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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Ernst Krause   7 February 1881

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

Feb. 7th 1881

My dear Sir

As Mr. Butlers last letter was almost wholly a renewed attack on me, & not on you, you probably will not think of answering it.1 But some of my friends have written to me today saying that they hope that you will not write again, as the letter which has been published contains everything which was necessary, & as Mr. Butler is utterly unscrupulous in what he writes.2 If you have preserved the letter in which I asked your permission for a translation, I shd. like to hear the date to keep as a record for my private satisfaction;3 & of a second letter in which I told you (if I remember rightly) that Mr Dallas had just informed me of the advertisement of Mr. Butlers book, for this was the first time I ever heard of it.—4

My dear Sir | Yours ever sincerely obliged | Ch. Darwin


Samuel Butler had published a letter in Nature, 5 February 1881, pp. 312–13, renewing his claim that unacknowledged use had been made of his work and that his views had been attacked by Krause and CD in Erasmus Darwin; he concluded by deploring CD’s lack of ‘gentlemanly conduct’.
Krause’s letter had been published in Nature, 27 January 1881, p. 288, with the title ‘Unconscious memory – Mr Samuel Butler’ (see letter to Ernst Krause, 29 January 1881). It is unclear from whom CD received the advice that Krause should refrain from writing a reply to Butler’s letter in Nature.
CD had requested permission to publish an English translation of Krause’s essay on Erasmus Darwin’s evolutionary work in early 1879 (see Correspondence vol. 27, letter to Ernst Krause, 9 March 1879).
William Sweetland Dallas informed CD that Butler had published a book titled Evolution, old and new (Butler 1879); CD, in turn, told Krause (see Correspondence vol. 27, letter from W. S. Dallas, 9 May 1879, and letter to Ernst Krause, 13 May 1879).


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.

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


Butler’s reply to EK is a renewed attack on CD. Urges EK not to answer it. His last letter contains everything necessary. Asks EK for dates of CD’s letter asking EK’s permission to publish a translation of his article [on Erasmus Darwin] and of the letter in which he told EK that Butler’s book had been advertised.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Ernst Ludwig (Ernst) Krause
Sent from
Source of text
The Huntington Library (HM 36214)
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13041,” accessed on 14 April 2024,