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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Ernst Krause   10 January 1881

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Jan 10. 1881

My dear Sir,

I have now consulted some good literary and scientific judges. All agree that your statement is a very good one, and all are unanimous that I ought not myself to take any notice of Mr Butler’s attack.1 On these grounds they advise me to ask you to be so good as to send your letter direct to:—

“W. S. Dallas Esq

Geolog Soc

Burlington House


asking him without any allusion to me to be so kind as to translate and publish your letter in the Pop: Sc: Review. If he should refuse I should ask you to authorize its being sent to ‘Nature’; but my advisers think that as Dallas translated your book, his journal would be the most appropriate place.2 I am myself very anxious that your letter should appear in English, so that if my character in future years is attacked, my sons could refer to your letter as well as to the article in Kosmos as a complete answer.3 Finally permit me to thank you cordially for having spontaneously written these articles, and believe me that I grieve that your time should have been lost in so frivolous & vexatious an affair.

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

P.S. | Since this note was written I have received your last very kind letter; and what you say about delay has altered my opinion and that of my family. We all think that ‘Nature’, which has a circulation of 5,000, would be much better than the Athenæum.4 In order that neither I nor my sons should be concerned with your letter, will you be so kind as to send it to

‘F. Balfour Esq FRS

Trin: Coll:


He has been staying here and offered to translate your letter and send it to ‘Nature’.5 He is one of our most distinguished Naturalists, and a man universally respected. You will have to alter your first sentence to adapt it for ‘Nature’; and permit me to add that it seems to me unadvisable at this particular time to refer to Herings works.6 You can yourself make the alteration indicated in your P.S.

I do hope that this will be your last trouble in the affair.

C. D.


Krause had sent CD a response to Butler, and had suggested publishing it in Popular Science Review, a journal edited by William Sweetland Dallas (see letter from Ernst Krause, 2 January 1881). Dallas had translated Krause’s essay in Erasmus Darwin.
Krause had also sent CD a review of Butler 1880 published in Kosmos (Krause 1881b; see letter from Ernst Krause, 2 January 1881).
See letter from Ernst Krause, 8 January 1881. Nature and the Athenæum were weekly journals, whereas Popular Science Review was published monthly. Butler had used the Athenæum to initiate the public controversy with CD (see Correspondence vol. 28, letter to H. E. Litchfield, 1 February [1880] and enclosure 1).
Francis Maitland Balfour arrived at Down on 8 January 1881 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). The translation of Krause’s reply to Butler was published in Nature, 27 January 1881, p. 288; it is a slightly revised version of the text Krause sent to CD in his letter of 2 January 1881.


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.

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


All his advisers agree that CD ought not to take notice of Butler’s attack.

F. M. Balfour has offered to translate EK’s reply to Butler and to send it to Nature. [The letter was published in Nature 23 (1881): 288.]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Ernst Ludwig (Ernst) Krause
Sent from
Source of text
The Huntington Library (HM 36212)
Physical description
LS 6pp & ADraft 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12998,” accessed on 23 April 2024,