & Co.'s Improved Metallic Memorandum Book. The point of the Pencil not being liable to break, and the writing being permanent, they will be found of great advantage to Commercial Gentlemen, Short-hand Writers, &c." In style the notebook is unlike any other Darwin notebook. It is similar to the Type 5 "VELVET PAPER MEMORANDUM BOOK" used by Darwin in the field during the Beagle voyage.

See the fully annotated transcription of this notebook by Sydney Smith, Paul H. Barrett and Peter J. Gautrey in Barrett, Paul H., Gautrey, Peter J., Herbert, Sandra, Kohn, David, Smith, Sydney eds. 1987. Charles Darwin's notebooks, 1836-1844 : Geology, transmutation of species, metaphysical enquiries. British Museum (Natural History); Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Editorial symbols used in the transcription:
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Reproduced with permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library and William Huxley Darwin.

[front cover]

Glen Roy

[inside cover]

[printed label:]
De la Rue & Co.'s
Memorandum Books.

The point of the Pencil notbing liable to break, an dthe writing being permanent, they will be found of reat advantage to Commercial Gentlemen, Short-hand Writers, &c.

There is some pencil writing on the label: m/n (w//i)

[facing inside cover] [blank]


Generally received opinion that male impresses offspring more indelibly than female p 367

Quarterly Journal of Agricl Dec 1837

Yet instances given against it —

Mere fact of many races of Animals


in Britain shows that either races soon made or crosses difficult

Salisbury Craigs

The Highland shepherds dogs coloured like Magellanic fox. . an instance of Provincial breeds.

<a part of the page is excised>


Veins of Segregation in Salisbury Craigs


<a part of the page is excised>


Salisbury Craigs

V. Specimens —
Veins, amygdaloidal — as well as base not always parallel to strata

3 or 4 seams / 3 or 4 inches thick —




35º is I believe about greatest dip of sandstone in upper part of Salisbury Craigs

25º perhaps most common —


Will not curved form of hill be explained by my idea —

highest part must project

8 [blank]



East End near Holyrood Palace


In same way at top trap could be traced

Grey in front on wall

perhaps wall oblique

The hill has been well — denuded. —

of hard metamorph path only covering


Great Slip, 10 years since three hundred feet in vertical height — enormous mass

thunder storm, many hundred thousand tuns.

Black faced sheep, sometimes mottled with white black legs & tail like species in colouring


Strike an analogy between pleasures of association, & passions, such as love —

dislike & f passion of hatred

To fullfil an instinct a pleasure; mem. Shepherd dogs


The Patches of Conglomerate on S. Ventana, excellent instance, how accidental is the preservation in situ of even imperishable pebbles.

I am nearly certain there were none on surface of any hill

On side of Hill South of upper end of Loch Dochart buttresses of Alluvium or rather mass of well rounded pebbles in


yellowish argillaceous or sandy soil —

These Buttresses formed vestige of irregular terrae perhaps near 300 ft above Loch. — From this point could be followed up to neighbourhood of Tyndrum where a large sort of plain space is


thickly studded with ridges & flat topped hill / do alluvium

NB In one part pure sand in current cleavage — in other irregular horizontal strata I suppose these upper patches if prolonged would


intersect valley above the 300 ft Alluvium abo by Loch Dochart —

Rivers could not have deposited it. Barrier of lake very lofty, & no trace of it; to the


sea more probable
I did not look carefully for Marine remains. —

Some of the hills almost appeared as if they belonged to double series

Whole very obscure but it is certain


there must once have been very considerable mass of waterworn pebbles in Alluvium which without lake or sea could not be placed in present position


Thursday Evening 1/2 past 8

29.625 29.636 Temp. 62

Friday morning 1/4 past seven o’clock
29.642 Temp 55 Air 50º ?
Friday. Inverorum
about 20 ft above Loch Tulla
29.804 Temp 62º Air 60°


Below Loch Tulla whole wide valley scattered with few very small & irregular hills of alluvium — nothing very striking yet possibly sea more probably than river —

No exact terraces but appearances, as if valley had been filled with sloping bed of rubbish



Highest part of road between Inverorum & King's House
28.935/82d A
Temp of Air 65º ?
Glenoe, 6 ft above high water mark
30.380. 68°
65º ?

