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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Ernst Haeckel1   29 September 1869

Jena

29. Sept. 69

Hochverehrter theurer Freund!

Gestern Abend erst bin ich von einer zweimonatlichen Reise nach Norway zurückgekehrt, und fand hier Ihren freundlichen Brief vom 5. August vor, der leider erst nach meiner Abreise hier eintraf.2 Ich bin Ihnen für Ihre liebenswürdige Gefälligkeit und für die viele Mühe, die Sie sich wegen meiner Calcispongien gemacht haben, äusserst dankbar; aber ich bereue es fast, Ihnen durch meine Bitte so viel Mühe und Zeitverlust gemacht zu haben.3 Hoffentlich werden die Resultate meiner Arbeit so befriedigend, und besonders für den “Darwinismus” so brauchbar, dass Ihre Bemühungen wenigstens nicht umsonst gewesen sind.— Das gütige Anerbieten des Mr. Norman, mir die englischen Kalkschwämme zu senden, nehme ich um so dankbar an, als ich erst sehr wenige von den englischen Kalkschwämmen erhalten konnte.4 Bis jetzt hatte nur Mr. Allman die Güte, mir die Spongien aus der Edinburgh-Collection zu senden.5 Dagegen hat Mr. Bowerbank, an welchen ich schon im Sommer desshalb zweimal schrieb, keinen meiner beiden Briefe beantwortet.6 Er glaubt wahrscheinlich allein das Monopol des Verständnisses für Spongien zu besitzen und hält andere Arbeiten für überflüssig.

Beifolgend sende ich Ihnen die vorlaüfige Mittheilung über das bisherige Resultat meiner spongiologischen Untersuchungen; die Stellen darin, welche Sie vielleicht interessieren, habe ich roth angestrichen (p. 218, 220, 222, 233) 243).7

Einen anderen Aufsatz lege ich noch bei, welcher die Beschreibung einer neuen Medusen-Form (Crambessa) und einigen fossilen Medusen enthält.8 Es ist eine rein descriptive Arbeit, ohne besondere Ideen. Ferner darf ich Sie wohl bitten, das beigelegte zweite Exemplar von beiden Arbeiten (Spongien und Medusen) an Mr. Norman zu senden, dessen nähere Adresse ich nicht sicher weiss. Da Sie mir auch die gütige Offerte machten, einen Brief an Mr. Norman befördern zu wollen, lege ich diesen mit ein.

Meine Entwickelungsgeschichte der Siphonophoren, die ich bereits Ende Juli an Sie durch Buchhändler abschickte, werden Sie inzwischen hoffentlich erhalten haben.9 Von Interesse dürften darin für Sie vielleicht folgende Theile sein: IV (p. 38), VII (p. 73), VIII (p. 80) und X (p. 92, 97, 100, 103).

Meine Reise nach Norwegen war interessant, obwohl nicht sehr angenehm. In Christiania10 freute ich mich sehr, in dem ausgezeichneten Zoologen Sars einen begeisterten Darwinisten kennen zu lernen,11 der auch speciell meine Hypothese von dem Ursprung der Echinodermen billigte.12 Er ist schon sehr alt, aber geistig noch sehr frisch. Von Christiania ging ich durch das innere Norway (Valders) nach dem Sogne-Fjord. Ich sah wohl mehr als 12 oder 16 Ponys mit ausgezeichneten Zebra-Streifen an Beinen und Schultern. Sie sollen dort sehr häufig sein.13 (N. B. Hier in Jena läuft auch ein Esel mit solchen Beinstreifen herum (aber kein Professor, wie Sie vielleicht denken könnten!) Die längste Zeit fischte ich in Bergen, wo ich auch Mr Gwyn-Jeffreys begegnete, und in dem ausgezeichneten Naturforscher Danielson einen Verehrer Ihrer Theorie fand.14 Ebenso traf ich in Hamburg fast alles Darwinistisch. Ihr Porträt hängt in dem berühmten Aquarium.—15

Nochmals vielen, vielen Dank, theurer Freund! Hoffentlich befinden Sie sich recht wohl. In unverändlicher Treue Ihr Haeckel

N. B. Die in Norway beobachteten Kalk-Spongien sind sehr wichtig für Ihre Theorie

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 17, Appendix I.
Haeckel had asked CD to help him obtain specimens of calcareous sponges. See letter from Ernst Haeckel, 2 July 1869, and letter to Ernst Haeckel, 3 August [1869].
Haeckel refers to Alfred Merle Norman. See letter from A. M. Norman, 2 August 1869.
George James Allman was professor of natural history and keeper of the natural history museum at Edinburgh University (ODNB). See also letter from A. M. Norman, 2 August 1869.
James Scott Bowerbank had a large private collection and was working on a multi-volume monograph on British sponges (Bowerbank 1864–82; ODNB).
Haeckel refers to his paper, ‘Ueber den Organismus der Schwämme und ihre Verwandtschaft mit den Corallen’ (Haeckel 1869b; later translated as ‘On the organisation of sponges, and their relationship to the corals’, Haeckel 1870b). CD’s lightly annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Haeckel refers to ‘Ueber die Crambessiden, eine neue Medusen-Familie aus der Rhizostomeengruppe’ (On the Crambessidae, a new medusa family of the rhizostomean group; Haeckel 1869c). CD’s copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. The genus Crambessa and the family Crambessidae are now considered invalid; the family corresponds roughly to the modern family Catostylidae in the order Rhizostomeae.
Haeckel refers to Zur Entwickelungsgeschichte der Siphonophoren (On the developmental history of the siphonophores; Haeckel 1869a). See letter from Ernst Haeckel, 2 July 1869 and n. 5.
Christiania is now Oslo, the capital of Norway.
Michael Sars was professor of zoology at Christiania University.
For Haeckel’s view on the descent of echinoderms, see Haeckel 1868c, pp. 420–1 and tables I and III.
CD had discussed stripes in the Norwegian horse in Variation 1: 58.
Haeckel refers to John Gwyn Jeffreys and Daniel Cornelius Danielssen.
The Hamburg aquarium opened in 1864 and was regarded as one of the finest in Europe (Taylor 1876, p. 17).

