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Darwin Correspondence Project

To H. G. Bronn   25 April [1862]1

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

April 25th

Dear & Honoured Sir

At last I have found time to correct the Origin.2 I have compared the sheets of the Third English Edition with the Second which was translated into German, & have marked with a pencil line all the additions & corrections. Some of these additions were sent to you in M.S formerly,3 but as I do not know which, I have marked all. As I am so poor a German scholar, it would take me a long time to compare all, but it will lose you very little time. Where merely a few words have been altered I have underlined them with pencil: where a sentence has to be omitted I have marked “dele”. I also send a few new M.S. additions & corrections.—4 You will, perhaps, be surprised at some of the additions, & will think them trifling.; I could of course have amplified many parts, but I have been guided almost solely in enlarging the parts which have been most criticised. I much regret to think that the additions will cause you some trouble: but I very much hope you will add to the load of kindness already conferred on me by looking through the English Sheets & correcting the new German Edition by them. As corrected sheets, cannot go by Post, I send them addressed to you to the care of Messrs. Schweizerbart, through Messrs Williams & Norgate.5 I must add that some of the M.S. additions to 1st German Edition, have since been a little modified.

In your very kind letter of March 27th, you say that M. Scheweizerbart is willing to publish a translation of my Book on Orchids;6 but I shd. not be easy at his undertaking this until you or some one had read part & had expressed to him whether you thought it worth translation. I am quite doubtful. Will you have the great kindness to read Ch. I & tell M. Sweizerbart what you think. If I do not deceive myself the two last chapters VI & VII are a good deal the best in the Book.7 In the hope that you will do this I will send by Post to you in about a week, the first half of volume in sheets. There are 35 wood cuts. With respect to electrotype copies, I have had some little difficulty. Mr. Murray, who publishes at his own risk, demurred rather, & said he thought M. Schweizerbart ought to pay a little more than the mere cost of the copies. Mr. Murray, however, at last agreed: he said the copies on average would cost 5d each; therefore altogether £8:s15:0.8 It would be pleasanter to me, if M. Scheweizerbart would pay a little more, say £10, to Mr. Murray. But the cost perhaps will stop his wishing to produce a Translation. When you, or anyone M. Schweizerbart may employ, has read part, or the whole, & has decided, if he would write to me I would get the copies of the woodcuts made.—

The English Edition is printed in much larger type than is necessary. I will soon send the second half of volume, as it will soon be printed. Can you forgive me causing you so much trouble.

With sincere respect | Yours truly obliged | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to the second German edition of Origin (Bronn trans. 1863) (see n. 2, below).
Christian Friedrich Schweizerbart, head of the firm E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, publishers of the first German translation of Origin (Bronn trans. 1860), wanted to bring out a second edition (see letter from H. G. Bronn, [before 11 March 1862], and letter to H. G. Bronn, 11 March [1862]).
CD had sent Schweizerbart some ‘corrections & additions’ and a historical preface for inclusion in the first German edition of Origin (Bronn trans. 1860) (see Correspondence vol. 8, letter to H. G. Bronn, 14 February [1860]). The historical preface was subsequently expanded and included in the third English edition.
The manuscript version of these additions and corrections has not been found. However, the changes incorporated in the second German edition of Origin that do not occur in the third English edition, and that presumably, therefore, correspond to the additional corrections CD sent with this letter, are given in Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix VIII.
Edmund Sydney Williams and Frederick Norgate were partners in the London booksellers and publishers, Williams and Norgate, which specialised in foreign scientific literature. British postal regulations stipulated that printed papers sent to Germany should ‘not contain any writing or other manuscript marks besides the name and address of the person to whom they are sent’ (British postal guide, 1 January 1862, p. 57). The regulations of the German Postal Union prohibited the circulation by post of letters above 50 g in weight, classifying heavier items as freight (ibid., pp. 62–3). Williams and Norgate could presumably send CD’s proofs to the Stuttgart-based publisher as part of a larger consignment of book-related materials.
The correspondence between CD and his publisher John Murray on this point has not been found, but see letter to H. G. Bronn, 11 March [1862] and n. 7.


British postal guide: British postal guide; containing the chief public regulations of the Post Office with other information. London: Post Office [and others]. 1861–76.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 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.


Sends additions and corrections for 2d German ed. of Origin [1862–3].

Before a German translation of Orchids is done, CD thinks HGB should read part of it and decide if it is worth while; CD has doubts.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Heinrich Georg Bronn
Sent from
Source of text
Lehigh University Libraries Special Collections (Honeyman Collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3519,” accessed on 23 January 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10