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Letter 5930

Darwin, C. R. to Rütimeyer, K. L.

25 Feb [1868]

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    Will forward LR's memoir to Earl of Tankerville. Has sent LR's pamphlet on "Darwin Lehre" [Die Grenzen der Thierwelt (1868)] to a German lady he employs as a translator. Cannot agree that there is an innate principle of perfection.


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

Feb 25

My dear Sir

I am very glad that you have sent to England your memoir for the Earl of Tankerville. He is so much interested about his wild Cattle that I do not doubt he will like to have a copy in his library. As soon as I receive it from Messrs Williams, I will forward it to him. You say that you have added a pamphlet ``zur Darwin lehre''; but I received a copy of this 2 or 3 weeks ago. I have been very tardy in thanking you for it & for your Herkunft unserer Thierwelt, & for your Nat. Geschichte des Rindes. All of which I owe to your great kindness. My only excuse is that I have lately been much engaged.

As there is no man in Europe whose opinion on the modification of species I value more than yours, I was extremely anxious to read your pamphlet. But your style is very difficult for me to understand, so that I despatched it immediately to a young German lady whom I sometimes employ to translate for me, & as she has not much spare time, I do not suppose I shall receive the translation for a month, when I shall read it eagerly.

I am very sorry to disagree with you on any point, but I cannot agree that there is any innate principle of progressive perfection; it seems to me that this will inevitably follow from natural selection.

With sincere thanks for all your kindness believe me | my dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 5930.f1
    The year is established by the reference to Rütimeyer 1868 (see n. 4, below).
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    f2 5930.f2
    No letter from Rütimeyer to CD on this subject has been found. CD refers to Rütimeyer's two-part monograph on the natural history of cattle; Rütimeyer discussed an ancient breed, the Chillingham cattle, that lived on the estate of Charles August Bennet, sixth earl of Tankerville (Rütimeyer 1867a, p. 54, and Rütimeyer 1867b, pp. 130--3, 146--9). Rütimeyer's description of the breed was based on a skull obtained from Tankerville by CD (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter from Ludwig Rütimeyer, 3 January 1865). CD discussed the Chillingham cattle in Variation 1: 81--4 and 2: 119.
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    f3 5930.f3
    Williams and Norgate were booksellers and publishers specialising in foreign scientific literature.
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    f4 5930.f4
    CD refers to Die Grenzen der Theirwelt. Eine Betrachtung zu Darwin's Lehre (The boundaries of the animal world. A reflection on Darwin's theory; Rütimeyer 1868). A copy is in the Darwin Library--CUL.
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    f5 5930.f5
    Rütimeyer 1867a and 1867b; and Rütimeyer 1867c. CD's copies are in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL. CD had thanked Rütimeyer for sending various publications, including Rütimeyer 1867b, in his letter of 4 May [1867] (Correspondence vol. 15).
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    f6 5930.f6
    CD had occasionally employed Camilla Ludwig, a former governess at Down House, to translate German works. No translation of Rütimeyer 1868 has been found.
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    f7 5930.f7
    This comment on the progressive principle of development was evidently in the missing letter from Rütimeyer.
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