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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. V. Carus   22 November [1875]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Nov 22nd.

My dear Sir

I am most sincerely grieved to hear of your illness & earnestly hope that you will soon be completely recovered. I will now answer your question as well as I can.2

There can be no doubt that “animal matter” l 3 p 106 ought to be earthy matter.

A “minim” is the unit in our Apothecaries’ Measure of Fluids which is as follows

60 minims = 1 fluid drachm
8 drachms = 1 fluid oz
20 oz = 1 pint

Our clumsy nomenclature in which the same words drachm and ounce are used for weight or fluid measure, is very puzzling— You will see therefore that in yr example p 124, “2 dr” is fluid measure, the equivalent in the metric system being given in brackets, as in the case of grains and grammes. Using “ml” instead of the universally employed “cc” was an unfortunate mistake which was not detected till it was too late to rectify it.

The note on p 111 should be Schiff ‘Lęcons &c’ T ii p 2493  I am exceedingly sorry that these errata should have given you the trouble they must have done & am very much obliged to you for calling my attention to them

I give the following errata, which may possibly have escaped your eye—

p 127 l 12 from bottom

for “lepidum” read “lepidium”

p 344 l 7 from bottom

for “pour fourth” read “pour forth”—(merely false spelling)

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely. | C. Darwin

Insectivorous Plants have sold well in England.—

You do not say what you think of my suggestion to employ some one to translate “Climbing Plants,” under your superintendence. Ch. Martins is doing this in France.4


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. V. Carus, 20 November 1875.
Carus had suggested several corrections for the German translation of Insectivorous plants (see letter from J. V. Carus, 20 November 1875).
Charles Frédéric Martins was employing Richard Gordon to translate Climbing plants 2d ed. into French (Gordon trans. 1877; see Correspondence vol. 24, letter from C. F. Martins, 5 July 1876).


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

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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

Schiff, Moritz. 1867. Leçons sur la physiologie de la digestion, faites au Muséum d’histoire naturelle de Florence. 2 vols. Florence: Hermann Loescher.


Thanks JVC for corrections in Insectivorous plants. Explains confusion of fluid and dry measures. The work has sold well in England.

Repeats suggestion that JVC employ someone to translate Climbing plants under his supervision.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Julius Victor Carus
Sent from
Source of text
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Slg. Darmstaedter Lc 1859: Darwin, Charles, Bl. 127–128)
Physical description
LS(A) 4pp & ADraft 1p inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10269,” accessed on 29 September 2023,

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