For comparison with all the measure before


There some of the half rounded gravel nearly as high as highest measurement but nature I am quite doubtful of as I am of all the Alluvium.

At mouth of Caledonian Canal opposite Loch Leven


two terraces perhaps upper one 100 ft & other one 40 —

traces of them all along Glencoe. —

towards Fort William yet in Glencoe in parts no trace of them —


Mem Coast of Chile — ؟ is not Mica Slate too hard & uneven to be impressed

Case of Birch Wood by Inverorum being determined by sheep & not deer


When Black faced sheep are crossed with English my informant said the lambs were nearly like each other & half between parents (& not like dogs), but they thought the breed liable to vary — I asked this question in many ways & received same answer

Thought lambs most like mother! —


the cross not so hardy but more easily fatten,

This man confirmed the account of the young Shepherd dogs


Before coming to Bridge of Spean, hills of sea sand,, gravel, current cleavage, & pretty well rounded stones, mixed with some quite irregular


very like rubbish at head of Loch Dochart nea Above Spean Bridge many flat terraces one above much inclined towards river all these composed — where side ravine entered terraces formed successive bays but plains sloped


centre-wards which would not have happened if the side-streamlet had cut them out — In all cases I urge deposition marine — because if not chain of lake & if so there would be barrier — recollect


the case of loch in below by pass of Glencoe —

the erosion may often be due to rivers —

By Roy Bridge, a tongue of flat land, with terraces of each side of the two valleys


corresponding as in Andes, composed of sand & perfectly rounded stones — lake required to deposit this

Remember however the great Chilian valley Acongua, must there have deposited much — On other hand remember modelling power of sea N of Valparaiso


are those animals subject to much variation which have lately acquired their peculiarities?

The slope of A & B regular & even towards


river & to West of Spean difficult to explain on formation deposition in lake

On the summit & on Spean side of Meal —

Derry there were perfectly rounded base pebbles of quartz & other rocks not apparently in situ & in hill being gneiss & also also near summit on Hill on side of Inn boulder of granite above 4th Shelf a little lower down the hillock with beach & channel precisely as with Isld


double terrace


[continuation of page 33]


line on N. side of Spean most clear & upper line running up great bight just as Dick shows

NB. Lake gradually draining off would form plains such as those near Bridge Roy (& other cases) but then if gradually drained, where is barrier





In Glen Collarig, when water up to shelf very shallow channel 50 ft wide & river get formed in centre

In Glen Collarig, on side of Hill of Bohunthine upper road (2) extends as far nearly as house, the 3d below them


opposite to where side ravine enters

On opposite side of valley both extend below the Houses

The Hills in this neighbourhood appear very round-topped with much drainage & far more earthy than what is usual —
Lines die away where slope


less., best developed on steep earthy slope, two circumstances rarely united. — die away also, without any cause, must be tides. &c.

[sketch] ditch
roads very much this character. —


The boulders (one of Gneiss remarkably water worn) are often times of rock not in immediate neighbourhood, (as granite or gneiss of Moel Deny) on low hill between Inn & Bouhunthine the summit doubtless worn into coincidence, has beach or band of pebbles on line of 4th shelf. —


Even on Lauder Dicks Hypothesis impossible to explain absence of lines in certain parts. —

At the Pass of Glen Collarig two little lines of Hill (judging from external form alluvium) descend from shelf 3d & almost meet,


but are separated by flat bottomed strait, connecting flat on one side with irregular gravel plain of other, which must have been waterworn after 3d lake. —

4th shelf runs up some way on great sloping plain of


alluvium (much corroded by rivers) & not to head of plain. — but below houses where rivulet enters two great projecting butresses, upper slope of which corresponds to shelf the truncation & the


upper shores may correspond with some line subsequent to shelf


In Glen Collarig, by Dicks theory lake burst in most improbable part & not in Pass, where shallowest

In Glen Collarig good case of shelves entering on one side ravine.


