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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Ernst Krause   5 [May] 18791

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

April 5th. 79

My dear Sir

I forgot to say one thing in my former note.—2 I formerly offered to have an M.S. copy made of my “Preliminary Notice”; but I think it will be a better plan for you to wait till I get the first proof-sheets. For the man whom I employ to copy has only a short time daily for the work, & I did not intend to have the letters & some extracts copied at all. Moreover I always correct my M.S. & the proofs heavily. For these various reasons I think it wd be the best plan for you to wait till I can send you corrected proofs. I may repeat that I am quite doubtful whether the Preliminary Notice will be worth translating, as it is written for the English Public.— If, however, you much wish it I will have a second copy of the M.S made.3

I suppose that you will not object to a French Translation of the little book, for I mentioned incidentally to Reinwald what I was doing & he said that he wd. bring out a French Translation.4

I advised him to wait to see whether it is worth translating. I daresay Mess Appleton of New York will wish for an American edition, & I presume you will not object.—5 Pray let me hear your decision. about the second copy.

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

As there has been a break in my experimental work I have begun the Preliminary & Notice & written a dozen pages.—6


The month is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Ernst Krause, 8 May 1879. CD evidently wrote April instead of May by mistake.
CD was preparing a biographical sketch of Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802) as a preliminary notice to the English translation of Krause’s work (Krause 1879a; Erasmus Darwin). Ebenezer Norman was CD’s copyist. CD’s notice was included in the German edition (Krause 1880, pp. 1–72).
No French translation was published. Charles-Ferdinand Reinwald was CD’s publisher in Paris.
D. Appleton & Co. brought out a US edition in 1880, using the stereotypes of Erasmus Darwin (Erasmus Darwin US ed.).
In his ‘Journal’ (Appendix II), CD recorded that he spent the whole of 1879 ‘on circumnutating movements of plants, except about 6 weeks on Life of Erasmus Darwin’.


Erasmus Darwin. By Ernst Krause. Translated from the German by W. S. Dallas, with a preliminary notice by Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1879.

Erasmus Darwin US ed.: Erasmus Darwin. By Ernst Krause. Translated from the German by W. S. Dallas, with a preliminary notice by Charles Darwin. New York: D. Appleton and Company. 1880.

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.


Thinks it better to send proofs of his preface [to Erasmus Darwin] rather than MS – he always corrects proofs heavily. Doubts that it is worth translating into German – it is written for the English public. Supposes EK will not object to a French translation and an American edition of the little book. Has written a dozen pages during a break

in his experimental work [on movement of plants].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Ernst Ludwig (Ernst) Krause
Sent from
Source of text
The Huntington Library (HM 36180)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11978,” accessed on 23 February 2024,