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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Ernst Krause   7 July 1879

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

July 7th 1879

My dear Sir

At last I send you (Registered) the proof-sheets of my Preliminary notice.1 I am disappointed with it & I fear that you will be greatly disappointed; but I have done my best. The style will require a little more correction, & I shall add a page or two at the beginning about the family in old times, about which we have discovered some curious particulars.2 Also perhaps another sentence on his advocacy of temperance—& on his work as a physician. Possibly I may strike out a few passages as too trifling, but this will depend on the judgment of some of my relations.3

The sentences in which I allude to your part, will of course be modified, after I have received & read the Translation, & settled what had best be done with your Biography.4 With wood cuts & additions, my notice will make about 150 pages. I feel sure Murray will not be willing to publish until the beginning of November.5

Two of my relations who can read German pretty easily have read your Article & like it much.6

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Charles Darwin


CD had written an essay on the life and character of Erasmus Darwin as an introduction to the translation of Krause’s biographical sketch of Erasmus, which had focused on the Erasmus’s scientific thought (Krause 1879a).
For more on George Howard Darwin’s discoveries about the Darwin family, see the letter from G. H. Darwin, 24 June 1879.
CD’s proof-sheets were edited by his daughter Henrietta Emma Litchfield; on her deletions and textual changes, see King-Hele ed. 2003, pp. xviii–xx. Other family members also read and commented on the manuscript (see, for example, letter from Leonard Darwin, [before 12 July] 1879).
Krause had revised his biographical sketch, including material that evidently duplicated some of CD’s essay (see letter to Ernst Krause, 5 June 1879, and letter from Ernst Krause, 13 June 1879).
Erasmus Darwin was published by John Murray (1808–92) in November; it contained a portrait of Erasmus Darwin as the frontispiece and two woodcuts (ibid., pp. 3, 125).
The relations have not been identified, but CD’s wife, Emma Darwin, and sons George and Francis knew German. Krause had revised his original Kosmos article (Krause 1879a) for 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.

King-Hele, Desmond, ed. 2003. Charles Darwin’s ‘The Life of Erasmus Darwin’. First unabridged edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University 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.


Sends proofs of his preface [to EK’s Erasmus Darwin], with which he is disappointed. Suggests additions and improvements he would like to make.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Ernst Ludwig (Ernst) Krause
Sent from
Source of text
The Huntington Library (HM 36188)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12136,” accessed on 22 February 2024,