RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1896. [Letters to James Croll 1868-71, 1877]. In Irons, James Campbell, Autobiographical sketch of Dr. Croll with memoir of his life and work. London, pp. 200-3; 215-7; 220-2; 257-8; 324. Edited by John van Wyhe (Darwin Online, http://darwin-online.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 5. 2022. RN1

NOTE: "Croll, James, 1821-90. Scottish man of science and geologist of Edinburgh. Correspondent of Lyell. 1869 CD to Lyell about C's estimates of geological time. CCD17. 1869 CD sent him 5th edn of Origin. 1875 Climate and time, in their geological relation."(Paul van Helvert & John van Wyhe, Darwin: A Companion, 2021)

For complete letters with important editorial notes see:

19 September 1868, in ML: 211.

24 September 1868, in ML2: 161-2.

4 December 1868, in Correspondence vol. 16, p. 878.

31 January 1869, in ML2: 162-4.

6 February 1869, in Correspondence vol. 17, p.

24 February 1869, in Correspondence vol. 17,  p.

19 July 1871, in Correspondence vol. 19, pp. 498-9.

9 August 1877, in ML: 212.

[page] 203


4th December 1868.

MY DEAR SIR,—As you may be anxious about the book, I write to say that I have received it, the MS. and your note. I will soon read the MS. and as you do not object, will perhaps keep the book till Christmas, as my second son, who is a mathematician, and who was extremely interested by your last papers, and who wished to read the others, will then be at home.—

Pray believe me, yours truly obliged, CHARLES DARWIN.


[page] 215



10th January 1869.

MY DEAR SIR,—I write one line to say that I am ashamed of myself for having kept your book so long, partly for my son's sake, and partly for my own sake, as I have not yet come to the place where I want to quote it. If I hear from you, I will send it at once; if I do not hear, I will keep it for about ten days more, and will then send it registered, so you shall get it safe. With sincere thanks, yours very faithfully, CHARLES DARWIN.

[page] 220



6th, February 1869.

MY DEAR SIR,—I am very much obliged for your long and to me extremely interesting letter. It is consolatory to me that you are inclined to give a little more age to the world. I read Mr. Moseley's article in Scientific Opinion about three or four weeks ago; I have had the house searched, but cannot find the copy. The article was given as extracted from the Proceedings of the Royal Society; but I have looked in the two last numbers which I have received, and it is not in them. Hence, I suppose, the author or secretary sent an abstract beforehand, and I suppose it will appear in the next number of the Proceedings. The article interested me,

though I could not follow all the reasoning, as I hear he is a sound man.

I was reminded of my crude notion that the cause

[page] 221

of elevations, volcanic phenomena, etc., was cosmical, by my son telling me about Captain Clark's paper in Philosophical Transactions, which you probably know, on the globe being a little flattened at the equator, that this stands in relation to relative position of continents and oceans. It would be a great gain if some one could show a cause of the many changes of level in the crust of the earth.—With very sincere thanks, believe me, yours very faithfully,




24th February 1869.

MY DEAR SIR,—I am very much obliged for the proofs, which have interested me greatly. I cannot pretend for a moment to form any judgment, but your view seems to me very ingenious. If accepted, it will be a most

[page] 222

satisfactory and great step in our knowledge of glacier movement.—In haste, yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.


[page] 257


The following letter from Mr. Charles Darwin shows in what esteem he held Croll, while Croll's reply is characteristically candid and modest.


19th July 1871.

MY DEAR SIR,— Mr. Youmans of the United States is very anxious to get a series of small monographs

[page] 258

written by the most competent English authors on various subjects, to be published in the United States and I suppose in England. Mr. Youmans is in some way connected with the great firm of Appletons in New York. He has asked me to name some of the most competent men, and I have thought that you would excuse my giving your name, and this note as a kind of introduction. I should add that I do not know on what subject he wishes you to write. I do, however, know that some very good judges think highly of his scheme. Pray excuse the liberty which I am taking, and believe me, yours very faithfully, CHARLES DARWIN.

P.S.—Many thanks for some interesting papers which you kindly sent me some time ago.



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