skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Otto Zacharias   23 February 18771

Geestemünde,

den 23. Febr. 1877

Hochgeehrter Herr!

Ich bin eben dabei aus Ihrem Reisetagebuche (Beagle) diejenigen Stellen zusammenzustellen, in denen bereits der Keim Ihrer epochemachenden Theorie zu liegen scheint. z.b. Ihre bemerkungen ueber den Tinochorus rumicivorus u.a.m.2

Die Hauptfrage ist nun—und desshalb erlaube ich mir diese Zeilen an Sie zu richten—ob Sie schon damals (1839?) von der Inconstanz der Arten ueberzeugt waren, oder ob sich Ihnen diese Ueberzeugung erst viel später aufgedrängt hat.3 Von Ihrer Antwort auf diese Frage hängt es natürlich ab: ob ich in der Zusammenstellung fortfahre oder sie unterlasse.

Das Album ist, wie ich aus Ihrem liebenswürdigen Briefe an Herrn Rade ersehe sehr verspaetet angekommen.4 Das that mir recht leid. Ich habe es am 7. Febr. hier zur Post befördert.

Die Zeitschrift für Entwickelungstheorie erscheint nun am 15. Maerz unter dem Titel “Kosmos”. Ich bin nur Mitarbeiter, nicht Redacteur.*) Haeckel wollte aeltere Leute an der Spitze haben.5 Ich bin erst 30 Jahr alt, und ausserdem nicht Zoolog von Fach. Dies〈es〉 nur zur Nachricht, damit Sie nicht glauben, ich hätte damals mich bloss mit Redensarten bei Ihnen eingeführt.

Hochachtungsvoll | Otto Zacharias

Die Redacteure sind:

Dr. G. Jaeger

Dr. O. Caspari und

Dr. E. Krause (Carus Sterne)6

P Scr. | Anbei 2 Photogr., die nachtraeglich fuer das Album eingetroffen sind.7

CD annotations8

End of letter: ‘[‘The receipt of the magnificent’ del] Until the day of my death I shall look at the [‘magnificent’ del] album with the portraits of [‘the’ del] so many honoured German naturalists, as by far the [‘m’ del] greatest honour which has ever been or could be conferred on me.’ ink
Verso of last page: ‘July 1837.’ pencil

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Appendix I.
In Journal of researches (1860), p. 94, CD described Tinochorus rumicivorus (a synonym of Thinochorus rumicivorus, the least seedsnipe) as ‘a very singular little bird ... it nearly equally partakes of the characters, different as they are, of the quail and snipe.’ See also Birds, pp. 117–18, 155–6, and Correspondence vol. 1, letter to J. S. Henslow, [c. 26 October –] 24 November [1832] and n. 8.
On the formation of CD’s transmutation theory, see Origin, p. 1, and Recollections, pp. 410–11; see also M. J. S. Hodge 2010.
On the photograph album of German and Austrian scientists, see the letter from Emil Rade, [before 16] February 1877.
The first issue of Kosmos appeared in April 1877. On Ernst Haeckel’s support for the journal, see the letter from Otto Zacharias, 7 January 1877 and n. 5.
Krause had published under the pseudonym Carus Sterne.
No additional photographs have been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL or at Down House.
The notes are for CD’s reply (see letter to Otto Zacharias, [24 February 1877]).

Bibliography

Birds: Pt 3 of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. By John Gould. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1839–41.

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

Hodge, M. J. S. 2010. Darwin, the Galápagos and his changing thoughts about species origins: 1835–1837. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 4th ser. 61 (Supplement II, no. 7): 89–106.

Journal of researches (1860): Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle around the world, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN. By Charles Darwin. Reprint edition. London: John Murray. 1860.

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.

Translation

From Otto Zacharias   23 February 18771

Geestemünde,

23. Febr. 1877

Highly esteemed Sir!

I am currently collecting, from your Journal of the voyage (Beagle), those passages in which the germ of your epoch-making theory already appears. e.g. your remarks onTinochorus rumicivorus & other similar ones.2

The main question now is—and this is why I take the liberty of directing these lines to you—whether you were already then (1839?) convinced of the inconstancy of species, or whether this conviction only thrust itself upon you much later.3 Evidently your reply to this question will determine: whether I carry on the collection or let it go.

The album, as I gather from your kind letter to Mr Rade, arrived very belatedly.4 I am truly sorry. I posted it here on 7 Febr.

The magazine for evolution will now come out on 15 March under the name “Kosmos”. I am only a contributor, not editor.*) Haeckel wanted older people to head it.5 I am only 30 years old, and besides not a zoologist by profession. This just for your information, so that you won't think I have been introducing myself to you merely with empty words.

Respectfully | Otto Zacharias

The editors are:

Dr G. Jaeger

Dr O. Caspari and

Dr E. Krause (Carus Sterne)6

P Scr. | Enclosed 2 photogr. which arrived belatedly for the album.7

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original German, see p. QQQQ.
In Journal of researches (1860), p. 94, CD described Tinochorus rumicivorus (a synonym of Thinochorus rumicivorus, the least seedsnipe) as ‘a very singular little bird ... it nearly equally partakes of the characters, different as they are, of the quail and snipe.’ See also Birds, pp. 117–18, 155–6, and Correspondence vol. 1, letter to J. S. Henslow, [c. 26 October –] 24 November [1832] and n. 8.
On the formation of CD’s transmutation theory, see Origin, p. 1, and Recollections, pp. 410–11; see also M. J. S. Hodge 2010.
On the photograph album of German and Austrian scientists, see the letter from Emil Rade, [before 16] February 1877.
The first issue of Kosmos appeared in April 1877. On Ernst Haeckel’s support for the journal, see the letter from Otto Zacharias, 7 January 1877 and n. 5.
Krause had published under the pseudonym Carus Sterne.
No additional photographs have been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL or at Down House.

Bibliography

Birds: Pt 3 of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. By John Gould. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1839–41.

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

Hodge, M. J. S. 2010. Darwin, the Galápagos and his changing thoughts about species origins: 1835–1837. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 4th ser. 61 (Supplement II, no. 7): 89–106.

Journal of researches (1860): Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle around the world, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN. By Charles Darwin. Reprint edition. London: John Murray. 1860.

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.

Summary

Was CD already convinced of evolution when he published Journal of researches?

Photograph album will be late coming.

Evolutionary magazine to appear in March under title of Kosmos.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-10862
From
Otto Zacharias
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Geestemünde
Source of text
DAR 184: 5
Physical description
3pp † (German)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10862,” accessed on 7 May 2021, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-10862.xml

letter