Translation

From Ernst Haeckel1   29 September 1869

Jena

29. Sept. 69

Most esteemed, dear friend!

Just last night I returned from a two-month trip to Norway, and found your kind letter of 5 August, which unfortunately arrived only after I had already departed.2 I am extremely grateful for your great kindness and for all the trouble you have gone to on account of my Calcispongiae; but I almost regret having caused you so much trouble and loss of time with my request.3 Hopefully the results of my work will be so satisfactory, and so useful especially for “Darwinism”, that at least all your efforts will not have been in vain.— The kind offer of Mr. Norman to send me the English calcareous sponges I accept very gratefully, as I have so far been able to get hold of only very few English calcareous sponges.4 Until now only Mr. Allman was so kind as to send me sponges from the Edinburgh collection.5 On the other hand, Mr. Bowerbank, to whom I have written on this matter twice already this summer, has answered neither of my letters.6 He probably believes that he alone has the monopoly on understanding sponges and regards other works as superfluous.

I am enclosing the preliminary report on the results to date of my researches on sponges; the passages that might interest you I have marked in red (p. 218, 220, 222, 233) 243).7

I also enclose another essay that includes a description of a new form of medusa (Crambessa) and a number of fossil medusae.8 It is a purely descriptive work, without any special ideas. Furthermore, may I kindly ask you to send the enclosed second copy of both works (sponges and medusae) to Mr. Norman, whose exact address I do not know for sure. Since you also so kindly offered to forward a letter to Mr. Norman, I enclose \pagebreak this as well.

In the meantime I hope you will have received my Entwickelungsgeschichte der Siphonophoren, which I already despatched to you through the publisher at the end of July.9 The following sections may interest you: IV (p. 38), VII (p. 73), VIII (p. 80) and X (p. 92, 97, 100, 103).

My journey to Norway was interesting, though not very comfortable. In Christiania10 I was very pleased to meet an enthusiastic Darwinist in the excellent zoologist Sars,11 who also specifically approved of my hypothesis on the origins of echinoderms.12 He is already quite old, but mentally still very vigorous. From Christiania I travelled through the interior of Norway (Valders) to the Sogne-Fjord. I saw as many as 12 or 16 ponies with excellent zebra-stripes on legs and shoulders. They are supposed to be very common there.13 (N. B. here in Jena there also is an ass with such stripes on its legs running around (but not a professor, as you may well be thinking!). I fished for the longest time in Bergen, where I also met Mr Gwyn-Jeffreys, and where I found an admirer of your theory in the excellent naturalist Danielson.14 Likewise I found at Hamburg almost everything Darwinistic. Your portrait is on display in the famous aquarium.—15

Again many, many thanks, dear friend! I hope you are quite well. Ever devotedly your Haeckel

N. B. The calcareous sponges observed in Norway are very important for your theory

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original German, see pp. 413–14.
Haeckel had asked CD to help him obtain specimens of calcareous sponges. See letter from Ernst Haeckel, 2 July 1869, and letter to Ernst Haeckel, 3 August [1869].
Haeckel refers to Alfred Merle Norman. See letter from A. M. Norman, 2 August 1869.
George James Allman was professor of natural history and keeper of the natural history museum at Edinburgh University (ODNB). See also letter from A. M. Norman, 2 August 1869.
James Scott Bowerbank had a large private collection and was working on a multi-volume monograph on British sponges (Bowerbank 1864–82; ODNB).
Haeckel refers to his paper, ‘Ueber den Organismus der Schwämme und ihre Verwandtschaft mit den Corallen’ (Haeckel 1869b; later translated as ‘On the organisation of sponges, and their relationship to the corals’, Haeckel 1870b). CD’s lightly annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Haeckel refers to ‘Ueber die Crambessiden, eine neue Medusen-Familie aus der Rhizostomeengruppe’ (On the Crambessidae, a new medusa family of the rhizostomean group; Haeckel 1869c). CD’s copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. The genus Crambessa and the family Crambessidae are now considered invalid; the family corresponds roughly to the modern family Catostylidae in the order Rhizostomeae.
Haeckel refers to Zur Entwickelungsgeschichte der Siphonophoren (On the developmental history of the siphonophores; Haeckel 1869a). See letter from Ernst Haeckel, 2 July 1869 and n. 5.
Christiania is now Oslo, the capital of Norway.
Michael Sars was professor of zoology at Christiania University.
For Haeckel’s view on the descent of echinoderms, see Haeckel 1868c, pp. 420–1 and tables I and III.
CD had discussed stripes in the Norwegian horse in Variation 1: 58.
Haeckel refers to John Gwyn Jeffreys and Daniel Cornelius Danielssen.
The Hamburg aquarium opened in 1864 and was regarded as one of the finest in Europe (Taylor 1876, p. 17).

Summary

Thanks CD for assistance concerning sponge specimens. Mentions Englishmen who have sent specimens. J. S. Bowerbank has not answered requests.

Sends articles dealing with sponges and Medusae. Cites passages for CD to read. Suggests passages from Entwicklungsgeschichte der Siphonophoren [1869].

Describes meeting with Sars and his trip to Norway.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-6917
From
Ernst Philipp August (Ernst) Haeckel
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Jena
Source of text
DAR 166: 53
Physical description
4pp (German)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6917,” accessed on 15 December 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6917

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

letter