RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1934. [Letters to W. Lonsdale, 1839 and J. J. Weir 1868-1869]. Maggs Bros. Autograph letters: historical documents…no. 593. London, p. 27. 

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 10.2023. RN1

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Darwin, C. R. 1840. On the connexion of certain volcanic phenomena in South America; and on the formation of mountain chains and volcanos, as the effect of the same powers by which continents are elevated. [Read 7 March.] Transactions of the Geological Society of London (Ser. 2) 5 (3): 601-631, pl. 49, 3 figs. Text Image PDF F1656

[page] 27

57 DARWIN (CHARLES, 1809-1882). Naturalist and Author.


8 1/2 pp., 8vo. Together, £15 15s

Three extremely interesting letters relating to Darwin's Paper on Earthquakes.

[To William Lonsdale [8 March 1839]]

"I have at last finished my earthquake paper. I have read it so often over, thinking more of the sense than the wording, that I cannot improve it. Each word seems by an inevitable doom to stand where it does, & wrong or right, there it must remain for all that I can do to alter it. The part of Wood cut No. 3 is not to be drawn below the line, which I have made across it, and the lines, like outlines of hills are not to be introduced.

"There certainly should be an outline map as you suggested, which should extend from the Cordillera on the East to Juan Fernandez on the West & from Latitude 32° to 45° 50' L." Etc.

"I have passed my pen through the paragraph very properly objected to by the Referee.

"To page 5. I have added a note which I should like to be printed if not against the rules which I suppose it is not as the appendage is permitted. There is however, this difference, that the note refers to a period subsequent to the publication of the abstract of the paper. Will you tear it up if against rules!" Etc.

"I return my paper. I have put a few pencil notes in the margin, which will explain to the referee how much I intend modifying certain portions. The whole I find requires a good deal of clarifying & polishing." Etc.



10 pp., 8vo. 1868-9. £6 6s

Extremely interesting letters, referring to birds and glaciers.

"….By an odd chance I was wishing only yesterday to know with some precision the nature of the changes in the plumage of male pheasants. Your case of the female of Porphyrio is still more interesting, as I have been carefully collecting all instances of the females being in any way more ornamented. . .

"…I am still at work on sexual selection in regard to birds, for it has turned out a frightfully large subject."'

"I dont remember what I have said about canary hybrids, but thought I had only stated that the canary crosses easily with many other species. … I am glad to hear about the canary at once selecting as its mate the greenfinch, but I am surprised that it did not choose the siskin.''

"…The valley about here, and the Isin, at which I now am writing, must once have been covered by at least 800 or 1000 ft. in thickness of solid ice! Eleven years ago, I spent a whole day in the valley, where yesterday everything but the ice of the glacier was palpably clear to me, and I then saw nothing but plain water, and bare rock. These glaciers have been grand agencies; I am the more pleased with what I have seen in N. Wales, as it convinces me that my views, of the distribution of the boulders on the S. American plains having been effected by floating ice, are correct. I am also more convinced that the valleys of Glen Ray & the neighbouring parts of Scotland have been occupied by arms of the sea & very likely (for on that point I cannot of course doubt Agassiz & Buckland) by glaciers also."


LETTER SIGNED. 2 pp., 8vo. Bromley, 3rd February, N.Y. £2 18s

With reference to an application for membership of the Royal Society.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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