RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1926. [Letters to Forchhammer, 1849-50]. In A. Clément, Breve til og fra J. G. Forchhammer III J.G. Forchhammer og Charles Darwin 1849-1850. Copenhagen: H. H. Thieles Bogtrykkeri.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 5.2022. RN2

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

"Forchhammer, Johan Georg, 1794-1865. Danish geologist and chemist. 1849? CD met F at the BAAS meeting in Birmingham. Corresponded with CD 1849-50. CD called him "my very kind friend". CCD4." (Paul van Helvert & John van Wyhe, Darwin: A Companion, 2021)

1255 To J. G. Forchhammer, 25 Sept [1849], Down.

1268 To J. G. Forchhammer, 12 Nov [1849], Down.

1273 To J. G. Forchhammer, 1 Dec [1849], Down.

1328 To J. G. Forchhammer, 20 May [1850], Down.

For complete letters with important editorial notes see Correspondence vol. 4.

[page VI]


Charles Darwin (1809-1882) had at Chile, 1846, begun a work on the Cirripedes, to which he collected contributions from every where.

On the nineteenth meeting of the British Association for the advancement of Science, announced to take place at Birmingham 12. Sept. 1849, Ch. Darwin was designated one of the vicepresidents, he was the same year the president of the Geological Society of London. An invitation to the same meeting was send to the Prof. J. G. Forchhammer (1794-1865) at Copenhagen but he answer 1).

(June?) 1849

>> Honoured Sir <<

>>The local committee of the British association for the advancement of science has done me the honour to invite me to the meeting at Birmingham and I should feel myself very happy if circumstance would allowe me to accept this invitation, and once more to be present at a meeting of an association which hos done so much for the benefit of science. But the state of our country and its affairs is so unsettled2) that I for this time must give up every thought of leaving my home for a longer time, and must defer an other visit to England to better times.

Believe me honourable Sir.<<

But Forchhammer for all that went abroad, he wrote to another no named friend the 13 Nov. 1849)3.

1) Copy-book II p. 79.

2) The war in the duchies Slesvig and Holsten 1848-50.

3) Copy-book II p. 92.

[page] VII

The present letters treats this.

The mineralogical museum of the university of Copenhagen is in possession of the four letters from Darwin to Forchhammer communicated here. Only one of the answers from Forchhammer is noted in his copybook9).

Charles Robert Darwin lost his Father Robert Waring Darwin the 13. Novbr. 1848 and therefore the letters from 1849 are sealed with black wax.

9) II p. 94.

[page 1]

(Address) Professor Forchhammer &c. &c.


Paid. Denmark

Down Farnborough Kent.

Sept. 25.

My dear Sir.

You will be surprised to hear so soon from me; indeed, perhaps this letter will get to Copenhagen, before you do yourself. —On reflexion, I should be extremely much obliged to you, if you could lend me the Cirripedes, which you with so much kindness, offered me, as soon as you conveniently can. I have now got many valves of fossil Pollicipes in my house, and before returning them, I should be particularly glad to compare them with Steenstrup's fossil species. —I have now almost finished the Pedunculata, and shall soon commence with the sessile species, so that upon the whole, the present time would be the best time for me to examine your specimens. —I could return the fossil and recent Pedunculata first, and afterwards the sessile species; paying the carriage of course to Copenhagen. —I should be greatly obliged for any specimens which you could spare, and especially some from any arctic country.

[page] 2

These specimens will be of the most essential service to my monograph, and I am sure I feel much indebted to your kindness in offering them to me.

Pray believe me my dear Sir

Your's very sincerely


The parcel had better be directed thus (namely to my Brother's House, and he will inform me of their arrival).


7 Park Street

Grosvenor Square


Poststamps: PAID 1849. DOWN. Bromley. K. D. O. P. A. HAMBURG 1/10. Seal: black wax.


Professor Forchhammer

P. Paid. Copenhagen.

Down Farnborough Kent.

