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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Ernst Haeckel1   7 November 1875

Jena

7 Nov. 75

Hochverehrter theurer Freund!

Durch Ihre Güte erhielt ich gestern die neue Auflage Ihrer schönen Schrift über “Climbing Plants”. Den herzlichsten Dank dafür verbinde ich mit demjenigen für die “Insectivorous Plants”, welche mit ihren höchst interessanten Anpassungs- Phaenomenen nicht allein unter den Naturforschern, sondern auch in den philosophischen Kreisen Deutschlands das lebhafteste Interesse erregt haben.2 Ich hoffe, aus Ihrer rüstigen und unermüdlichen Thätigkeit schliessen zu dürfen, dass Ihre Gesundheit jetzt zufriedenstellend ist, und wünsche von Herzen, dass Sie mit unverminderter Arbeitskraft uns noch viele werthvolle Werke schenken! Ich selbst habe mich im ganzen letzten Sommer mit der ontogenetischen Beobachtung und phylogenetischen Deutung der fünf ersten Entwickelungs-Stufen des Thierkörpers beschäftigt, und glaube dieselben nunmehr überall auf eine und dieselbe ursprüngliche Entwickelungs-Weise zurückführen zu können. Diese Theorie habe ich in der beifolgenden Schrift über “die Gastrula und die Eifurchung” ausführlich zu begründen gesucht, als Consequenz und Ergänzung der “Gastraea-Theorie”.3 Die Keimung von Gastrophysema (auf Taf. VIII) stellt den reinen ursprünglichen Entwickelungs-Modus dar, wie er auch bei Amphioxus, Ascidia etc sich findet.4 Alle übrigen Formen der Gastrula-Bildung lassen sich auf jenen ersteren zurückführen.

Dieselbe ursprüngliche Form habe ich auch bei einer neuen Koralle aus dem rothen Meere beobachtet, deren Beschreibung und Abbildung ich Ihnen im nächsten Monat schicken werde, und welche ich Ihnen zu Ehren Monoxenia Darwinii getauft habe.5 Diese kleine Koralle (eine solitaere Alcyonarie) ist auch desshalb interessant, weil sie eine der primitivsten und ältesten Formen darstellt. Sie steht der von Perceval Wright beschriebenen Hartea nahe, ist aber noch einfacher gebaut; sie enthält gar kein Skelet, keine Spicula.6 Da diese Form unter allen lebenden Korallen der Stammform (wenigstens der Octactinien) am nächsten stehen dürfte, glaubte ich ihr keinen anderen Namen beilegen zu dürfen, als denjenigen des grossen Naturforschers, dem wir die ersten und besten Aufschlüsse über die Bildung der Korallenbänke verdanken.7

Die “Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte” ist nun auch in englischer Übersetzung erschienen, und ich hoffe das Ihnen Mr. King das für Sie bestimmte Exemplar richtig zugesandt haben wird. Ich hatte Mr. E. Ray-Lankester gebeten, dafür Sorge zu tragen.8 Die englische Übersetzung der “Anthropogenie” (welche in New-York erscheint) hoffe ich Ihnen auch noch in diesem Jahre senden zu können.9

Wie sehr der Darwinismus in Deutschland jetzt anerkannt wird, können Sie daraus sehen, dass ein Dr. Zacharias eine besondere Zeitschrift unter dem Namen “Darwinia” heraus geben will und dass sogar Theologen die Selections-Theorie ernstlich acceptiren!10

Mit den besten Wünschen für Ihre theure Gesundheit, bleibe ich, mein hochverehrter Freund, Ihr | treu ergebener | Ernst Haeckel

