To H. G. Bronn 14 February 1
Down. Bromley Kent.
My dear & much honoured Sir
I thank you cordially for your extreme kindness in superintending the Translation I have mentioned this to some eminent scientific men, & they all agree that you have done a noble & generous service— If I am proved quite wrong yet I comfort myself in thinking that my book may do some good; as truth can only be known by rising victorious from every attack. I thank you also much for the Review & for the kind manner in which you speak of me.—2 I send with this letter some corrections & additions to M. Schweitzerbart, & a short historical Preface.3 I am not much acquainted with German Authors as I read German very slowly. Therefore I do not know whether any Germans have advocated similar views with mine; if they have would you do me the favour to insert a footnote to the Preface?4 M Schweitzerbart has now the reprint ready for a Translator to begin—
Several scientific men have thought the term “Natural Selection” good, because its meaning is not obvious & each man could not put on it his own interpretation, & because it at once connects variation under domestication & nature Is there any analogous term used by German Breeders of Animals? “Adelung” ennobling would or perhaps be too metaphorical. It is folly in me but I cannot help doubting whether “Wahl der Lebens-weise” expresses my notion— It leaves the impression on my mind of the Lamarckian doctrine (which I reject) of habits of life being all important— Man has altered & thus improved the English Race Horse by selecting successive fleeter individuals; & I believe owing to the struggle for existence that similar slight variations in a Wild Horse if advantageous to it would be selected or preserved by nature; Hence Natural Selection— But I apologise for troubling you with these remarks on the importance of choosing good German terms for “Natural Selection”.5
With my heartfelt thanks & with sincere respect— I remain Dear Sir | Yours very sincerely— | Charles Darwin—
I am very much obliged for your “Stuffengang &c” which I am now reading—6 I wish I knew what was the authority for a Batrachian in the New Hebrides.—7
Thanks HGB for agreeing to superintend translation of Origin.
Comments on HGB’s review.
Encloses corrections and preface for Schweizerbart. Discusses translation of term "natural selection".
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2698,” accessed on 21 October 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2698