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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Albert Gaudry1   11 January 1868

Monsieur,

Je vous demande la permission de vous envoyer une petite note historico-paléontologique qui est un tirage à part de la fin de mon ouvrage.2 Maintenant que mes travaux sur la Grèce sont terminés, je vais tâcher d’étendre un peu les recherches que j’ai commencé sur les enchaînemens des êtres fossiles.3 Vos lettres si bienveillantes ont été un encouragement pour moi;4 j’espère que peu à peu on acceptera la croyance des transformations, comme plus conforme à l’observation des faits; je sens quant à moi qu’elle ne porte aucune atteinte à mes idées de spiritualiste et à mon respect pour la dignité humaine.5 Votre livre sur l’Origine des espèces me donne des jouissances dont je dois vous remercier; combien de fois ai-je retrouvé dans vos pensées mes propres pensées, et combien de vos remarques ont confirmé ce que m’apprend l’examen comparatif des animaux fossiles!6 Plus on lit avec lenteur votre livre, plus on le médite, et plus on y trouve un vrai sentiment de la nature, résultat d’immenses voyages et de longues réflexions: c’est là un modèle plus facile à admirer qu’à suivre.

Je vous prie, Monsieur, d’agréer l’expression de mes sentimens les plus respectueux. | Albert Gaudry

11 Janvier 1868. Paris.

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix I.
Gaudry refers to the article on the geology of ancient Athens taken from his lengthy work on the fossil animals of Greece (Gaudry 1862–7) and separately printed (Gaudry 1867). There is a copy in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Gaudry described many of the Miocene fossils he had found in Greece as having characteristics of two or more animal groups, and claimed that development between different species, families, and orders could been seen in these intermediate forms. See Gaudry 1862–7, pp. 347–55. See also Correspondence vol. 15, letter from Albert Gaudry, 22 May 1867. CD referred to Gaudry’s work on the relationships between fossil and living mammals in Greece in Origin 5th ed., p. 402.
For the two extant letters from CD to Gaudry, see Correspondence vol. 14, letter to Albert Gaudry, 17 September [1866], and Correspondence vol. 15, letter to Albert Gaudry, 27 May [1867].
Gaudry discussed transmutation as an aspect of continuing creation by God in Gaudry 1862–7, pp. 365–70. See also Correspondence vol. 15, letter from Albert Gaudry, 22 May 1867.
For more on Gaudry’s palaeontological studies in connection with CD’s work, see Tort 1996 and Grimoult 1999.

Translation

From Albert Gaudry1   11 January 1868

Dear Sir,

I request permission to send you a little historical-palaeontological note which is an offprint of the end of my work.2 Now that my work on Greece is finished, I am going to try to extend somewhat the research I have begun on the interrelations of fossil beings.3 Your very kind letters have been an encouragement to me;4 I hope that, little by little, the belief in transformations will be accepted as conforming better with empirical observation. For my own part, I do not feel that it poses any threat to my ideas as a spiritualist or to my respect for human dignity.5 Your book on the Origin of species gives me a pleasure for which I must thank you; how many times have I rediscovered my own thoughts in yours, and how many of your remarks have confirmed what I have learnt from the comparative examination of fossil animals!6 The more one reads your book slowly, the more one ponders it, and the more one finds in it a true feeling for nature, the outcome of great journeys and long reflection: it is an example that is much easier to admire than to follow.

Please accept, my dear Sir, the expression of my most respectful sentiments. | Albert Gaudry

11 January 1868. Paris.

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original French, see part I: 19.
Gaudry refers to the article on the geology of ancient Athens taken from his lengthy work on the fossil animals of Greece (Gaudry 1862–7) and separately printed (Gaudry 1867). There is a copy in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Gaudry described many of the Miocene fossils he had found in Greece as having characteristics of two or more animal groups, and claimed that development between different species, families, and orders could been seen in these intermediate forms. See Gaudry 1862–7, pp. 347–55. See also Correspondence vol. 15, letter from Albert Gaudry, 22 May 1867. CD referred to Gaudry’s work on the relationships between fossil and living mammals in Greece in Origin 5th ed., p. 402.
For the two extant letters from CD to Gaudry, see Correspondence vol. 14, letter to Albert Gaudry, 17 September [1866], and Correspondence vol. 15, letter to Albert Gaudry, 27 May [1867].
Gaudry discussed transmutation as an aspect of continuing creation by God in Gaudry 1862–7, pp. 365–70. See also Correspondence vol. 15, letter from Albert Gaudry, 22 May 1867.
For more on Gaudry’s palaeontological studies in connection with CD’s work, see Tort 1996 and Grimoult 1999.

Summary

Sends an article ["Des lumières que la géologie peut jeter sur … l’histoire ancienne des Athéniens"] extracted from his work [Animaux fossiles et géologie de l’Attique (1862–7)]. CD’s letters have been an encouragement.

Hopes the belief in transformation will gradually be accepted. For himself the idea in no way undermines his idea of spirituality and his respect for human dignity.

Hopes to continue his work on the genealogical relationship (enchaînement) of fossils.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-5784
From
Albert-Jean (Albert) Gaudry
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Paris
Source of text
DAR 165: 16
Physical description
3pp (French)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5784,” accessed on 17 January 2019, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5784

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16

letter