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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Ernst Krause   18 May 1881

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

May 18th 1881

My dear Sir

I am much obliged for your article, but I will not delay answering your letter until I have read it, as reading German is slow work for me.—1 Herr Koch ought to be grateful to you for advertising the book in a Journal with such an extraordinary sale, & I on my part am obliged to you—2 What a wide interest you have in Science! When I sent you a copy, I never dreamed that you wd. care about it, & sent the copy merely to show my regard.— It wd. be a real pleasure to me to do anything which you wish, for I shall never forget your kindness from the very beginning to the end of the Erasmus Darwin affair.3 I fear that my little book on ‘Vegetable mould’ will hardly answer for your purpose.— The subject is of no importance, but what we English call a hobby-horse of mine, & therefore I have written it. The best plan will be to send you clean sheets, as soon as any are printed, & then you can judge for yourself.—4 Ch. II wd. perhaps be the best on the senses & minds of worms, but then I have given my facts in such detail that I think that anything but a resumé of them wd. be tiresome.— There are 6 chapters, & the 2 last are geological; ie the bearing of the work of worms on the Denudation of the Land. All the chapters hang together so much & are so lengthy, that I do not believe that any or parts of any wd. serve to be printed separately— I think, however, I ought to get Victor Carus’ consent & I will write to him to night or tomorrow; & if you do not hear, you will understand that he does not object.—5 Herr Koch, I suppose, wd. approve of the plan: I will tell V. Carus that it is only a thought of yours, & that I wish to do whatever you may decide.—

I am extremely glad to hear about Kosmos. I have as yet read only the capital article by F Müller on the Crab.—6 What an observer he is! My son’s (Frank) article looks very nicely got up. He has gone to Strasburg to work for 2 months under De Bary; I have told him of the copy sent him.7

My dear Sir, Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

P.S.— I have heard nothing about Mr. Butler, except that he more furious than ever against me. Some English Journals which had intended to review his book, have passed it over in complete silence. It is very handsome of the German orthodox Journal to behave in this manner.8


Krause had sent CD copies of his summary of Movement in plants, published in Die Gartenlaube (see letter from Ernst Krause, 15 May 1881 and n. 2).
Eduard Koch was the head of E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, CD’s German publisher. Die Gartenlaube was a popular weekly with extremely wide circulation (for more on its wide dissemination, see Belgum 1998).
Following the publication of Erasmus Darwin, Samuel Butler had written a letter to the Athenæum, claiming that CD and Krause had used without acknowledgment and made critical reference to his Evolution old and new (Butler 1879; see Correspondence vol. 28, letter to H. E. Litchfield, 1 February [1880], enclosure 1). Following further allegations in Unconscious memory (Butler 1880), Krause had defended CD and himself in a letter in Nature, 27 January 1881, p. 288. Butler’s latest attack had been made in Nature, 5 February 1881, pp. 312–13; CD asked Krause not to respond (letter to Ernst Krause, 7 February 1881).
CD and Francis Darwin had recently begun correcting proof-sheets of Earthworms (see letter from Francis Darwin, 14 May 1881). Krause wanted to publish a translation of a chapter in the journal Kosmos (see letter from Ernst Krause, 15 May 1881).
See letter to J. V. Carus, 18 May 1881; Julius Victor Carus was CD’s German translator.
The journal Kosmos, which was edited by Krause, had recently been purchased by Koch. Fritz Müller’s article, ‘Atyoida Potimirim, eine schlammfressende Süsswassergarneele’ (Atyoida Potimirim, a mud-eating freshwater shrimp; F. Müller 1881a), was published in Kosmos, May 1881. Atyoida potimirim is a synonym of Potimirim potimirim, the tiny or neon shrimp.
See letter to Francis Darwin, 16 and 17 May 1881. The paper, ‘Kletterpflanzen. Eine populäre Vorlesung’ (Climbing plants. A popular lecture; F. Darwin 1881a), was a German translation of a lecture Francis gave in 1880 (see letter from Ernst Krause, 15 May 1881 and n. 5). Francis was working in the laboratory of Anton de Bary in Straßburg (Strasbourg).
Krause informed CD that even ultramontane papers in Germany had not reviewed Butler 1880 (see letter from Ernst Krause, 15 May 1881 and n. 7).


Belgum, Kirsten. 1998. Popularizing the nation: audience, representation, and the production of identity in Die Gartenlaube, 1853–1900. Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press.

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.

Darwin, Francis. 1881a. Kletterpflanzen. Eine populäre Vorlesung. Kosmos 9: 101–16.

Earthworms: The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms: with observations on their habits. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1881.

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

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

Müller, Fritz. 1881d. Atyoida Potimirim, eine schlammfressende Süsswassergarneele. Kosmos 9: 117–24.


Thanks EK for his article [on CD’s Movement in plants].

Admires EK’s wide interest in science. Would like to send him something to publish in Kosmos.

Fears his new book [Earthworms] will hardly do, but will send sheets when printed so that EK can decide whether any chapter or a part of one will serve. Victor Carus’s consent would be needed for publication in Kosmos, and CD will ask for it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Ernst Ludwig (Ernst) Krause
Sent from
Source of text
The Huntington Library (HM 36215)
Physical description
ALS 5pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13163,” accessed on 20 April 2024,