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Appendix I.
Climbing plants 2d ed. was published in the first half of November 1875 (Publishers’ circular, 16 November 1875, p. 932). Insectivorous plants was published on 2 July 1875 (see CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). Haeckel’s name is on CD’s presentation list for both books (see Appendix IV).
Haeckel sent an offprint of ‘Die Gastrula und die Eifurchung der Thiere’ (The gastrula and egg-cleavage of animals; Haeckel 1875b); CD’s lightly annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. Haeckel had first outlined his gastraea theory in his monograph on calcareous sponges (see Haeckel 1872, 1: 344–5; see also Correspondence vol. 22, letter from Ernst Haeckel, 20 December 1874 and n. 10). In his new work, Haeckel identified four principal cleavage types in embryogenesis and related these to modifications in the original form of the egg (Haeckel 1875b, pp. 78–111).
See Haeckel 1875b, p. 167. Gastrophysema (a synonym of Halyphysema) is a genus in the phylum Foraminifera (unicellular amoeboid protists). Amphioxus (the lancelet; now Branchiostoma lanceolatum), formerly considered to be a primitive fish, is now placed in the subphylum Cephalochordata (lancelets). Ascidia is a genus of sea squirt in the subphylum Urochordata (tunicates).
Haeckel’s description of Monoxenia darwinii was published in Arabische Korallen (Arabian corals; Haeckel 1876b, pp. 6–8), a profusely illustrated book based on popular lectures with additional scientific explanation. Haeckel sent CD a copy in early 1876 (Correspondence vol 24, letter from Ernst Haeckel, 31 January – 1 February 1876); it is now in the Darwin Library–Down.
Alcyonaria is a former name of the subclass Octocorallia (soft corals, sea pens). The genus Hartea was described by Edward Perceval Wright as a solitary form, unlike most Alcyonaria, which are typically aggregated forms; he described the basal portion of its body as thickly studded with small star-shaped spicula (E. P. Wright 1865, pp. 214, 216–17).
Octactinia is a former name of Octocorallia (see n. 6, above). Haeckel alludes to CD’s work Coral reefs, the second edition of which was published in June 1874 (Publishers’ circular, 1 July 1874, p. 420).
Haeckel’s History of creation (Haeckel 1876a), a translation of the sixth edition of his Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte (Haeckel 1875a), was published in 1876. Henry Samuel King was the publisher of History of creation. CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 357).
The English translation of Haeckel 1877 (the third edition of his Anthropogenie, first published in 1874) was published in 1879 by C. Kegan Paul & Co. in England and by D. Appleton & Co. in the US (Haeckel 1879a and 1879b). CD’s lightly annotated copy of The evolution of man (Haeckel 1879a) is in the Darwin Library–Down (see Marginalia 1: 355). The publishing business of H. S. King was sold to Kegan Paul in October 1877 (Publishers’ circular, 16 October 1877, p. 764; see n. 8, above).
Otto Zacharias had written to CD about his plans for a journal to be called Darwinia (letter from Otto Zacharias, 3 June 1875).

Bibliography

Climbing plants 2d ed.: The movements and habits of climbing plants. 2d edition. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Coral reefs: The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1842.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Wright, Edward Perceval. 1865. On a new genus of Alcyonidae. Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science 2d ser. 5: 213–17.

Translation

From Ernst Haeckel1   7 November 1875

Jena

7 Nov. 75

Most honoured, dear friend!

Yesterday I received, through your kindness, the new edition of your beautiful work on “Climbing Plants”. I send most heartfelt thanks for it along with my gratitude for “Insectivorous Plants”, which, with their most interesting phenomena of adaptation, have excited the most lively interest here, not just among naturalists, but also in German philosophical circles.2

I hope, from your vigorous and untiring activity, I can conclude that your health is satisfactory, and I wish with all my heart that you may continue with undiminished productivity and give us many more valuable works yet! I myself have been busy all this past summer with ontogenetic observation and the phylogenetic interpretation of the first five stages in the development of the animal body, and I believe I can finally trace these back in all cases now to one and the same original type of development. This theory I have tried to set out in great detail in the enclosed work on “die Gastrula und die Eifurchung” as a conclusion and supplement to the “Gastraea-Theorie”.3 The germination of Gastrophysema (on table VIII) represents the pure, original process of development as is also found in Amphioxus, Ascidia etc.4 All other types of Gastrula-formation can be traced back to this former one.