Are the lip, or necks of land on level with shelves effect of corrosion & not cause.


a rapid descent of a terrace except at very head of valley indicates new terrace


Ballivard 2 miles North of Grant town to Forrest road comminuted shells

Important contingency if elevation from Axis, then rivers might deposit, & afterwards


with greater cut through, not applicable to Glen Roy

Lake, must have remained very long at 4th shelf from size of buttresses, to upper edge of which they cut near Loch Treig —



Bridge of Roy
Level of bed of River
Temp of air 65º ?
There are two terraces on the East side of river & bed of river about 40 ft beneath general plain.


30.127 A 72º
Air 65º ?
at level of upper terrace

The buttresses of Alluvium rise nearly up to Glen Collarig up within 200 ft of level of 4th shelf= argument against river — composition & —


stratification argument detritus —
where buttresses on 4th shelf: others lines not so level because of upper edge of cliff Others below it — argument for lake or sea at successive levels —
shelf of opposite


Glen Collarig at bend & here most accumulations

At gentler bends roads disappear

The normal condition of 4th shelf, some way below House


of Glen Roy, seems to be which higher up on is corroded

Could earthquake cause collection of sediment?


Where ravines enter side by, opposite entrance into Glen Fintec a kind of landing place is formed


Ben Erin summit
27.813. 65
Boulder of Granite
Granite — band 4X3 feet & 2 deep


Another rather smaller block 30 ft above & other 50 ft lower & other smaller ones

these boulders are decaying.

neighbouring rock gneiss & [rilany] sandstone actually resting on them on summit of hill rounded, site N N W of Ben Erin


Shelf of Glen Guoy
Divortium aquarum

NB In Glen Collarig tidal channel, sides alm 15 ft above bank or terrace, from terrace of 2d shelf


Level of shelf of Glen Guoy form comparison with granite block & Ben Erin
29.287. 72º
Air 65 ?


Where a buttress projects from side of hill if line suppose continued across to side removed all well & good, but


how came river to do this vast quantity when during repose of lake it did but little more
now that it has got to the rock of cols if —

why should it deposits


River terraces often descend by flights the terraces if the largest has hollowed out most



Shelf 3d dies away almost imperceptibly on Glen Turrit side

2nd shelf very broad& cut out, produced from same cause as great spit is or plain now formed on shelf 4th

2d & 3d can be traced some way up, but most faintly on East side of Glen Turrit, where


I believe they end in upwards inclined plains, as in Corry. & as as I believe in side ravine above houses of Roy
Maccullochs supernumerary shelf I doubt, much about 50 or 60 ft no doubt, a mound of Alluvium nearly parallel —
Inclination of river must constantly alter with falling sea & so corrode


plain into terrace as regressed

What alter a balance there must be in power of rivers either bringing more detritus than they corrode or vice versa
Same inclination when serpentine might remove, what above straight line only cut deep gorge


on sea hypothesis, if gullies not now formed (Mac. hypoth,) the level during any oscillation must have been so carefully preserved as to have thrown water in same drainage lines


Mounds of druids thought wonderful — that they are preserved

how much more so, these lines & even water-scooped rock only decay from fragment falling of no particular hardness; no wonder that all three lines should be equally preserved

2d or upper one more perfect


in this part glen than 3d.

3(a) less perfect than upper & lower but quite as perfect as those lines in Glen Collarig, & some other parts

Boulders of same granite, all on these three shelves


soil is the usually slaty

Point of rounded not scooped rock on bend of 3 (a)

Cannot see make out composition of shelves: generally angular except near head of valley

fragments which had fallen before lake drained could be told from some of those since fallen.


on the 3 shelves

Solid rock is much notched

on Maculloch’s supposition; —

the old ravine, where water entered are not proportionately large to those now formed in same


spot by present torrents

Maculloch wrong in saying no transported materials into on upper shelves granite & some other rocks at head of shelf 3d almost all granite pebbles


Level of plain of 4th shelf at head of Lower Glenroy
29.581 A 82
From this point plain appears like one uniform slope slightly bending up each main valley. — & that river


alone had modified it — perhaps however sea also, —

Barometer on shelf
3d . 29.455
A 83°
∴ plain of 4th shelf slope, above line of 4th shelf

This shelf at head where granite & veined gneiss unite occurs abundantly with perfectly rounded pebbles of granite & forming sloping buttresses


Yet certainly shelf 4th near only usually contains many pebbles, but I believe this is chiefly caused by its being lower, — (no pebbles in parts of Beagle Channel when mica slate, only sand blow away)

Where lines appear


to cross stony parts; appearance chiefly cause by fall of angular masses from above on soft shelf —
29.330 A 84°

compare this with last measurement of shelf of 3d: — granite block a yard across.


