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Darwin Correspondence Project

From August Schleicher   9 February 1865

Professor Dr. A. Schleicher | Jena

Excuse, Sir, my very bad English, but I prefer to show my rudeness in writing Your language insteed of causing to You any trouble with reading German.

With this letter I send to You a little pamphlet; perhaps You will think it not unworthy to be epitomised or translated by a Reviewer.1

This summer a Congress of botanists, horticulturists and seedsmen and a great exhibition shall take place at Erfurt.2 In the program just published I read, that the first object of transactions is ‘the Theory of Darwin’.3

Pray, accept my photography;4 dare I hope to be favoured with Yours? With the best wishes for Your health and with sincere respect

Aug. Schleicher.

Jena, 9/2 65.


There is a lightly annotated copy of Schleicher 1864 in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL; Schleicher’s article was a review of Origin that appeared in an agricultural journal. In 1863, Schleicher had sent CD another article of his that was later translated into English (Schleicher 1863 and 1869; see Correspondence vol. 11, letter to J. D. Hooker, [22–3 November 1863]). There are lightly annotated copies of Schleicher 1863 and 1869 in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL; Schleicher 1863 is inscribed by the author, and Schleicher 1869 is inscribed by the translator. In several letters to CD in 1864, Ernst Haeckel had mentioned Schleicher’s interest in CD’s transmutation theory (see Correspondence vol. 12, letters from Ernst Haeckel, 9 [July 1864], 10 August 1864, and 26 October 1864). For a discussion of Schleicher, Haeckel, and CD, see R. J. Richards 2001.
A general agricultural congress was held in Erfurt, Germany, between 9 and 17 September 1865 (Erfurt-Congress).
See Erfurt-Congress, p. 15. For several of the questions raised about the importance of CD’s theory for horticulture, see Nachtrag, p. 4.
The photograph Schleicher sent has not been found.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Erfurt-Congress: Zweiter Congress deutscher Gärtner, Botaniker und Gartenfreunde und allgemeine deutsche Ausstellung von Gemüsen und landwirthschaftlichen Produkten, Obst, Pflanzen, Blumen, Gartengeräthschaften etc. in Erfurt im September 1865. Erfurt: A. Stenger. [1865].

Nachtrag: Nachtrag zum Programm für den zweiten Congress  deutscher Gärtner, Botaniker und Gartenfreunde und für die allgemeine deutsche Ausstellung von Gemüsen und landwirthschaftlichen Produkten, Obst, Pflanzen, Blumen, Gartengeräthschaften u. s. w. in Erfurt im September 1865. Erfurt,: A. Stenger. [1865.]

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.

Richards, Robert J. 2001. The linguistic creation of man: Charles Darwin, August Schleicher, Ernst Haeckel, and the missing link in nineteenth-century theory. In Experimenting in tongues: studies in science and language, edited by Matthias Doerres. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Schleicher, August. 1863. Die Darwinsche Theorie und die Sprachwissenschaft. Offenes Sendschreiben an Herrn Dr Ernst Häckel. Weimar, Germany: Hermann Böhlau.

Schleicher, August. 1864. Die Darwin’sche Theorie und die Thier- und Pflanzenzucht. Stöckhardt’s Zeitschrift für deutsche Landwirthe 15: 1–11.

Schleicher, August. 1869. Darwinism tested by the science of language. Translated from the German, with preface and additional notes, by Alexander V. W. Bikkers. London: John Camdem Hotten.


Sends a pamphlet and photograph to CD [missing];

announces a botanical congress at Erfurt at which CD’s theory will be discussed.

Letter details

Letter no.
August Schleicher
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 177: 53
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4770,” accessed on 13 August 2020,

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