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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. S. Dallas   12 March [1879]1

March 12th.


My dear Sir,

I do not know whether your many corrections ever allow you now to bring out translations, or whether, if you have the time, you would think it worth while to translate the life of my G. F. in the accompanying number of Kosmos.2

My brother & self think the sketch interesting & we wish to publish it as a separate very little book in honour of our grandfather.3 In case you would undertake it, we shd wish you to correct the proofs & that your name shd appear on the title page as translator, for this wd guarantee to everyone that it has been faithfully done. I wd endeavour to get Murray to publish it on commission, for I suppose only a few copies wd be sold.—4 I shd state that I have written to E. Krause for permission, & cannot doubt that this I shall receive.—5 After looking at the article, will you kindly inform me what compensation wd. make it worth while for you to undertake the work soon. If you are not willing to translate it can you tell us of anyone, though I have no doubt I cd easily find out from [6 words illeg]

very truly C. D.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. S. Dallas, 14 March 1879.
In addition to his position as assistant secretary to the Geological Society of London, Dallas was also editor of Annals and Magazine of Natural History and Popular Science Review (Geological Magazine n.s. decade 3, vol. 7 (1890): 335). Ernst Krause had published ‘Erasmus Darwin, der Großvater und Vorkämpfer Charles Darwin’s: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Descendenz-Theorie’ (Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin’s grandfather and forerunner: a contribution to the history of descent theory; Krause 1879a) in Kosmos in February 1879.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin had suggested that a translation of Krause 1879a would make an interesting book (see letter from E. A. Darwin, 8 March [1879]).
John Murray was CD’s publisher. With books published on commission, all publication expenses were paid by the author; CD’s other books were published under a profit-sharing model in which the publisher paid the initial cost of printing and advertising and these expenses were repaid from sales.
See letter to Ernst Krause, 9 March 1879. Krause gave his permission for a translation to be made in his letter of 12 March 1879.


Krause, Ernst. 1879a. Erasmus Darwin, der Großvater und Vorkämpfer Charles Darwin’s: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Descendenz-Theorie. Kosmos 4 (1878–9): 397–424.


Asks whether WSD would be interested in translating Ernst Krause’s article on Erasmus Darwin [Kosmos 4 (1879): 397–424] into English.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Sweetland Dallas
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 202: 39
Physical description
ADraftS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11927,” accessed on 25 January 2022,