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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. S. Dallas   9 May 1879

Geological Society, | Burlington House, W.

9 May 1879

My dear Sir

Have you seen a small work just published by Hardwicke & Bogue, entitled “Evolution, old & new” by Samuel Butler? I have read but a little way in it, but the author seems to be writing the panegyric of Dr. Erasmus Darwin & his Philosophy—1 There are over 20 pages of the life of Dr. Darwin & 40 of exposition of his views & quotations from the “Zoonomia”.—2 Does not this rather take the wind out of our sails?

Believe me | yours very truly | W. S. Dallas

C. Darwin Esq G


Samuel Butler discussed Erasmus Darwin, CD’s grandfather, in S. Butler 1879, pp. 173–234. Dallas was translating Ernst Krause’s revised essay on Erasmus Darwin (Krause 1879a) for publication as part of Erasmus Darwin.
Erasmus Darwin had published his evolutionary views in Zoonomia (E. Darwin 1794–6).


Butler, Samuel. 1879. Evolution, old and new: or, the theories of Buffon, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, and Lamarck, as compared with that of Mr. Charles Darwin. London: Hardwicke and Bogue.

Darwin, Erasmus. 1794–6. Zoonomia; or, the laws of organic life. 2 vols. London: J. Johnson.

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


Has CD seen Samuel Butler’s Evolution, old and new [1879], which contains a biography of Erasmus Darwin and exposition of his philosophy? "Does not this rather take the wind out of our sails?"

Letter details

Letter no.
William Sweetland Dallas
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Geological Society
Source of text
DAR 99: 106
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12045,” accessed on 19 April 2024,