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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Ernst Haeckel1   2 July 1869

Jena

2. Juli 69.

Hochverehrter theurer Freund!

Vor einigen Tagen erhielt ich die fünfte Auflage Ihres “Origin of Species” und danke Ihnen herzlich für diesen neuen Beweis Ihrer Güte.2 Ich freue mich sehr dass Ihre epochemachendes Werk immer noch so zahlreiche neue Abnehmer mit jedem Jahre findet, trotzdem es schon in so vielen tausend Exemplaren und in so zahlreichen Übersetzungen durch die ganze Welt verbreitet ist. Besonders freue ich mich, dass Sie noch die grosse Genugthuung erleben, die ungeheure Wirkung des colossalen Fortschritts, den Ihr Werk in der Biologie hervorgerufen hat, mit eigenen Augen zu sehen, und daraus zu ermessen, wie gross erst sein Ruhm in späterer Zukunft sein wird.

Von meiner “Natürlichen Schöpfungsgeschichte” bereite ich jetzt die II. Auflage vor, welche im nächsten Jahre erscheinen wird.3 Die Zahl der Schriften, welche die einzelnen Seiten Ihrer Theorie ausbauen, wächst mit jeder Woche, und ebenso auch die Zahl Ihrer Anhänger. Unter den deutschen Naturforschern der jüngeren Generation giebt es jetzt keine irgend bedeutenden Gegner mehr. Besonders freut es mich aber, dass auch höchst verdiente ältere Naturforscher sich zur Descendenz-Theorie bekehren, wie z. B. P. Harting in Utrecht und M. Sars in Christiania, welche mir Beide in letzter Zeit geschrieben haben, und ihre volle Übereinstimmung ausgedrückt haben.4

In einigen Wochen werden Sie meine “Entwickelungsgeschichte der Siphonophoren” erhalten, welche jetzt endlich fertig gedruckt und von 14 Tafeln begleitet ist.5 Gegenwärtig arbeite ich seit bald einem Jahre sehr eifrig an den Kalkschwämmen (Calcispongiae)6 einer höchst interessanten Thiergruppe, welche auch für Ihre Theorie von sehr grosser Bedeutung ist. Die organische “Species” ist hier bei manchen Grantien quasi “in statu nascenti” zu beobachten. Um die Naturgeschichte dieser Thiere möglichst vollständig zu bearbeiten, werde ich gegen Ende Juli auf einige Wochen nach Norwegen (Christiania, Bergen, Drontjhem)7 gehen, wo es sehr viel Kalkschwämme zu geben scheint. Ich werde Ihnen eine vorläufige Mittheilung über meine Resultate in einigen Wochen zuschicken. Eine umfassende “Monographie der Kalkschwämme” denke ich dann im nächsten Jahre zu veröffentlichen.8 Um den systematischen Theil derselben recht vollständig zu machen, erbitte ich nun Material von allen Seiten. Sollten Sie oder einer Ihrer Freunde mir Kalkschwämme schicken können (wenn auch nur die ganz gemeinen Specien der britischen Küsten, Grantia ciliata,9 Leucosolenia botryoides etc) so würde ich dafür sehr dankbar sein. Bei der ausserordentlichen Variabilität der Kalkschwämme kann ich nicht genug Individuen von verschiedenen Standorten vergleichen. Grade von den britischen Küsten habe ich noch sehr wenig erhalten.—

Hoffentlich befinden Sie und Ihre liebe Familie sich wohl. Mir geht es recht gut. Mein Junge ist jetzt 9 Monate alt und fängt schon an, viel Pithecoides zu verlieren, ja selbst bereits zu philosophieren!10

Mit den herzlichsten Grüssen | Ihr treu ergebener | Haeckel

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Calc-sponges | Ask Huxley’11 pencil

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 17, Appendix I.
Origin 5th ed. was published in June 1869 (letter from R. F. Cooke, 22 June 1869).
The second edition of Haeckel’s Natural history of creation appeared in 1870 (Haeckel 1870a). CD’s annotated copy of Haeckel 1868 (the first edition) is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 358–60). His copy of Haeckel 1870a is in the Darwin Library–Down.
Haeckel refers to Pieter Harting and Michael Sars.
Haeckel refers to his study of the development of siphonophores (Haeckel 1869a). CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 355). Siphonophores are hydroids of the order Siphonophorae.
The current name for the class of calcareous sponges is Calcarea.
Christiania is now Oslo; Haeckel also refers to Trondheim.
Die Kalkschwämme (Calcareous sponges) was published in 1872 (Haeckel 1872). CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 357–8).
Grantia ciliata is now Sycon ciliatum.
Haeckel refers to his son, Walter Haeckel. In an earlier letter, Haeckel had described his son’s ‘atavistic movements’ (see Correspondence vol. 16, letter from Ernst Haeckel, 9 November 1868).

