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Letter 4985

Haeckel, E. P. A. to Darwin, C. R.

28 Jan 1866

    Summary Add

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    Discusses exchange of photographs with German scientists.

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    Comments on attitudes of German scientists toward CD's theory.

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    Names several scientists who exchanged photographs: Braun, Virchow, Leydig, and Dohrn.

Transcription

Jena (Saxe-Weimar)

28. Jan. 66.

Theurer hochverehrter Herr!

Herzlichsten Dank für die gütige Übersendung Ihrer werthvollen Porträts, durch welche Sie meinen Freunden eine grosse Freude gemacht haben. Mit Ausnahme von Schleiden, welcher nicht mehr hier ist, habe ich den andern fünf Naturforschern Ihr Bild geschickt, und sie haben mir dagegen das Ihrige für Sie gegeben.

Sie erhalten also beifolgend die Portraits von den bedeutendsten und eifrigsten Naturforschern, welche in Deutschland Ihre Lehre verbreiten. Es sind dies aber fast die einzigen bedeutenden Naturforscher, welche bei uns offen für Ihre Lehre kämpfen, weil die meisten Anderen, welche von ihrer Wahrheit überzeugt sind, zu feige und furchtsam sind, um dies offen auszudrücken. Sie geben zwar privatim die Wahrheit zu, haben aber Angst, dieselbe öffentlich auszusprechen, und fürchten ihre Consequenzen.

Alle sechs Naturforscher, deren Bilder Sie erhalten, haben schon offen und frei, wie ich, für die Wahrheit der Darwin-Theorie gesprochen und geschrieben. A. Braun und Virchow, auch Leydig, sind meine Lehrer. Der jüngste, Dohrn, welcher jetzt mein Assistent ist, hat noch wenig geschrieben; ich hoffe aber viel von ihm, weil er fast eben so aufrichtig Ihrer Lehre ergeben ist, wie ich selbst, und darin eine totale Reform der ganzen morphologischen und physiologischen Wissenschaft findet, wie ich ihn gelehrt habe. Glauben Sie nicht, dass ich Ihr Verdienst überschätze. Man kann dies nicht überschätzen, wenn man den traurigen Zustand der Zoologie und Botanik bedenkt, in welchen sie durch das Species-Dogma gerathen ist, und zu dessen totaler Reform Sie zuerst den Anstoss gegeben haben.— Ich würde Ihnen gern Englisch schreiben; ich kann es aber nicht schreiben, bloss lesen.— Es freut mich ausserordentlich zu hören, dass es Ihnen besser geht. Möge Ihre Besserung immer so fort schreiten!

Das ist der aufrichtigste Wunsch Ihres von ganzem Herzen ergebenen Ernst Haeckel

Translation

Jena (Saxe-Weimar)

28. Jan. 66.

Dear, most esteemed Sir!

Thank you very much for kindly sending your precious portraits with which you have pleased my friends greatly. With the exception of Schleiden, who is no longer here, I have forwarded your picture to the other five naturalists and they have given me theirs to send to you.

So you will receive the enclosed portraits of the most important and keenest naturalists who disseminate your teachings in Germany. But these are almost the only important naturalists among us who openly battle for your teachings, whereas most of the others who are convinced of their truth are too cowardly and fainthearted to say so openly. They will admit to the truth in private but are afraid to say this in public and they fear the consequences of speaking out.

All the six naturalists, whose pictures you receive, have spoken and written openly and freely, as I have, for the truth of the Darwin theory. A. Braun and Virchow, and Leydig too, are my teachers. The youngest, Dohrn, who is now my assistant, has not written much yet. But I have great expectations of him because he is almost as honestly devoted to your teachings as I am, and he sees in it a complete reform of the entire science of morphology and physiology, just as I have taught him. Do not believe that I exaggerate the credit due to you. It cannot be exaggerated given the deplorable state into which zoology and botany have fallen due to the species dogma, and to the total reform of which you have been first to make a beginning.— I would like to write you in English but I can not write, only read.— I am extraordinarily pleased to hear that you are better. May your recovery always advance thus!

That is the most sincere wish of your, with all his heart devoted, Ernst Haeckel

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 4985.f1
    For a translation of this letter, see Appendix I.
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    f2 4985.f2
    See letter to Ernst Haeckel, 20 January [1866]. Haeckel requested photographs of CD in his letter of 11 January 1866.
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    f3 4985.f3
    Matthias Jacob Schleiden had resigned from his professorship of botany at Jena in 1862; from 1864, he lived elsewhere as a private scholar (ADB, DBE).
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    f4 4985.f4
    CD had sent six photographs of himself for Haeckel to forward to German scientists (see letter to Ernst Haeckel, 20 January [1866]). The photographs CD received were evidently of Alexander Carl Heinrich Braun, Rudolf Carl Virchow, Franz von Leydig, and Anton Dohrn, probably together with that of Schleiden, and one other, possibly Carl Gegenbaur, whom Haeckel had mentioned in letters to CD (see nn. 6 and 7, below, and Correspondence vol. 12).
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    f5 4985.f5
    On the reception of CD's theory in Germany, see Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Friedrich Rolle, 26 January 1863 and nn. 6--14, and Correspondence vol. 12, letters from Ernst Haeckel, 9 [July 1864], 10 August 1864, and 26 October 1864. See also Corsi and Weindling 1985, Montgomery 1988, Junker 1989, Engels ed. 1995, and Nyhart 1995.
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    f6 4985.f6
    In the early 1850s, Haeckel attended Braun's lectures at the University of Berlin, and between 1852 and 1856, Virchow's and von Leydig's lectures at the University of Würzburg (DSB, Krauße 1987, pp. 18--28, and DBE). Haeckel had previously informed CD of Braun's and Virchow's support for his work in his letters of 9 [July 1864] and 26 October 1864 (Correspondence vol. 12).
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    f7 4985.f7
    Dohrn was a student of Haeckel's at Jena. By January 1866, he had published more than a dozen scientific papers, including his 1865 article `Die Darwin'sche Theorie und das Experiment' (Dohrn 1865; see also Kühn 1950, pp. 18, 186--7). For an account of Dohrn's relationship with Haeckel, see Heuss 1991, pp. 35--47.
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