To Hermann Müller 23 February 1
Down, Bromley, Kent
My dear Sir
When your brother’s work “Für Darwin” appeared, I was anxious that it should be published in England; but I was then much out of health and knew no one fit to translate it.2 I have now found a very capable man, Mr. Dallas, who translated von Siebold and many papers for Annals & Mag. of Nat. History.3 Do you think your brother would like to see it translated? it could not now injure sale in Germany. It could only be published on what is called “on commission”,—that is, I should have to pay all expenses, translation &c, and the publisher would charge percentage on sale. I think I could get our great publisher Mr. Murray to undertake its publication on commission, and his name would be a great advantage.4 But I should not be willing myself to undertake the expense, except on following terms, viz, to have the use or loan of the woodcuts for nothing or for a very small sum, and then I would agree to pay over the whole of the profits (after all expenses have been deducted) to your brother or his publisher. Of course it is a mere chance whether there will be profits: purely scientific works do not sell well in England; but on the other hand there is much interest at present on the modification of species.—
I do not know on what terms Engelmann of Leipzig published your brother’s book;5 but if you feel nearly sure that your brother would approve of a Translation, would you have the kindness to write and negotiate with Engelmann, and let me soon hear the result. If we can come to terms, I would set Mr. Dallas (who is a busy man and cannot give up all his time) to work, and I would then write to your brother for any corrections or moderate additions, and not begin printing till we hear from him. How soon would answer come?
I hope that you will be so kind as to oblige me on this head; the publication of your brother’s book would I am sure do good for our cause in England. Many thanks for Bot. Zeitung; but the copy unfortunately was imperfect, and pages 49, 50, 51 and 52 were missing.— Is it a review of the article which you formerly sent me?6
Offers to undertake publication of English translation of Fritz Müller’s Für Darwin. W. S. Dallas will translate it.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5919,” accessed on 26 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5919