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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Federico Delpino1   28 February 1870

Firenze

addì 28. Febbrajo 1870.

Celeberrimo uomo!

Ho ricevuto per insigne cortesia della S.V. i due numeri della “scientific opinion”, ove Ella si è piaciuta di far pubblicare, tradotto in inglese, il saggio sulle Marantacee.2 Gradisca i miei più sentiti ringraziamenti.

Ella scorgerà con piacere, credo, che in tutti i miei lavori, per quanto poco ne possa essere il merito intrinseco, non ostante è mio intendimento sempre di rendere omaggio e di sviluppare la dottrina che la S.V. ha saputo con tanta potenza di ingegno fondare e costituire. Altri chiameranno ipotesi la teoria che dalla S.V. prende il nome; ma io con piena convinzione non esito a propugnarla, non già come teoria ma come dottrina di fatto. Tutte le parti di cui si compone la scienza fitologica, se si ammette la dottrina della trasformazione, sono piane e intelligibili; ammettendo invece la teoria avversaria, nulla più si comprende—

Vi sono poi alcune parti, come sarebbe la teratologia, la quale a dirittura non ha senso se non che colla dottrina della trasformazione— La esistenza degli organi rudimentarii poi è una prova assoluta della verità di detta dottrina— La S.V. avrà pertanto in me un discepolo, quanto poco abile per se stesso a seguire con successo la strada da Lei tracciata, tanto però risoluto, convinto, e nelle sue convinzioni tenace ed immutabile.

Ora io divido coll’intiero mondo scientifico il vivo desiderio che presto siano per vedere la luce i trattati “sull’uomo” e “sulle variazioni degli esseri allo stato di Natura”.3 È facile il pronosticare il grande successo che saranno per avere i trattati medesimi, e come tanto bene staranno a fianco degl’immortali scritti “sulla origine delle specie” e “sulle variazioni allo stato di domesticità”

In questa aspettativa, io ho l’onore di dichiararmi della S.V. con profonda stima e vivissima ammirazione

ossequentissimo discepolo | Federico Delpino

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 18, Appendix I.
Delpino refers to the translation of his article on the biology and genealogy of the Marantaceae that appeared in Scientific Opinion on 2 and 9 February 1870 (Delpino 1870b).
Delpino refers to Descent, and to the ‘second work’ that CD discussed in Variation 1: 4–8, but which was never published.

Bibliography

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

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

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

Translation

From Federico Delpino1   28 February 1870

Florence

on the 28. February 1870.

Most distinguished man!

I have received, through the signal kindness of Your Honour, the two numbers of the “scientific opinion”, where you pleased to publish, in English translation, the essay on the Marantaceae.2 Please accept my most heartfelt thanks.

You will be pleased to notice, I think, that in all my work, however small its intrinsic merit may be, it is still always my purpose to pay respect to and to develop the doctrine which Your Honour has with such force of genius founded and established. Other may call hypothesis the theory that is named after Your Honour; I, however, shall not hesitate to propound it with full conviction, not just as a theory but as a doctrine of fact. All the parts of which the science of phytology is constituted are plain and intelligible, if one allows the doctrine of transformation; if, on the other hand, one allows for the contrary theory, nothing makes sense any more—

Then there are other parts, such as teratology, which directly make no sense without the doctrine of transformation— The existence of rudimentary organs then is an absolute proof for the truth of the aforesaid doctrine— Thus Your Honour will have a disciple in me who, however little he may be able to follow himself with success the trail that you have blazed, is still resolved, convinced, and in his convictions stubborn and immutable.

Now I share with the whole scientific world the lively desire that the treatises “on man” and “on the variation of beings in a state of nature” will soon see the light of day.3 It is easy to predict the great success which they will have, and how well they will stand side by side with the immortal books “on the origin of species” and “variation under domestication”

In the anticipation of these, I have the honour to declare my profound esteem and liveliest admiration of Your Honour

your most respectful disciple | Federico Delpino

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original Italian, see p. 51.
Delpino refers to the translation of his article on the biology and genealogy of the Marantaceae that appeared in Scientific Opinion on 2 and 9 February 1870 (Delpino 1870b).
Delpino refers to Descent, and to the ‘second work’ that CD discussed in Variation 1: 4–8, but which was never published.

Bibliography

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

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

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

Summary

Transformism explains rudimentary organs, and teratology, which are otherwise inexplicable.

Looking forward to publication of Descent

and CD’s expected book on "Variation in nature" [see Variation 1: 4].

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-7120
From
Federico Delpino
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Florence
Source of text
DAR 162: 146
Physical description
2pp (Italian)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7120,” accessed on 10 December 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-7120.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18

letter