RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1935. [Letters to Robert Patterson, 1847-1860] In William E. Praeger, Six unpublished letters of Charles Darwin. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters 20: 711-5.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by John van Wyhe. RN1


[page] 712

[to Robert Patterson]
DOWN, FARNBOROUGH, KENT
April 17th. [1847]
DEAR SIR
I received only yesterday your note of the 9th. of March & very kind present. I fear you must have thought me ungrateful not sooner to have acknowledged your kindness; but owing to not having sent to the Geological Society for some time, the parcel lay there.
I admire your volume much; you seem to have condensed a wonderfully great deal of accurate information & the woodcuts are capital. I am very much pleased to hear that the Commissioners of Education have adopted your book, and I hope you may live to see some good naturalists spring up, who will acknowledge your work as their first guide and incitement. I beg to thank you for your kind expressions towards me in your note, I remain, dear Sir, with much respect.
Your obliged and faithful serv.
C. DARWIN
to R. PATTERSON ESQ.

[page] 713

[to Robert Patterson]
DOWN, FARNBOROUGH, KENT
Ap. 6th. [1854]
MY DEAR SIR
A sharp attack of unwellness has prevented my answering sooner your note of the 28th. ulto— Mr. Thompson sent me all his M.S. on Cirripeda & the whole of his collection, which filled a good sized box. I remember not long before his death returning all the M.S. & I feel almost sure I remember packing up all the specimens. I have looked in every likely place and can find none of his; but it is just possible that amongst the numbers sent me from various quarters, his may be overlooked. In the middle of summer or early autumn I intend returning every specimen which I have borrowed & shall then without fail discover whether I have any of your poor friends yet here. And in that case will communicate with you.—But I very strongly think that collection was returned. This instant my memory flashes across me that he, at my request, returned me one specimen for further examination (and which one I must somewhere have) but this demonstrates that the main collection had previously been returned to him.
Pray forgive this long note & believe me Dear Sir
Yours sincerely
C. DARWIN

[to Robert Patterson]
DOWN, FARNBOROUGH, KENT
Aug. 21 [1854]
DEAR SIR:—
I have now gone through all the cirripedes in the house, and I find some half dozen specimens (including some bottles) belonging to poor Thompson. None of these are of much value, excepting as being (at least some of them) rare as Irish.
I have also a few M.S. notes. Will you be so kind as to say how I shall send them. They are rather too heavy & being glass not fit to go by post. and they are not worth the carriage of so long a journey. Is there anywhere in London where they could lie till other objects accumulated? I am sorry to cause this trouble but would be much obliged if you could send me a line. Unfortunately I cannot say positively that I shall be at Liverpool; otherwise that probably would have been a good way of transmitting the specimens.
Pray believe me
Dear Sir
Yours sincerely
C. DARWIN
[to J. D. Hooker]
Down, September 8th [1856].
I got your letter of the 1st this morning, and a real good man you have been to write. Of all the things I ever heard, Mrs. Hooker's pedestrian feats beat them. My brother is quite right in his comparison of "as strong as a woman," as a type of strength. Your letter, after what you have seen in the Himalayas, etc., gives me a wonderful idea of the beauty of the Alps. How I wish I was one-half or one-quarter as strong as Mrs. Hooker: but that is a vain hope. You must have had some very interesting work with glaciers, etc. When will the glacier structure and motion ever be settled! When reading Tyndall's paper it seemed to me that movement in the particles must come into play in his own doctrine of pressure; for he expressly states that if there be pressure on all sides, there is no lamination. I suppose I cannot have understood him, for I should have inferred from this that there must have been movement parallel to planes of pressure.
Sorby read a paper to the Brit. Assoc., and he comes to the conclusion that gneiss, etc., may be metamorphosed cleavage or strata; and I think he admits much chemical segregation along the planes of division. I quite subscribe to this view, and should have been sorry to have been so utterly wrong, as I should have been if foliation was identical with stratification.
I have been nowhere and seen no one, and really have no news of any kind to tell you. I have been working away as usual, floating plants in salt water inter alia, and confound them, they all sink pretty soon, but at very different rates. Working hard at pigeons, etc., etc. By the way, I have been astonished at the differences in the skeletons of domestic rabbits. I showed some of the points to Waterhouse, and asked him whether he could pretend that they were not as great as between species, and he answered, "They are a great deal more." How very odd that no zoologist should ever have thought it worth while to look to the real structure of varieties...

[page] 714

[to Robert Patterson]
DOWN, BROMLEY, KENT
March 10th. [1857]
MY DEAR SIR
I am going to beg a great and troublesome favor of you,—I have been collecting skeletons of all varieties of Rabbits, & I want very much a real Irish Rabbit, the L. veomicule of our poor friend Thompson—Would you have the great kindness to take the trouble to procure me one. The only care requisite to be to get one not very severely shot, but especially not struck on the back of the head to kill it, as that part is easily injured & is very characteristic.
I enclose an address; and you will know whether to steamer to Liverpool & then per Railway, will be the cheapest and quickest route— I am fearful you will think me rather unreasonable in begging this favor.
Truly believe me
My dear Sir
Yours sincerely
CH. DARWIN
[to Robert Patterson]
Down, Bromley, Kent
Nov. 12 [1857]
My dear Mr. Patterson
The rabbits arrived safely last night after their long journey; & most sincerely do I thank you for the very great trouble you have taken to oblige me. Externally they seem to differ extremely little except perhaps in fulness of head, from the rabbit of this neighbourhood. But they shall be skeletonized.
I have now rabbits from Shetland, Madeira & Ireland and hope to receive one soon from Jamaica, so I shall have good means of comparison for (    ) to several domestic breeds
If you remember whenever you see Lord Massarene I hope you will present my thanks for his great kindness.—When I have done with the Rabbit Skeletons for my own purpose I shall present (    )    to the Brit. (    )  been thrown away & I well know that you work for Natural History from a pure love of Science
With my very sincere thanks pray believe me.

[page] 715

[to Robert Patterson]
Down, Bromley, Kent
Oct. 21 [1860]
My dear Sir
I [would] like to thank you for so kindly taking the trouble of communicating the Rat V. Rabbit case. I am very glad to have all such facts, but it is doubtful whether I would require to use it, so I will not give trouble to your informant of inquiring.
With many thanks, prey believe me my dear Sir
Yours sincerely
Ch. Darwin


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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)

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