RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1917. [Letter to James Geikie, 1876]. In Newbigin, Marion I., and Flett, J. S., James Geikie. The man and the geologist. Edinburgh and London, p. 27.  

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 5.2022. RN1

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here.

"Geikie, James Murdoch, 1839-1915. Geologist. Brother of Sir Archibald G. 1862-82 Geological Survey. 1875 FRS. 1881 [1880] Prehistoric Europe, London, contains extracts from two letters from CD on the drift deposits near Southampton, pp. 141-2 (Shorter publications, F1351). 1882- Murchison Prof. Geology and Mineralogy Edinburgh in succession to his brother Archibald G." (Paul van Helvert & John van Wyhe, Darwin: A Companion, 2021) The complete letter with important editorial notes is in Correspondence vol. 24, pp. 324-5.

[page] 27

His glacial work and its significance are alike discussed by Dr Flett in the second part of this volume, and need not be treated here, but a word or two is necessary to explain the intense interest which glacial problems aroused among all the Survey men during the period we are considering, and in James Geikie in particular. A quotation from a letter of thanks written by Charles Darwin, after receiving a copy of the second edition of The Great Ice Age, will throw some light upon this. The letter is dated 26th October 1876, and Darwin says:—

"The subject is one which fascinates me, chiefly owing to a little incident which I will mention as showing the grand progress of geology. When I was a boy an acute old gentleman who had attended to geology and natural history showed me a boulder in Shropshire, and assured me solemnly that the world would pass away before any one could explain how this great stone came from Cumberland or Scotland. This made a deep impression on me, and you may believe how delighted I was some forty years ago when floating ice action was first broached, to be followed some years afterwards by glacier action."


[page] 73


 A letter to Mr Horne, written from Perth on 18th November [1876], not long after his return home, makes some mention of the tour, and of the other events of a crowded summer.

I heard all about your Shetland work. It did my heart good, and right glad I am that it has been done by a Survey man.... You would hear about Skertchly's find. I was down there again ten days ago at Ramsay's request, to see the evidence again.... In my new edition, which is out (and selling well!), I go much more fully into the English Drifts. I got to-day a long letter from Darwin, along with a copy of his new edition of Geological Observations. His letter is very complimentary, and of course that is gratifying to me, for I look upon Darwin as a real genius. […]

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