I also observed this same original type in a new coral from the Red Sea, a description and illustration of which I will send you next month, and which I have named, in your honour, Monoxenia Darwinii.5 This little coral (a solitary Alcyonaria) is of interest also because it represents one of the most primitive and ancient forms. It is closely related to the Hartea described by Perceval Wright, but is even more basic in its structure. It contains no skeleton, no spicula.6 Since among all living corals this form is probably closest to the ancestral form (at least of the Octactinia), I felt I could give her no other name than that of the great naturalist to whom we owe the first and the best insights into the formation of coral reefs.7

The “Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte” has now appeared in English translation, and I trust that Mr. King has sent you the copy that was intended for you. I had asked Mr. E. Ray-Lankester to take care of it.8 The English translation of “Anthropogenie” (which will come out in New York) I hope to be able to send you before the end of the year.9

To what extent Darwinism is now acknowledged in Germany you may gather from the fact that a Dr. Zacharias is planning to bring out a special magazine with the name “Darwinia” and that even theologians seriously accept your theory of selection!10

With the best wishes for your precious health, I remain, my most esteemed friend, Yours | truly devoted | Ernst Haeckel

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original German, see pp. 437–41.
Climbing plants 2d ed. was published in the first half of November 1875 (Publishers’ circular, 16 November 1875, p. 932). Insectivorous plants was published on 2 July 1875 (see CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). Haeckel’s name is on CD’s presentation list for both books (see Appendix IV).
Haeckel sent an offprint of ‘Die Gastrula und die Eifurchung der Thiere’ (The gastrula and egg-cleavage of animals; Haeckel 1875b); CD’s lightly annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. Haeckel had first outlined his gastraea theory in his monograph on calcareous sponges (see Haeckel 1872, 1: 344–5; see also Correspondence vol. 22, letter from Ernst Haeckel, 20 December 1874 and n. 10). In his new work, Haeckel identified four principal cleavage types in embryogenesis and related these to modifications in the original form of the egg (Haeckel 1875b, pp. 78–111).
See Haeckel 1875b, p. 167. Gastrophysema (a synonym of Halyphysema) is a genus in the phylum Foraminifera (unicellular amoeboid protists). Amphioxus (the lancelet; now Branchiostoma lanceolatum), formerly considered to be a primitive fish, is now placed in the subphylum Cephalochordata (lancelets). Ascidia is a genus of sea squirt in the subphylum Urochordata (tunicates).
Haeckel’s description of Monoxenia darwinii was published in Arabische Korallen (Arabian corals; Haeckel 1876b, pp. 6–8), a profusely illustrated book based on popular lectures with additional scientific explanation. Haeckel sent CD a copy in early 1876 (Correspondence vol 24, letter from Ernst Haeckel, 31 January – 1 February 1876); it is now in the Darwin Library–Down.
Alcyonaria is a former name of the subclass Octocorallia (soft corals, sea pens). The genus Hartea was described by Edward Perceval Wright as a solitary form, unlike most Alcyonaria, which are typically aggregated forms; he described the basal portion of its body as thickly studded with small star-shaped spicula (E. P. Wright 1865, pp. 214, 216–17).
Octactinia is a former name of Octocorallia (see n. 6, above). Haeckel alludes to CD’s work Coral reefs, the second edition of which was published in June 1874 (Publishers’ circular, 1 July 1874, p. 420).
Haeckel’s History of creation (Haeckel 1876a), a translation of the sixth edition of his Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte (Haeckel 1875a), was published in 1876. Henry Samuel King was the publisher of History of creation. CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 357).
The English translation of Haeckel 1877 (the third edition of his Anthropogenie, first published in 1874) was published in 1879 by C. Kegan Paul & Co. in England and by D. Appleton & Co. in the US (Haeckel 1879a and 1879b). CD’s lightly annotated copy of The evolution of man (Haeckel 1879a) is in the Darwin Library–Down (see Marginalia 1: 355). The publishing business of H. S. King was sold to Kegan Paul in October 1877 (Publishers’ circular, 16 October 1877, p. 764; see n. 8, above).
Otto Zacharias had written to CD about his plans for a journal to be called Darwinia (letter from Otto Zacharias, 3 June 1875).

Bibliography

Climbing plants 2d ed.: The movements and habits of climbing plants. 2d edition. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Coral reefs: The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1842.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Wright, Edward Perceval. 1865. On a new genus of Alcyonidae. Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science 2d ser. 5: 213–17.

Summary

Thanks CD for Climbing plants and Insectivorous plants.

Discusses his research on phylogeny. Results described in "Die Gastrula und die Eifurchung der Tiere" [Jena. Z. Naturw. 9 (1875): 402–508].

Describes newly discovered coral.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-10246
From
Ernst Philipp August (Ernst) Haeckel
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Jena
Source of text
DAR 166: 65
Physical description
4pp (German)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10246,” accessed on 5 December 2020, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-10246.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23

letter