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Letter 5794

Darwin, C. R. to Gaudry, A. J.

21 Jan [1868]

    Summary Add

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    Thanks AG for his essay on geology and Athenian history [see 5784].

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    Comments on French rejection of evolution. "How strange that the country of Buffon, Geoffroy and especially Lamarck should now cling to species as immutable creations."

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    Variation will soon appear in French.

Transcription

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Jan 21—

Dear Sir

I thank you for your interesting essay on the influence of the Geological features of the country on the mind & habits of the ancient Athenians, & for your very obliging letter.

I am delighted to hear that you intend to consider the relations of fossil animals in connection with their genealogy,; it will afford you a fine field for the exercise of your extensive knowledge & powers of reasoning. Your belief will, I suppose at present, lower you in the estimation of your countrymen; but, judging from the rapid spread in all parts of Europe, excepting France, of the belief in the common descent of allied species, I must think that this belief will before long become universal. How strange it is that the country which gave birth to Buffon, the elder Geoffroy & especially to Lamarck shd now cling so pertinaceously to the belief that species are immutable creations.

My work on Variation &c under Domestication will appear in a French translation in a few months time, & I will do myself the pleasure & honour of directing the publisher to send a copy to you to the same address as this letter.

With sincere respect | I remain dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 5794.f1
    The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Albert Gaudry, 11 January 1868.
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    f2 5794.f2
    See letter from Albert Gaudry, 11 January 1868 and n. 2.
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    f3 5794.f3
    See letter from Albert Gaudry, 11 January 1868 and n. 3.
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    f4 5794.f4
    CD refers to Georges Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon, Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, and Jean Baptiste de Lamarck. On the reception of CD's work in France, see Stebbins 1988 and J. Harvey 1997.
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    f5 5794.f5
    A French translation of Variation was published in 1868 (Moulinié trans. 1868); the first volume appeared at the end of March (letter from C.-F. Reinwald, 26 March 1868). On the preparation of the translation, see Correspondence vol. 15. Gaudry's name appears on the presentation list for the French edition (see Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix IV).
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