Translation

From Ernst Haeckel1   2 July 1869

Jena

2. July 69.

Esteemed dear friend!

A few days ago I received the fifth edition of your “Origin of Species” and I thank you cordially for this new evidence of your kindness.2 I am very glad to see that your epoch-making work is still finding so many new readers every year, even though it is already spread all over the world in so many thousand copies and so many translations. I am especially pleased that you should live to experience the great satisfaction of witnessing with your own eyes the immense effect of the colossal advance which your work has created within biology, and to judge from this just how great its fame will be in the more distant future.

I am now preparing the second edition of my “Natürlichen Schöpfungsgeschichte”, which will appear next year.3 The number of works that develop the various aspects of your theory increases by the week, and so it is with the number of your followers. Among German naturalists of the younger generation there is now no important opponent of your theory. I am especially pleased, however, that even most eminent older naturalists are converting to the theory of descent, such as for example P. Harting in Utrecht and M. Sars in Christiania, both of whom have written to me lately and expressed their full agreement.4

In a few weeks’ time you will receive my “Entwickelungsgeschichte der Siphonophoren”, which has now finally come out and which is accompanied by fourteen tables.5 At present I have been working diligently for almost a year on the calcareous sponges (Calcispongiae),6 a most interesting class of animals which is also of very great importance for your theory. The organic “species” can be observed in some Grantia quasi “in statu nascenti”. In order to compile the most complete natural history possible of these animals, I am going for a few weeks at the end of July to Norway (Christiania, Bergen, Drontjhem)7, where calcareous sponges can apparently be found in large numbers. I shall send you my preliminary results in a few weeks. I’m planning to publish a comprehensive “Monograph on calcareous sponges” next year.8 So that the systematic part of the work will be quite complete, I am now requesting material from all sides. Should you or one of your friends be able to send me calcareous sponges (even if only the very common species of the British coast, Grantia ciliata,9 Leucosolenia botryoides etc), I would be very grateful indeed. Due to the extraordinary variability of calcareous sponges I can not compare enough individuals from different locations. In particular, from the British coast, I have as yet received only very little.—

I hope you and your dear family are fine. I am quite well. My boy is now 9 months old and he is already beginning to lose much of the pithecoid, and even to philosophise already!10

With the most cordial greetings | Your loyally devoted | Haeckel

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original German, see pp. 297–8.
Origin 5th ed. was published in June 1869 (letter from R. F. Cooke, 22 June 1869).
The second edition of Haeckel’s Natural history of creation appeared in 1870 (Haeckel 1870a). CD’s annotated copy of Haeckel 1868 (the first edition) is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 358–60). His copy of Haeckel 1870a is in the Darwin Library–Down.
Haeckel refers to Pieter Harting and Michael Sars.
Haeckel refers to his study of the development of siphonophores (Haeckel 1869a). CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 355). Siphonophores are hydroids of the order Siphonophorae.
The current name for the class of calcareous sponges is Calcarea.
Christiania is now Oslo; Haeckel also refers to Trondheim.
Die Kalkschwämme (Calcareous sponges) was published in 1872 (Haeckel 1872). CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 357–8).
Grantia ciliata is now Sycon ciliatum.
Haeckel refers to his son, Walter Haeckel. In an earlier letter, Haeckel had described his son’s ‘atavistic movements’ (see Correspondence vol. 16, letter from Ernst Haeckel, 9 November 1868).

Summary

Comments on 5th edition of the Origin [1869];

preparation of second edition of Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte [1870].

The reception of CD’s theory. Mentions support of Pieter Harting and Michael Sars.

EH’s research on calcareous sponges and plans to publish monograph on them.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-6812
From
Ernst Philipp August (Ernst) Haeckel
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Jena
Source of text
DAR 166: 52
Physical description
4pp (German)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6812,” accessed on 21 October 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6812

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17

letter