Charles Darwin (1809-1882).
Autograph letter signed (‘Ch. Darwin’) to [Henry Nottidge] Moseley, Down, Beckenham, Kent, 4 February 1879.
Three pages, 203 x 125mm, bifolium, headed notepaper. Provenance: by descent.
Darwin’s glowing review of the naturalist’s report on the Challenger expedition: ‘I have at last read every word of your book, & it has excited in me greater interest than any other scientific book which I have read for a long time […] If I were asked which parts had interested me most, I would be somewhat perplexed to answer. I fancy that the general reader would prefer your account of Japan. For myself I hesitate between your discussion & description of the Southern ice, which seems to me admirable, & the last chapter which contained many facts and views new to me, though I had read your papers on the stony Hydroid corals, yet your resume made me realise better than I had done before, what a most curious case it is’. He continues: ‘You have also collected a surprising number of valuable facts bearing on the dispersal of plants, far more than in any other book known to me. In fact your volume is a mass of interesting facts & discoveries, with hardly a superfluous word’.
The impact and scope of the work completed by the small team of scientists travelling aboard the HMS Challenger from 1872 to 1876 was extraordinary: as John Murray, expedition oceanographer, commented, the resulting findings represented ‘the greatest advance in the knowledge of our planet since the celebrated discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries’. Here, Darwin acknowledged the valuable additions to natural history made by Moseley, particularly in relation to his work on coral, a subject that Darwin had previously studied.
Darwin Correspondence Project 11858.
Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.
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