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".