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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Ernst Krause   30 July 1881

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

July 30th 1881

My dear Sir

As you might possibly be surprised at not receiving the promised sheets of my Worm book, I write to say that there has been an extraordinary delay by the Printers in correcting the last sheets, & now my Publisher begs me to defer the publication (though the book is as good as ready) till the end of October, which is called the publishing season; & I have been compelled to accede to his desire.—1 I will,, however, send you clean sheets, as soon as I receive them, & then you can judge about extracts. I still think that a review of the whole book wd. be your best plan, but whatever you decide will please me.—

Many thanks for “Die Gegenwart”, which you were so kind as to send me.— I read it with great interest. The “instinct” of plants is a most puzzling problem. I do not see, how mind is to be defined, if we substract consciousness … Nor can I doubt that consciousness is somehow a stage in the natural development of the mental faculties, though philosophers may urge that it belongs to a wholly different category of things.2

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

What interesting numbers the several latter ones of Kosmos have been.—

By the way I must thank you for honouring my two sons by giving their essays.—3


CD’s publisher was John Murray; Murray’s printers were William Clowes & Sons. See letter to R. F. Cooke, 31 July 1881. Krause wanted to publish a chapter of Earthworms, translated into German, in his journal, Kosmos (see letter from Ernst Krause, 15 May 1881).
Under the pseudonym Carus Sterne, Krause had published an article about CD’s Movement in plants, titled ‘Sind die Pflanzen beseelt?’ (Do plants have souls?), in the German weekly Die Gegenwart (Sterne 1881b).
Francis Darwin’s article ‘Kletterpflanzen’ (Climbing plants) was published in Kosmos in May 1881 (F. Darwin 1881a; see letter to Ernst Krause, 18 May 1881 and n. 7). In July, Krause published in Kosmos a German translation of an abstract in Nature of an astronomical paper by George Howard Darwin (G. H. Darwin 1881a; see letter to G. H. Darwin, 23 July 1881 and n. 1).


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

Darwin, George Howard. 1881a. On the tidal friction of a planet attended by several satellites, and on the evolution of the solar system. [Read 20 January 1881.] Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 172: 491–535.

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

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

Sterne, Carus, pseud. (Ernst Krause.) 1881b. Sind die Pflanzen beseelt? Betrachtungen bei Darwins neuem Buche. Die Gegenwart, 9 July 1881, pp. 25–8.


Publication of Earthworms delayed, but will send sheets to EK when he receives them [so that he can decide about publishing extracts in Kosmos].

Thanks for "Die Gegenwart".

"’Instinct’ of plants" is a most puzzling problem.

Does not see how mind can be defined "if we subtract consciousness".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Ernst Ludwig (Ernst) Krause
Sent from
Source of text
The Huntington Library (HM 36216)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13260,” accessed on 22 April 2024,