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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Charles-Ferdinard Reinwald   13 November 1869

Paris. 15 rue des Sts Pères

Novr. 13th. 1869.

To Charles Darwin Esq.

Dear Sir

I duely received your letter of Nov. 10th. and am happy to accept fully your proposal to publish a new french translation of your celebrated work, “On the Origin of Species,” after the 5th. english edition with some unpublished corrections, you intend to insert.1

I therefore write this day to Col. Moulinié to begin the translation which I should be glad to have revised by M. Carl Vogt.2 In case M. Vogt should not be ready for the purpose; I would try, under your consentment, to engage another french naturalist for it.

The letter you had the kindness to write to me, will be sufficient to prove the right for a new translation, and I approve entirely your reasons not to compose with Mlle Royer or her editors for it.3 If it is however in my power to avoid to both of them a loss of money or of unsold copies, you may rely on my best intentions to do it.

I should be obliged to you if you would sent a copy of the 5th. edition to Col. Moulinié, and have the goodness to forward my little note to Mess. Murray, in order to get 2 copies of the same edition, which shall be paid by one of my friends in London. I will try to deposit these copies here at the Ministère de l Intérieur, in order to secure copyright, not according the international treaty with England, but according our french law of copyright.4

Any other arrangement you could have to propose, as for a number of french copies, or other charges for the right of translation, shall meet my best exertions to deal honestly and fairly with the celebrated author of the book in question.

I am happy, dear Sir, to be honoured with your confidence in the present occassion and beg to believe me | Dear Sir | your most obedient Servant | C Reinwald

To Charles Darwin, Esq | Down. Beckenham. Kent | Angleterre


CD’s letter to Reinwald of 10 November 1869 has not been found; however, see the letter to John Murray, 8 November [1869], and the letter from John Murray, 8 November [1869].
CD had corresponded with Jean Jacques Moulinié about the translation of the fifth edition of Origin (see letter from J. J. Moulinié, 5 November 1869). Carl Vogt also revised the French translation of Variation (Moulinié trans. 1868; see Correspondence vol. 15, letter from Carl Vogt, 23 April 1867).
On Clémence Auguste Royer’s translations of Origin, see the letter to John Murray, 8 November [1869] and n. 5.
The reference is to the French Ministry of the Interior.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Pleased to undertake publication of a new French translation of Origin based on the 5th English edition. J. J. Moulinié to be translator, with Carl Vogt reviewing his work. Will make arrangements to buy out the Royer edition [V. Masson et Fils; Guillaumin et Cie.].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles-Ferdinand Reinwald
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 176: 92
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6986,” accessed on 25 January 2020,

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