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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   10 September [1861]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Sept. 10th

My dear Sir

Will you be so good as to send off immediately by Post, if possibl be so good as to send off immediately by Post, if possible, or by quickest channel, a copy of last Edit. of Origin to

Madelle. Clemence Auguste Royer 2. Place de la Madeline Lausanne Switzerland

As she has agreed with a Publisher for a French Translation.—1

My Book seems exciting much attention in Germany, judging from the number of discussions sent me.2 To my surprise a Dutch Translation was sent me lately.—3

I have never seen an advertisement of the new Edition, which seems to me a great pity as it was certainly considerably improved. I hope that the B. of Oxford & Co. have not made you sorry that you published it. I have sometimes thought that this might be the case.

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Charles Darwin


Clémence Auguste Royer’s French translation of Origin, published by Guillaumin et cie and V. Masson et fils, Paris, appeared in 1862 (Freeman 1977). Royer, who had taught in a girls’ school in Wales for a year, was living in Lausanne, where she offered lectures to women on philosophy and science. Prior to reading Origin, Royer had become a convert to Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck’s evolution theory, and in the preface to her translation she advocated an evolutionary view of human origins and development (DSB). See also Harvey 1987.
The Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL contains several ‘discussions’ of CD’s theory sent to him before September 1861 by German authors. These include: Köstlin 1860, Meding 1861, Pelzeln 1861, Schleicher [1861], and Wagner 1860. For discussions of the reception of Origin in Germany, see Montgomery 1974, Corsi and Weindling 1984, and Pancaldi 1984.
Tiberius Cornelius Winkler’s Dutch translation of Origin appeared in 1860 (Winkler trans. 1860). See letter from T. C. Winkler, 7 July 1861. A copy of the translation is in the Darwin Library–CUL.


DSB: Dictionary of scientific biography. Edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie and Frederic L. Holmes. 18 vols. including index and supplements. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1970–90.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Köstlin, Otto. 1860. Ueber die Unverändlichkeit der organischen Species. Stuttgart.

Meding, Karl Heinrich. 1861. Goethe als Naturforscher in Beziehung zur Gegenwart. Dresden: in Commission bei Adler und Dietze.

Montgomery, William M. 1974. Germany. In The comparative reception of Darwinism, edited by Thomas F. Glick. Austin, Tex., and London: University of Texas Press.

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.

Schleicher, August. [1861]. Die Darwin’sche Theorie und die Thier- und Pflanzenzucht. Zeitschrift für die Landwirtschaft, vol. 15.


Asks that a copy of Origin [3d ed.] be sent to Mlle Clémence-Auguste Royer; she has arranged with a publisher for a French translation.

Origin is exciting much attention in Germany.

Surprised to receive a Dutch translation.

Has never seen an advertisement [of 3d ed.], which is a pity. Hopes "Bishop of Oxford & Co." have not made JM sorry he published it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 104–105)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3250,” accessed on 18 October 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9