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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Ernst Haeckel1   20 December 1874

Jena

20 Dec 74

Hochverehrter theurer Freund!

Da das Jahr 1874 seinem Ende entgegen geht, erlauben Sie mir, Ihnen zum Beginne des neuen Jahres meine herzlichsten Grüsse und Glückwünsche zu schicken. Besonders wünsche ich Ihnen dazu neue Gesundheit und Kraft, damit Sie als bahnbrechender Reformator der Wissenschaft noch lange kräftig fortwirken. Ihr leuchtendes Beispiel ist uns stetes Vorbild in jener wissenschaftlichen Form der “struggle for life,” welche der “Kampf um die Wahrheit” ist. Mögen Ihre Werke uns Allen darin immer allgemeinerer Muster werden!

Für die freundliche Übersendung der zweiten Auflage des “Descent of man” danke ich Ihnen herzlich.2 Das Werk ist jetzt in Deutschland sehr verbreitet. Dass der Verleger der deutschen Übersetzungen Ihrer Werke jetzt eine Gesammtausgabe derselben veranstaltet, wissen Sie wohl bereits.3 Ich habe in der “Jenaer Literatur-Zeitung” dieselbe angezeigt, und hoffe, dass sie sehr gute Aufnahme findet.4 Mir scheint, dass die principielle, philosophische Bedeutung Ihrer Theorien und deren Consequenzen in Deutschland viel mehr gewürdigt wird als in England.

Meine Anthropogenie scheint in England nicht viel Beifall zu finden.5 Mein Verleger6 schreibt mir, dass in England noch nicht 10 Exemplare verlangt worden sind, während nach Frankreich und Russland mehrere 100 Stück abgesetzt sind. Auch lauteten die beiden englischen Besprechungen, die ich gesehen habe (—in “Saturday-Review” und “Nature”) sehr ungünstig.7 Ihre Landsleute scheinen namentlich die antiklerikale Richtung nicht zu verstehen, die bei uns in Deutschland alle Wahrheit liebenden Gebildeten jetzt beherrscht. Mein Buch sagt darüber im Kleinen nur, was im Grossen die Politik von Bismark8 ist: Energie!

Hat Ihnen Friedrich v. Hellwald sein Werk geschickt: “Culturgeschichte in ihrer natürlichen Entwickelung”? Wenn Sie es nicht haben, werde ich es Ihnen senden.9 Es ist eine sehr geistreiche Anwendung des Darwinismus auf die gesammte menschliche Culturgeschichte.

—Im Februar gehe ich auf mehrere Monate an das Mittelmeer, um die Keimblätter- und Gastraea-Theorie weiter zu verfolgen.10 Das Interesse für diesen Gegenstand ist jetzt in Deutschland sehr gross.

Mit wiederholten herzlichsten Glückwünschen und besten Grüssen Ihr treu ergebener | Ernst Haeckel

CD annotations

1.1 Da … fortwirken. 1.4] ‘Return congratulations— | Anthropogenie— I read some chapters’ pencil
Top of letter: ‘Nature— I fear I shall never do more in world | few know German— England | Gastraea-theory— I can see importance’ pencil
Top of last page: ‘Huxley—Amphioxus [will differ from you] | Dr. Dodel’11 pencil

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Appendix I.
Haeckel’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for Descent 2d ed. (see Appendix IV).
The German edition of CD’s complete works was translated by Julius Victor Carus and published by E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagshandlung, Stuttgart, from 1874 onwards.
Haeckel’s advertisement appeared in Jenaer Literaturzeitung, 26 December 1874, pp. 820–1.
There is a copy of Haeckel’s Anthropogenie, oder Entwickelungsgeschichte des Menschen (Anthropogeny, or the developmental history of humans; Haeckel 1874a) in the Darwin Library–Down.
Wilhelm Engelmann.
Saturday Review, 17 October 1874, pp. 514–15, and Nature, 5 November 1874, pp. 4–5, 12 November 1874, pp. 22–4. The review in Nature was by the physician Philip Henry Pye-Smith.
For more on Haeckel’s changing views on Otto von Bismarck, the chancellor of Germany, and his association of biological and political theories, see Reynolds 2008.
There is no known correspondence between CD and Hellwald. There is no copy of Hellwald’s Culturgeschichte in ihrer natürlichen Entwickelung bis zur Gegenwart (Cultural history in its natural development to the present; Hellwald 1874) in CD’s libraries at CUL or Down. Haeckel did, however, send a copy; see Correspondence vol. 23, letter to Ernst Haeckel, 11 January [1875]. On Haeckel’s relationship with Hellwald, see Di Gregorio 2005, pp. 376–86.
In Haeckel 1872, 1: 344–5, Haeckel proposed that two primary cell types or germ layers were differentiated in the early embryonic development of all multicellular organisms and that the ancestral mode of germ-layer formation was by invagination to produce a functional gut. This stage in development was called gastrulation. He further hypothesised, drawing on his biogenetic law (ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny), that there had existed an actual ‘gastraea’, by analogy with the developmental stage. See also Correspondence vol. 21, letter from Ernst Haeckel, 8 October 1873 and n. 7.
CD’s annotations are notes for his letter to Haeckel of 26 December 1874.