On side of that hill, in front of which shelf 3d form beach of granite pebbles, & around which shelf 2d almost forms it into island — whole hill composed of remarkable gneiss with red granite veins & quartz, &


garnets. —
Boulders as before certainly must have come been drifted here:

on very summit no granite — (in valley there are granite) boulders
hill with boulders


Right Hand Cascade has cut where two branches unite in upper Glen Roy very little back from line 2d; little action since that shelf formed

Upper terrace near Loch Spey
A 79°


A little below Divortium on slope towards Loch Spey

A 79. 1/2
about 12 ft higher than last station
divortium aquarum
true terrace 2d near divortium aquarum is a lip with it — Dick right — Mac mistook terrace also right —


Granite such as boulder on thes Diyortium aquarum

Peaty Mass of this point very nearly like head of Glen Guoy nor is horizontal line apparently continuation of upper terrace — on right hand


side of Loch Spey forms terrace about 60 feet above Loch

trace of this terrace on will Granite ridge or a modified Granite ridge at head of Glen Roy on same side where two rivers unite in Upper Glen Roy great


plain about 60 ft beneath shelf —

peat on pebbles — tidal plain as sea gradually retired, hard to explain on river doctrine


[sentenced crossed through] Little Hill with granite blocks almost encircled

fre Gneiss cut smooth on sides of hill where Boulder lies.

buttresses occur high up on Shelf 2d in Upper Glen Roy


In this upper part about junction of Upper & from Glenroy near the upper shelfs ground strewed with pebbles

Shelf 3d runs up with buttresses on each side very little way in Upper Glen Roy at pass
side of valley


Granite blocks on this side (return) between 2d & 3d shelf

Mountain Mica composed of Gneiss

Block on 2d shelf & below it some way; several large ones (one 6 ft across) on top of spit between river & dry Corry


Scarcely conceivable. if Hill between Corry so much cut Granite could have remained, no peat supply. —

Consider profoundly Boulder hypothesis

Thursday, from Glen Turrit to Fort Augustus

Barom on upper (rather above)? shelf
A. 69°
Air 68°?


Barom 29.008
A. 75°
Air 70° ?

This station a little way down slope of obscure terraces (& conical hills on same) of semi waterworn & some partly well worn pebbles — which river could not have deposited
the slope is continued some hundred


feet lower & begins about 60 higher —

There are however fringes of alluvium (?) still higher

Slope of valley much more gentle than in Glen Roy, & partly shut in

No Granite blocks in higher parts??

Bought Glen name of Glen by which we


descended, it is to the west of Glen Tarf

What I called Alluvium shows the ascending fringes

which makes me think it submarine, 400 or more feet above station! There is long straight isthmus connecting


E & W connecting Glen Bought & Glen Tarf a perfect old Loch, making several two divortiums aquarum, viz two branches of River Bought & between one of these & Glen Tarf


Hill Cairn taw leer peak
Barom 28.700. A.75°
Boulder, much covered by turf 2 ft 8 long of syenite with pinkish felspar; — whole hill dark grey fine grained. Much contorted gneiss
narrow sharp ridge with peak

I walked all round


hill. Boulder about 20 ft below summit
XX Barom 28.92 A 75
Air 70° ?


