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Darwin Correspondence Project

To H. E. Litchfield   4 January 1881


Jan 4. 81

My dear Henrietta,

Enclosed is the article in Kosmos translated by Bessie & the letter which your mother has translated to me.—1 There is another letter in M.S intended for publication in Dallas’ Journal of Popular Science, which I have not yet had translated & which shall be sent tomorrow.—2

Now your husband,3 as I well know is the kindest & most unselfish of men & I want him to      about the publication of a translation of the Kosmos article.— I have no connection with the Athenæum, but have little doubt that Dallas for payment would make a good translation & publish it in Popular Science.— This Journal has not a wide circulation, but I can always refer to it for my vindication if necessary. I can see that Mr.      with his love of notoriety would like its publication & call me & Krause liars.4

As Mr.      is connected with periodical literature, would there be any harm in consulting him at my request,5—not that for one moment I doubt the judiciousness of the “judicious Litchfield”;6 but 2 heads are generally better than one.—

I suppose Krause’s answer about the extracts must be published & then it will seem odd no vindication of me appearing.— If published in Dallas’ Journal, the affair would cost me no trouble.— Pray think over it.— Krause’s fault is a very venial one: & I will      in original M.S cut out at Coniston that there was a passage about      having misunderstood Buffon.— The answer about Coleridge seems clear,7

Yr. affecate. Father | C Darwin

I have sent off Memorial on Wallace to Gladstone.8 I am worked half to death about odds & ends—Though everything goes well.

I have heard today from      & that the Movements of Plants “are moving off very nicely” & they must print at once 500 more, making 2000 copies   Mudie is the great consumer!!!9

P.S. 2nd.— I have now heard translated Krause’s letter for Popular Science & it seems to me good.— I would ask Dallas to insert it without any allusion to me.— He might afterwards give a translation of the Kosmos article, if it be thought advisable.—10 Keep carefully all documents including sheets from Kosmos.— Please show everything to George,11 as he is interested in the subject: he is a dead hand at reading & translating, & would translate (I dare say) Krause’s letter to Dallas to Litchfield.— Would Athenæum be much better than Dallas’ Journal: the latter seems in some respects the natural place for it.— There had better be no delay compatible with full consideration of the case.


In his letter of 2 January 1881, Krause had enclosed a separate response to accusations made by Samuel Butler; Krause suggested that it be published in Popular Science Review, which was edited by William Sweetland Dallas.
The reference is to Butler, who had initiated a public controversy with CD in a letter in the Athenaeum, 31 January 1880 (see Correspondence vol. 28, letter to H. E. Litchfield, 1 February [1880] and enclosure 1). The gap in the transcription was left by the copyist.
The reference is to Leslie Stephen.
Butler had accused Krause of taking quotations from Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Georges Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon, without acknowledgment from Butler 1879 (see Butler 1880, pp. 62–3; see also letter from Ernst Krause, 2 January 1881 and n. 4). While CD was staying in Coniston, in the Lake District, he had asked Krause to make substantial cuts to the essay in Erasmus Darwin (see Correspondence vol. 27, letter to Ernst Krause, 13 August 1879, and letter from Ernst Krause, 16 August 1879).
CD had enclosed a memorial for a civil list pension for Alfred Russel Wallace with the letter to W. E. Gladstone, [4 January 1881].
No letter from CD’s publisher has been found. After the initial print run of 1000, 500 additional copies of Movement in plants had been printed in November 1880 (see Correspondence vol. 28, letter from R. F. Cooke, 26 November 1880); evidently a further 500 were printed in early January, completing the second thousand (see Freeman 1977). Charles Edward Mudie was the founder of Mudie’s Select Library, a large subscription library.
A slightly revised version of Krause’s reply to Butler was published in Nature, 27 January 1881, p. 288; Krause’s article in Kosmos (Krause 1881b) did not appear in Popular Science Review.


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.

Butler, Samuel. 1880. Unconscious memory: a comparison between the theory of Dr. Ewald Hering, … and the ‘Philosophy of the unconscious’ of Dr. Edward von Hartmann. London: David Bogue.

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

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. 1881b. Unconscious memory by Samuel Butler. Kosmos 8 (1880–1): 321–2.

Movement in plants: The power of movement in plants. By Charles Darwin. Assisted by Francis Darwin. London: John Murray. 1880.


Seeks R. B. Litchfield’s advice about publishing a translation of a letter and article by E. Krause [answering Samuel Butler’s Unconscious memory].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henrietta Emma Darwin/Henrietta Emma Litchfield
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 153: 89
Physical description
C 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12978,” accessed on 6 February 2023,