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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Ernst Krause   18 July [1879]1

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

July 18th

My dear Sir

It is very kind of you to give me hints.— I can decide on nothing as yet, but I get more & more inclined to publish my notice after yours—leaving your Part unaltered or very little altered.2

I think that I shall condense & omit parts of my notice, & perhaps alter arrangement, so that you had better not waste time in Translating at present.—3 In England we like a simple Title—perhaps as follows.

Life of

Erasmus Darwin


Dr. Ernst Krause

with a supplementary notice


Charles Darwin4

If after due reflexion it seems to me & my family the best plan that my notice should follow your article, surely no one can blame you for translating in same order as it appears in England.—

As soon as I receive the whole translation from Mr. Dallas, I will set to work & get corrected proofs of my part & send them to you.5

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S. I feel sure that your article is much more interesting than mine & this is another good reason for its precedence.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Ernst Krause, 16 July 1879.
CD had written a biography of his grandfather Erasmus Darwin to accompany an English translation of an essay by Krause on Erasmus’s scientific work (Erasmus Darwin). In his letter of 16 July 1879, Krause had argued that it would be in accordance with German convention for CD’s biographical sketch to appear first. In the published English version, CD’s section appeared first.
Krause was hoping to bring out a German edition of Erasmus Darwin (Krause 1880).
The full title page of the published version reads: ‘Erasmus Darwin. | By Ernst Krause. | Translated from the German by W. S. Dallas. | With a preliminary notice | by Charles Darwin. | Portrait and woodcuts.’
William Sweetland Dallas had written that he hoped to finish the translation of Krause’s section of Erasmus Darwin by the end of the month (see letter from W. S. Dallas, 15 July 1879).


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. 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.


Is inclined to publish his "notice" after EK’s text in Erasmus Darwin. May condense and alter it, so EK should not translate yet. As soon as Dallas finishes translating EK’s text, CD will set to work. Thinks EK’s article more interesting than what he has written.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Ernst Ludwig (Ernst) Krause
Sent from
Source of text
The Huntington Library (HM 36190)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12164,” accessed on 9 June 2023,