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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Ernst Krause   2 April 1879

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Ap 2. 1879

My dear Sir,

I entirely agree with all you propose.1 I should not think of striking out anything that you might write, but would alter my own notice in accordance with what you may write. My materials are increasing a good deal, and I hope that I shall be able to give some sort of picture of what the man was. I am quite indifferent as to who publishes the German edition & it is entirely your affair. Pray understand that you will have to decide whether my preface or preliminary notice is worth translating.2

I am sure that you need not hunt for any correspondence between my grandfather & Dr Johnson, for I have always heard that they met only once & then hated each other.3 In the only catalogue of English books which I possess there is no entry of ‘Blackmore on Beauty’. Henry Brooke published in 1789 a poem entitled ‘Universal Beauty’ I could borrow this book (but could not send it to you) & if you desire could search whether there is anything about Dr Eras Darwin in it. My son has just told me that he saw, (he thinks in the Biographie Universelle) that Eras Darwin was supposed by some to have taken Brooke for a model.4

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Charles Darwin


Krause had proposed finishing the revisions to his essay on Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802) (Krause 1879a) before William Sweetland Dallas started translating the work into English (see letter from Ernst Krause, 30 March 1879). CD was preparing a biographical sketch of Erasmus Darwin as a preliminary notice to the translation (Erasmus Darwin).
Krause had assumed that CD would like the German edition of Krause’s work on Erasmus Darwin to be published by Eduard Koch, who was publishing a German edition of CD’s works (see letter from Ernst Krause, 30 March 1879; Freeman 1977). Instead, the German edition, which included CD’s preliminary notice, was published by Karl Alberts of the publishers Ernst Günther of Leipzig (Krause 1880, pp. 1–72).
Samuel Johnson had grown up in Lichfield, Derbyshire (where Erasmus Darwin had his medical practice), and later made visits to friends there (ODNB).
In his letter of 30 March 1879, Krause had suggested that Erasmus Darwin modelled his poetry on that of Henry Brooke and Richard Blackmore. (See Biographie universelle 10: 553.) It is not clear which of CD’s sons is being referred to. The catalogue of English books has not been identified; there is now no such title in the Darwin Library.


Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

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.

Krause, Ernst. 1880. Erasmus Darwin und seine Stellung in der Geschichte der Descendenz-Theorie von Ernst Krause. Mit seinem Lebens- und Charakterbilde von Charles Darwin. Leipzig: Ernst Günther.


CD agrees entirely with EK’s proposal. Has collected a good deal of material. Useless to hunt for correspondence between Dr Darwin and Samuel Johnson. They met only once and hated one another. Dr Darwin is said to have taken Henry Brooke, who published a poem entitled "Universal beauty", as a model.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Ernst Ludwig (Ernst) Krause
Sent from
Source of text
The Huntington Library (HM 36179)
Physical description
LS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11969,” accessed on 9 June 2023,