RECORD: Darwin, C. R. Referee report of S. Haughton's manuscript. (4.1878) RoySoc-RR8.107 Transcribed and edited by Kees Rookmaaker and John van Wyhe (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by Kees Rookmaaker and John van Wyhe 12.2011. RN1

NOTE: The images are © The Royal Society and are reproduced with permission.


[printed letter head]
Down, Beckenham, Kent. Railway Station, Orpington, S.E.R.

April 28th 1878


I cannot venture to express any decided opinion whether Prof. Haughton's paper is worth publishing in the Proceedings. It is desirable that geologists, who are now freely speaking about the displacement of the Poles, should see that if this be granted the presence of tropical & sub-tropical remains in the arctic regions


is not thus easily explained; & in so far Prof. Haughton's paper might be advantageously published. On the other hand the estimation of geological time is to the best of my judgement extremely wild: it is assumed that we have discovered the oldest sedimentary beds containing fossils: no allowance is made for great breaks in


the series, as between the cretaceous & tertiary formations: towards the close of the paper it apparently is assumed that sediment is deposited over the bed of the whole ocean; & various other objections could be raised. The conclusion which follows from his estimate, namely that a greater interval of time separates us from the miocene epoch than that between the


commencement of the secondary period & the miocene, seems almost monstrous, & is strongly opposed by other evidence. —

I cannot but doubt whether this part of the paper is worth printing; though as a ground rule it seems to me desirable that the views of an author who has studied any subject should be judged by the general public.

Your obedient servant
Ch. Darwin

To the Sec. R. Society



On still further reflexion, so many objections & difficulties arise, which if they could be answered, anyhow are not noticed in the paper, that I am inclined to advice that the paper shd not be published in its present form. The subject seems to require much fuller elaboration. —


Samuel Haughton's paper was not published in the Transactions. See Correspondence Letter 1488.

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