Isthmus broad flat peat mass — (general character in these mountains & not ridges) between arm of Glen Bright flowing into E. end of L. Oich, & waters flowing into west end with obscure terraces on one side
Barom 29.200 A 80


for about 3/4 of mile on one S side of this Isthmus (which runs E & W)

broad terrace of pebbles? & Alluvium which appear perfectly level, or op dies away on gradual slope —

: on N side dies away on rocky place, but narrow shelves just like road of Glen Roy — appears to lip with moss


On this terrace station perhaps 6 ft too low (to test last on Peat-Mass Divortium aquarum)
Barom. 29.200
Air 70° ?
A 77°
Barom .066 lower than last, but station was a few about 3 feet lower too high

about a quarter of a mile further on, where three river abutted


Having crossed the mouth, (deep) of above valley this road level with Peat moss most distinct then lost by slope, then concealed by fragments, then clear. this bit to eye certainly appears level with road, & with piece of excised rock lost at point of valley chiefly from rockiness


When on other side
Shelf A at head of Gentle mossy slope, which from a distance hid it, could be followed for at least 2 miles on dead level by eye to moss
on this terrace
Barom. 29.264 A 82
75° ?


This last measurement turns out too low, (NB .260 would have been more correct) there were several obscure but not far continuous flights above it —

(NB. the buttress or pass at Isthmus appears above level of shelf certainly)
I took another measurement on short buttress but not continuous & it


was 29.200
minus .008 [equals] .192
Loch Lochy 3 ft above water
Barom: 30.372 A 76°
The River the of which the source is a lip with the new shelf flows into canal between L. Lochy & Oich.


is a brook on the Lochy side of it — the terraces of which, last measurements belong are so complicated, that nothing can be made out of them — but it may be said that a mound stretches along, parallel to


Shelf on opposite side & dies away on the steep & rocky gully of last stream
Friday Loch Lochy near Letter Finlay
Barom 30.267, A 68
Air 65° ?
372 [minus] 267 [equals] 105
about 28.75 I reached


Preservation of form of land very much due to Peat & Heather — When it did not grow at first — relics destroyed. —
the Brook about Head of which is so interesting. enters by old tower called Glengarry


(Nead Roy told me) it is impossible to see my new shelf, from road:
Loch Ness
30.140. A 66°
.0458 or 6
difference between bedrock & Loch Ness
Donald Macphee


Saturday Morning
29.958 A 64°,
air 60°
Evening do

The extreme right arm of River Tarf. it has a very long, flat divatium aquarum with, left of Bright. — like bed of lake with trace of terraces on each side
High up the Tarf


(a Granite (boulder), sloping buttresses, and one alternate curved layer of fine sand & small angular — rounded pebbles — dip sideward, & inwards — deposited when water stood at higher


Loch Keeper tells me, that Loch Lochy is 8 ft below Loch Oich wh is 92 ft above sea
Loch Ness 40 ft above


do. When cutting bank where Locks now are (32 ft rise) they found alternating layers of coarse & fine & many Sea shells. My informant saw them himself —


Sand with tide ripple
Near Fort Augustus hill & fringe as if it had been filled up at 30 ft. higher with pebbles now worn away —
The above shells must have been


about 60 ft above sea — soon decayed on exposure

Mr H. C. Watson Geographical distribution of British Plants


Shropshire Quartz what substance is collected in little spots

Speculate on under head of Beagle Channel. Forchammers (Lyells Denmark) Shrewsbury rubbish. — Speculate on origin pebbles brought by different cause: from mud. —
3 4

110-118 [blank]


Wenlock Edge


[continuation of sketch on p. 119]

121 [blank]


L. Lochy 12 ft
96 L. Oich


29.958 [minus] 1.17 [equals] 28.788
30.372 [minus] 29.200 [equals] 1.172
Loch Oich 92
each Loch 8 ft.


<top of page excised>

The Metamorphic conglomerates near Loch Lochy would be well worth examining —

Inverness & waters of the Tarf —

Kilfinnan Tower

where stream enters at head of which hill is round


& not merely thoughts laying dormant

Man from Glen Turret said he learnt to know the lambs because most like Mother in face — asked stated this generally the case

<bottom of page excised>


Wednesday 12/ & 3/

Why is the Tetrao scoticus & Tetrao — not an American form

The union of two instincts crossing most remarkable ؟ ever obseved?

Shows that nervous brain makes thought

[facing inside cover] [blank]

[inside back cover] [blank]

[back cover]

Glen Roy

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