Nov. 12th

My dear Sir.

I beg your pardon for troubling you, but I know not how to send the enclosed letter to Prof. Loven*); will you be so kind as to direct it? He has described a most remarkable Cirripede (his Alepas squalicola) parasitic on the northern Sharks, and l have written to beseech him for a specimen. —Do you familiarly know him? if so, will you back up my request with a word from yourself.

Suppose you got my letter a few weeks ago, begging for specimens; I shall be truly anxious to receive them. I hope that you will forgive all this trouble and I think I may trust to your great good nature to do so.

Yours very sincerely


*) 1809-95. Swedish Paläontolog. Intendent, Riksmuseum. Stockholm.

[page] 3

Do you know anything of a Cinecas from the North which Eschricht*) (I do not know whether name spelt right) brought with him to the British Association at Oxford**), but I did not then think of describing all the species of Cirripedia.

Poststamps: PAID. 1849. Down, Bromley. K. D. 0 . P. A. Hamburg 18/11. Closed with wafer.

(Sir Charles Darwin)

(d. 15. Novbr. 1849

My dear Sir.

With the steamer Camilla which left Copenhagen some days ago, I have sent to You all the fossil pedunculatic cirrhipedes which our collection contents and inclosed You will find a letter from Prof. Steenstrup which will tell You about the changes which he thinks proper to make in his former distinctions.

I have not separated those specimens which I could give You for Your own collection and I should be obliged to You if You would return them all with Your names, specifiing which of them You should wish for Your own collection.




Professor Forchhammer

Post Paid. Copenhagen.


Down Farnborough Kent.

December 1st

My dear Sir.

I write in great anxiety about the parcel of cirripedes. —I received your letter of Nov. 15th a few days ago. —And I immediately wrote to the agents of the Pomona Steamer to enquire if any parcel had arrived addressed

*) 1798-1863. Prof. physiologiae. Copenhagen.

**) 1847.

[page] 4

to me 7 Park. St. Grosvenor Square; this morning I have received an answer stating that the Pomona arrived on the 12th and that there was no package on board for me.

—I most earnestly hope it may have been left at Copenhagen, will you make enquiries. —

I will write again to agents here to ask whether there was any package addressed to any name like mine. —I am deeply grieved about this.

Pray thank Prof. Steenstrup most cordially for his letter, I will write to him in a short time. I find from his letter there was a specimen of Alepas squalicola, which is the cirripede of all others in the world, I wish most to dissect. —How anxious I shall be to hear from you. —

You had better insist upon the agent in Copenhagen writing to the London agents. — It is a terrible loss.

In Haste

Yours most gratefully


Pray communicate to Prof. Steenstrup about the parcel; how I do hope it may have been forgotten to have been shipped. I should be most grateful to Prof. Steenstrup for the Greenland cirripedes - but I will write to him.

I am so sorry to cause you all this trouble, after your extreme kindnes to me. —When I hear from you again that it was actually shipped, I will put an advertisement in Times Newspaper, and offer large reward for recovery of Parcel.

Poststamps : PAID BU DE 1849. DOWN, Bromley, K. D. O. P.A. HAMBURG 9/12. Seal: black wax.

[page] 5

(Address) Professor Forchhammer

P. Paid. Copenhagen.


Down Farnborough Kent.

May 20th (1850)

My dear Forchhammer.

I ought to have written sooner to have thanked you very sincerely for your letter of the 27th of April: it told me quite fully and most clearly all that I wanted to know of your Geology. Prof. Steenstrups specimens which I owe first to your kindness have been of great use and interest to me: I have now described 33 fossil Pedunculated Cirripedes, and they are in Mr Sowerby's*) hands to make drawings of.

With my very sincere thanks

Believe me

yours very truly


Poststamps: PAID 1850, DOWN, Bromley, Hamburg  24/5. Seal: red wax.

*) James de Carle Sowerby (1787-1854).

[page 6]

[page 7]

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