RECORD: Darwin, C. R. Referee report of J. Prestwich's manuscript "On the Origin of the Parallel Roads of Lochaber" (5.1879) RoySoc-RR8.183 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.

P.S. Paper despatched today by Rail

May 28 1879


Mr Prestwick's paper on the Parallel Roads of Lochaber seems to me a very valuable contribution to this long disputed subject, & I strongly recommend it to be printed in extenso in the Transactions; for although the abstract is remarkably clear, the full details are necessary for any final judgement & would be indispensable to any one hereafter revisiting the district. There are


also many valuable, incidental discussions on glacial action.

It is to be regretted that the author does not explain how it was (considering the height of the surrounding mountains) that during the second glacial period the valleys were not swept clear of their detritus, including the parallel roads. With respect to illustrations, map I is indispensable: Map II does not seem necessary, but only advantageous. Of the wood-cuts Fig. 3 (viz a sketch of Glenroy) is hardly necessary, & perhaps two or three of the smaller


diagrams might be omitted, but their cost would be trifling.

Finally, I ought perhaps to caution the Council, that from having formerly attended to the Parallel Roads I may over-estimate the interest of the present memoir. On the other hand every one would will admit that so unique a phenomenon deserves the fullest consideration, standing as it does, in intimate connection with one of the most remarkable of all the epochs in the earth's history, namely the Glacial Period.

I remain, Sir
Yours obedient servant
Charles Darwin

To the Secy

Prestwich, Joseph. 1879. On the Origin of the Parallel Roads of Lochaber and Their Bearing on Other Phenomena of the Glacial Period. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 170: 663-726. See Correspondence Letter 12066.

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