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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. J. Moulinié   1 January 1872


January 1 1872

Dear Sir,

Excuse me for the long delay between my answer to your kind letter of the beginning of this month and my answer at the end, but the numerous occupations, private (corrections of the Origin & Dessendance) and official, have left me hardly any time to compare the new edition of Origin, of which I have received since the four first accompanying your letter, eleven others, in total 240 pages, to give you my opinion on the manner of introducing them in the printed translation.1 The most important change between the 5th & 6th edition, is the fact that the VIIth chapter has an another object in the last, than in the VIIth of the preceding; and the VIIIth (Instinct) corresponds to the VIIth of the translation of the 5th Edition; the IXth to the VIIIth, I cannot tell more, not having above the beginning of the IXth chapter.2 As all the chapters of the translation are printed with their titles and summary heads, they must remain so, but will not concord by their ciphers with those of the 6th, except in the six first; I suppose at least that this will have the result of establishing 15 chapters instead of 14 in the 6th English edition, the number of 14 subsisting in the translation. This will require a preface as clear as possible to attract the reader to the corrections, and great attention in the cases of citations, the difference of number of the English edition, with that of the French, must be given. All this difficulty will be, when all the elements of the supplemental part will be collected, to give them the predominance on the old text, the first by order, and in which no where references to the supplementary can being now inserted. I think a table placed before the Introduction, giving the pages of the text, and those corresponding to the same object in the supplement might be very useful to recall to his mind the moment where he is to recur to it, and give him the means of finding it immediately.3

The first volume of Descendance will I hope soon be published, it is actually at the 22d sheet on 30 total, calculated by what is done. The second will follow immediately.4

With my respectful compliments to Mrs. Darwin, may the year on the first day of which this letter carries the date, be less unfortunate than the last,5 and I conclude by a Happy New Year for Mr. Darwin and his family; and hoping this will find you in good health, I remain dear Sir, | your’s most respectfully devoted | J. J. Moulinié


CD had written to Moulinié, sending four proof-sheets of the sixth edition of Origin, on 5 December 1871 (Correspondence vol. 19). Moulinié was translating Descent and Origin 6th ed. into French (Moulinié trans. 1872 and 1873). Moulinie had almost finished translating Origin 5th ed. when CD wrote to him that a sixth edition was in preparation (Correspondence vol. 19, letter to J. J. Moulinié, 28 June [1871] and nn. 4 and 5, and letter from J. J. Moulinié, 7 July 1871).
CD had inserted a new chapter 7 into Origin 6th ed. to counter the objections of St George Jackson Mivart and others to the theory of natural selection. In the French translation (Moulinié trans. 1873), this chapter was printed at the end of the book, before the glossary and index.
Moulinié trans. 1873, pp. 517–24, summarised additions to be made to the first half of the translation to bring it into accord with the sixth edition.
Moulinié refers to his translation of Descent (Moulinié trans. 1872).
Moulinié alludes to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and 1871, and its aftermath (see Wawro 2003).


The difficulties of incorporating the reorganised chapters of the 6th English edition of Origin into JJM’s translation, which was made from the 5th edition.

Letter details

Letter no.
Jean Jacques Moulinié
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 277
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8138,” accessed on 23 July 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20