Translation

From Ernst Haeckel1   20 December 1874

Jena

20 Dec 74

Most esteemed dear friend!

As the year of 1874 is coming to a close, allow me to send you my most cordial greetings and my best wishes for the beginning of the new year. Above all I wish you renewed health and vigour, so you may continue in your powerful role as the trail-blazing reformer of science for a long time yet. Your shining example is ever our model in that scientific version of the “struggle for life”, which is the “struggle for the truth”. May your works become ever more general examples for all of us in this!

For kindly sending me the second edition of the “Descent of Man” I thank you cordially.2 The work is now already well known in Germany. That the publisher of the German translations of your work is now producing a complete edition of them you will know already.3 I advertised it in the “Jenaer Literatur–Zeitung” and hope that it will be well received.4 It seems to me that the principal philosophical significance of your theories and their implications were appreciated far more in Germany than in England.

My Anthropogenie5 does not seem to find much acclaim in England. My publisher6 tells me that not even 10 copies have been requested in England, while in France and Russia several 100 copies were sold. Also, the two English reviews that I have seen (—in “Saturday-Review” and “Nature”) were very unfavourable.7 Your countrymen specifically do not seem to understand the anti-clerical movement which now governs all truth-loving educated persons here in Germany.

On this, my book only communicates on a small scale what in the greater scheme of things is the politics of Bismark:8 energy!

Has Friedrich v. Hellwald sent you his work: “Culturgeschichte in ihrer natürlichen Entwickelung? If you have not got it, I shall send it.9 It is a most witty application of Darwinism to the entire human history of civilization.

—In February I shall visit the Mediterranean for a few months, in order to pursue further my germ layer and Gastraea theory.10

Currently, there is a lot of interest in this matter in Germany.

Again, my most cordial wishes for your health

Your loyally devoted | Ernst Haeckel

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original German, see p. QQQQ.
Haeckel’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for Descent 2d ed. (see Appendix IV).
The German edition of CD’s complete works was translated by Julius Victor Carus and published by E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagshandlung, Stuttgart, from 1874 onwards.
Haeckel’s advertisement appeared in Jenaer Literaturzeitung, 26 December 1874, pp. 820–1.
There is a copy of Haeckel’s Anthropogenie, oder Entwickelungsgeschichte des Menschen (Anthropogeny, or the developmental history of humans; Haeckel 1874a) in the Darwin Library–Down.
Wilhelm Engelmann.
Saturday Review, 17 October 1874, pp. 514–15, and Nature, 5 November 1874, pp. 4–5, 12 November 1874, pp. 22–4. The review in Nature was by the physician Philip Henry Pye-Smith.
For more on Haeckel’s changing views on Otto von Bismarck, the chancellor of Germany, and his association of biological and political theories, see Reynolds 2008.
There is no known correspondence between CD and Hellwald. There is no copy of Hellwald’s Culturgeschichte in ihrer natürlichen Entwickelung bis zur Gegenwart (Cultural history in its natural development to the present; Hellwald 1874) in CD’s libraries at CUL or Down. Haeckel did, however, send a copy; see Correspondence vol. 23, letter to Ernst Haeckel, 11 January [1875]. On Haeckel’s relationship with Hellwald, see Di Gregorio 2005, pp. 376–86.
In Haeckel 1872, 1: 344–5, Haeckel proposed that two primary cell types or germ layers were differentiated in the early embryonic development of all multicellular organisms and that the ancestral mode of germ-layer formation was by invagination to produce a functional gut. This stage in development was called gastrulation. He further hypothesised, drawing on his biogenetic law (ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny), that there had existed an actual ‘gastraea’, by analogy with the developmental stage. See also Correspondence vol. 21, letter from Ernst Haeckel, 8 October 1873 and n. 7.

Summary

Discusses his Anthropogenie [1874]. Remarks on the tables.

Has CD received Friedrich von Hellwald’s Culturgeschichte [1875]?

Plans research trip to the Mediterranean.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-9767
From
Ernst Philipp August (Ernst) Haeckel
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Jena
Source of text
DAR 166: 63
Physical description
4pp (German) †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9767,” accessed on 19 September 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-9767.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22

letter