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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Friedrich Hildebrand   17 July [1862]1

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

July 17th

Dear Sir

I am much obliged for your kind note & offer of aid in the translation of my work on Orchids.2 But I have heard from Mess. Schweizerbart of Stuttgart that the late lamented Prof. Bronn had finished the translation together with some additional notes which I had sent him.3 How Mes. Schweizerbart intend to get the proof-sheets corrected, I do not know.

I have not yet received, but hope I shall soon, the work on the Distribution of Coniferous Trees, which you have kindly sent me;4 I have no doubt it will interest me, as few subjects are so interesting as Geographical Distribution of Plants.—

Pray present my most respectful compliments to Prof. Treviranus: the notes which he spoke of appending to my little work, would have added greatly to its value.—5

I beg you to accept my sincere thanks for your very kind offer & I remain | Dear Sir | Yours truly obliged | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Friedrich Hildebrand, 14 July 1862 (Correspondence vol. 10).
In his letter of 14 July 1862 (Correspondence vol. 10), Hildebrand had offered to undertake a German translation of Orchids, unaware that one had recently been completed by Heinrich Georg Bronn (see n. 3, below).
Bronn died on 5 July 1862, having recently completed work on the German translation of Orchids for the publishing firm E. Schweizerbart (Bronn trans. 1862; see also Correspondence vol. 10, letter from E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchandlung, 11 July 1862 and nn. 2 and 5). For the additional material that CD had asked Bronn to translate and include in the German edition, see the enclosures to the letter to H. G. Bronn, 30 June [1862] (Correspondence vol. 10).
Hildebrand 1861; see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from Friedrich Hildebrand, 14 July 1862 and n. 2. CD’s copy of Hildebrand 1861 is in the Darwin Library–Down (see Marginalia 1: 380).
CD had approached Ludolph Christian Treviranus, professor of botany at the University of Bonn, suggesting that Treviranus translate Orchids into German (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from Friedrich Hildebrand, 14 July 1862 and n. 1). No further reference to the supplementary notes apparently proposed by Treviranus has been found; however, Treviranus published comments on Orchids in two papers in Botanische Zeitung in 1863 (Treviranus 1863a and 1863b; see also Correspondence vol. 10, letter from E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 11 July 1862 and n. 6). Hildebrand was a colleague and former student of Treviranus at the University of Bonn (see Correns 1916).


Thanks for Hildebrand’s offer to translate Orchids into German, but H. G. Bronn had finished his translation before his death (Bronn trans. 1862). Has not yet received Hildebrand’s work on the distribution of coniferous trees (Hildebrand 1861). Asks that his compliments be presented to L. C. Treviranus.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3660F,” accessed on 24 January 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13 (Supplement)