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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Armand de Quatrefages   30 March [1860]1

Down. Bromley Kent.

March 30th

My dear Sir

I have taken a long time to thank you for your extremely kind present on the “Maladies” of the Silkworm.2 But I was not able to read it until lately—and I did not wish to thank you until I had. I have found now quite a large number of facts very interesting to me with respect to my notions on Species.—3 I have been astonished at the variety of diseases to which the unfortunate caterpillars are subject—

The Gentleman who wished to translate my “Origin of Species” has failed in getting a publisher:—Bailliere, Masson & Hachette all rejected it with contempt4    It was foolish & presumptious in me, hoping to appear in a French dress; but the idea would not have entered my head had it not been suggested to me. It is a great loss— I must console myself with the German Edition which Prof. Bronn is bringing out.

I sincerely hope that your health is quite reestablished, and with my sincere thanks for all your kindness. I remain with much respect, | Yours sincerely, | C. Darwin.


Dated by the reference to the German translation of Origin.
Quatrefages de Bréau 1859. There is an annotated copy in the Darwin Library–CUL. CD also owned a copy of the second edition, Quatrefages de Bréau 1860.
CD cited Quatrefages de Bréau 1859 and 1860 on several occasions in Variation.
CD refers to Pierre Theodore Alfred Talandier (see letter to Edward Cresy, 15 January [1860]). CD had previously written to Quatrefages de Bréau concerning a possible French translation of Origin. See Correspondence vol. 7, letter to J. L. A. de Quatrefages de Bréau, 5 December [1859]; and this volume, letter to J. L. A. de Quatrefages de Bréau, 21 January [1860]). J. B. Baillière et fils, Masson, and L. Hachette et cie, were prominent Parisian publishing houses.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Quatrefages, Armand de. 1859. Études sur les maladies actuelles du ver à soie. Paris: Victor Masson.

Quatrefages de Bréau, Jean Louis Armand de. 1860. Nouvelles recherches faites en 1859 sur les maladies actuelles du ver à soie. Paris.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Comments on QdeB’s [Études sur les maladies actuelles du ver à soie (1860)].

Has failed to find French publisher for Origin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Jean Louis Armand (Armand de Quatrefages) Quatrefages de Bréau
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 147: 284
Physical description
C 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2736,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8