From Charles Darwin to William Kemp   9 October [1843]

Down. near Bromley | Kent

October 9th.

Dear Sir

I write a line to inform you that your paper has reached me safely.— I will consult with Mr Lyell, (who has taken much interest in your discovery) which will be the best place of publishing it.—

I am flattered by the compliment you make me in addressing your communication in a letter to me.—

I think it wd be a thousand pities to publish the Paper before Prof. Henslow has definitely made out whether the Atriplex is the A. hastata of France or not.— I will write by today’s post to urge him to complete his examination.—

Will you inform me, soon about how many feet the layer with the seeds was above the present level of the nearest part of the present river.— I think this had better be clearly introduced, & I do not quite understand your description in reference to this point.—

As you permit me to shorten some parts of your paper, I will do so—I assure you the retrenchment of redundancies is a reform that I every month learn to value more & more in my own writings—

Your letter must have a heading & the account of Henslow’s conclusions introduced.— No species, of Atriplex, can properly be considered, I believe, as a climbing plant, at most they can be called only trailing plants.— I will make the alterations which appear to me adviseable & then send you a copy for your approval.— But we must wait for Henslow’s decision as the whole force of the Paper turns on this.

Yours very truly | C. Darwin

P.S. | Can you not inform me (& I wd incorporate it with your paper) what relation the bed of sand bears to the period of the dispersal of boulders whether by floating ice or glaciers— Are there any large or angular boulders of foreign rocks on top of sand or embedded in it, or in the gravel beneath it? Are the rocks scored, polished, or hummocked beneath it— Do endeavour to throw some light on these points, as they wd be very interesting.— I will enquire from Prof. Lindley how he raised the seeds, whether in open air or in the Green house.

I think your speculation about the former dampness of climate too bold— What reason have you for supposing that there were more lakes then than now? Is it not also doubtful, how far a few more or less lakes, wd affect the surrounding climate?—

What a pity that no fresh-water shells were in the sand.—

Please cite as “KEMP30,” in Ɛpsilon: The William Kemp Collection accessed on 3 March 2024,