skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Ludwig Büchner   17 November [1862]1

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

Nov. 17th

Respected Sir!

I beg leave to return you my sincere thanks for your great kindness in sending me your last work “Aus Natur und Wissenschaft.”2 I have read the chapter, in which you treat of my work, & you have indeed conferred the most distinguished honour on me.3 I venture to thank you, also, on account of the good which you will effect in getting the subject widely discussed, & the truth finally discovered, which I have much at heart.—

I am, like so many Englishmen a very poor proficient at Languages, & German is to me, excepting the simplest descriptions, extremely difficult; but I hope to make intelligible to myself some of your valuable volume.

With my best thanks, I have the honour to remain, Respected Sir | Your obliged servant | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Büchner 1862 (see n. 2, below).
Büchner 1862. There is a copy of this work in the Darwin Library–CUL.
Büchner 1862 is a collection of several of Büchner’s papers and reviews, which had originally been published between 1856 and 1860. CD refers to Büchner’s review of Origin, first published as Büchner 1860, but republished in Büchner 1862, pp. 245–53. In his initial review, Büchner, who was a leading member of the intellectual circle of scientific materialists in Germany, described Origin sympathetically; however, in Büchner 1862, pp. 252–3, he added a paragraph in which he suggested that CD’s emphasis on the theory of natural selection might be too one-sided, and that it should be supplemented by a greater consideration of the effect of direct external influences on organisms. On the reaction of the German scientific materialists to Darwinism, see F. Gregory 1977.


Büchner, Friedrich Karl Christian Ludwig. 1860. Eine neue Schöpfungstheorie. Stimmen der Zeit 2: 356–60.

Büchner, Friedrich Karl Christian Ludwig. 1862. Aus Natur und Wissenschaft. Studien, Kritiken und Abhandlungen. Leipzig.

Gregory, Frederick. 1977. Scientific materialism in nineteenth century Germany. Dordrecht, Netherlands, and Boston, Mass.: D. Reidel Publishing Company.

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.


Thanks LB for copy of his Aus Natur und Wissenschaft [1862]. Responds to LB’s comment [on Origin].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Friedrich Karl Christian Ludwig (Ludwig) Büchner
Sent from
Source of text
Cleveland Health Sciences Library (Robert M. Stecher collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3810,” accessed on 28 October 2021,

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