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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hermann Kindt   16 September 1864

Yarm, Yorkshire

Sept. 16. 1864.


I beg to thank you for your so kindly acknowledging my inquiries regarding your works on “Orchids” and “The Cirripedia”.1 My friend, I have since heard, did not know of Professor Bronn’s translation of the former work, although he possesses himself the late professor’s Translation of your excellent work on “The Origin of Species”: of which translation, I understand, the second edition of 1863 seems to be nearly exhausted.2 My countrymen, as you may know, consider your enlightening works as a kind of intellectual hand-in-hand reading with or rather to Dr. Louis Büchner’s philosophical writings;3 whilst others, who have been happy enough to pursue your graphic Zoological descriptions and annotations in your “Zoology of the voyage of H. M. Ship Beagle” in the original language, are delighted with the vivid, Humboldt-like pictures you bring before their mental eyes.4

Your kindness encourages me to ask you another favour, the granting of which would very much gratify the friend in whose behalf I am asking it. He would feel much obliged to you for a flying leaf with a few lines in your autograph writing and signed with your esteemed name, in order to prefix it to his copy of your work on “The Origin of Species”.5 However few the words, relating, perhaps, to the great subject you are treating in such an ingenious manner,—they would be very welcome in a quiet, studious home of a just admirer of your writings. Pardon my having taken this liberty with the esteem and gratitude your readers everywhere have for you. As the memory of your distinguished grandfathers6 will for ever live in the minds of their grateful countrymen, thus your own will become a still more cosmopolite, but, nevertheless, an equally heartfelt one; and it cannot be but gratifying to you to see how Germany above all other countries has already entered into the spirit and the genius of your investigations.

Believe me to remain, | Sir, | ever your’s much obliged | Hermann Kindt.

Charles Darwin Esq. M.A. | etc. etc.


The references are to Orchids and to Living Cirripedia (1851) and (1854). See letter from Hermann Kindt, 5 September 1864. CD’s letter to Kindt has not been found.
Kindt’s friend has not been identified. Kindt refers to Heinrich Georg Bronn’s translation of Orchids (Bronn trans. 1862), the first German edition of Origin, published in 1860, and the second German edition, published in 1863 (Bronn trans. 1860 and Bronn trans. 1863). A third German edition of Origin was published in 1867 (see Freeman 1977, p. 103).
The references are to Zoology, and to Alexander von Humboldt. CD’s descriptions of the tropical landscape were influenced by Humboldt’s travel narratives (see Correspondence vols. 1 and 2, Browne 1995, pp. 133–6, 211–2, and Kohn 1996, pp. 15–19). For a discussion of Humboldt’s work in the context of German romanticism and Naturphilosophie, see Nicolson 1990.
CD sent Kindt an autograph of the last sentence of Origin 2d ed. See following letter.
Erasmus Darwin and Josiah Wedgwood I.


Browne, Janet. 1995. Charles Darwin. Voyaging. Volume I of a biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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.

Kohn, David. 1996. The aesthetic construction of Darwin’s theory. In The elusive synthesis: aesthetics and science, edited by A. I. Tauber. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Living Cirripedia (1851): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Lepadidæ; or, pedunculated cirripedes. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1851.

Nicolson, Malcolm. 1990. Alexander von Humboldt and the geography of vegetation. In Romanticism and the sciences, edited by Andrew Cunningham and Nicholas Jardine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.

Origin 2d ed.: 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. 1860.

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.

Zoology: The zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. 5 pts. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1838–43.


CD’s views go hand-in-hand with those of Ludwig Büchner.

He requests an autograph for a friend.

Letter details

Letter no.
Hermann Adolph Christian August (Hermann) Kindt
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 169: 12
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4615,” accessed on 18 November 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12