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From Friedrich Rolle1   28 January 1866

Homburg vor der Hoehe bei Frankfurt am Main

den 28 Januar 1866.

Geehrtester Herr!

Nachdem Ihnen im vorigen Sommer Heft I von meinem Buche “Der Mensch” zugekommen ist, wie ich aus Ihrer gütigen Anmeldung ersah, wird Ihnen Heft 2–5 seither durch meinen Buchhaendler auch zugekommen sein.2

Ich hoffe dass meine Arbeit Ihren Beifall findet; sie ist nach den Grundzügen Ihrer Theorie entworfen; über Einzelheiten kann man allerdings verschiedner Ansicht sein; die Grundzüge des Ganzen stehen aber bereits so bestimmt gezeichnet, dass der wesentliche Geist der Anschauung schon ziemlich fest gegeben erscheint.

Wo Zweifel vorliegen, habe ich mich bemüht, vorsichtig zu urtheilen.

So namentlich in Bezug auf Einheit oder Mehrheit des Ursprungs—und ob die Einheit des Menschengeschlechts diesseits oder jenseits der menschlichen Stufe liegt.3

Allerdings entscheiden darüber in letzter Spruchfaellung nur Funde.

Aber rationelle Vermuthungen sind auch schon erlaubt—und beleuchten den Weg den man voraussichtlich gehen wird und die Schwierigkeiten welche man noch zu überwinden [haben] wird.

Es scheint mir dass die Wurzeln des menschlichen Stamms

in den Negern von Afrika

in den büschelig-kraushaarigen Menschen von Südafrika und jenen von Neuguinea, Tasmanien usw.

endlich drittens einem nicht naeher bekannten kurzkoepfigen Volke (Brachycephali) von Südasien liegen moegen.

Wo und wie diese drei Wurzeln ausgegangen sind, ist mir noch dunkel.

Aber alle schlichthaarigen Culturvoelker scheinen mir vervollkommete Culturvoelker zu sein, bei welchen Langkoepfe, Mittelkoepfe und Kurzkoepfe vielfach gemischt sind.4

Dies würde also aehnlich wie bei den Hausthier-Rassen sein.

In der Nomenclatur hat Bronn “natural selection” mit “natürliche Auswahl” ins deutsche übersetzt. Ich übersetzte mit “natürliche Auslese” dieser Ausdruck kommt dem Begriffe des Passiven schon naeher.5 Neuerlich habe ich begonnen mit “Entfallung” oder “Aussterbe-Etat” zu übersetzen. “Entfallen” ist “to fall out of” (dilabi, elabi)6

z. B. Der Ur und der Wisent sind auf den Aussterbe-Etat gelangt und entfallen.7

6 lines excised

Vertreter kaempfen mit dem Widerstand der aelteren Schule und werden offenbar beim Besetzen der Aemter zurückgesetzt.

Dr. Jaeger in Wien hat Unglück, der Wiener zoologische Garten ist in Concurs und Jaeger hat wenig A〈ussi〉cht in Wien seine Stellung zu halten.8

Dr. Weinland hat sein〈e〉 Ste〈llung〉 in Frankfurt verlasse〈n.〉9 〈Er gab in〉 Würtemberg eine Zeitschrift “Der Thiergarten” heraus, sie sollte ein Organ für Zucht der Hausthiere und Vertretung der Transmutations-Theorie werden. Leider hat sie nur einen Jahrgang 1864 erlebt und eingehen müssen.10

Aber Prof. Rütimeyer in Basel ist sehr thaetig, aus der Palaeontologie der Säugethiere die Abstammung und Transmutation der Säugethiere zu entwickeln.11

Er sandte mir 〈6 lines excised

Eine Gegenschrift schrieb Professor Goeppert (Ueber die Darwin’sche Transmutations-Theorie in Beziehung auf die fossilen Pflanzen) im Neuen Jahrbuch für Mineralogie. Jahrgang 1865. Stuttgart. (pag. 296–306.)12

Mit d〈en〉 besten Wünschen fur Ihr Wohlsein und 〈Ihre〉 fernere erfolgreiche T〈haetig〉ke〈it〉 g〈eeh〉rtester Herr | 〈Ihr er〉gebenster Diener | Dr. Friedr. Rolle

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol.14, Appendix I.
In May 1865, CD had thanked Rolle for the first part of Rolle’s Der Mensch (Rolle 1866), a study of the development of human society in the light of Origin and recent discoveries in geology (Correspondence vol. 13, letter to Friedrich Rolle, 6 May [1865]). It was published by Friedrich Emil Suchsland of Frankfurt-am-Main in five parts; the first part on 1 May 1865 (Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel und die mit ihm verwandten Geschäftszweige 32 (1865): 954), the second and third parts on 17 November 1865 (ibid. 32 (1865): 2634), and the fourth and fifth parts on 15 January 1866 (ibid. 33 (1866): 103). CD’s lightly annotated copy of Rolle 1866 is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. CD cited Rolle 1866 in Descent 1: 4 and 246 n.
In his complex discussion, Rolle contrasted his scientific treatment of the origin of human beings with theological explanations, allowing that humans might have derived from one or several pairs of parents. He also considered evidence for the genus Homo comprising one or more species, and whether human races had arisen relatively recently, as geographical varieties of a single species, or as distinct and immutable species of more distant origin (Rolle 1866, pp. 253–7). For more on Rolle’s work, and CD’s use of it, see Martin and Uschmann 1969, pp. 28–36, 68–9.
Rolle discussed the primeval races from which he considered humans to have originated in Rolle 1866, pp. 257–64. Rolle believed that certain physical traits, including the straightness of the hair and the shape of the skull, defined a superior type: ‘Diese höhere Form der Menschheit trägt mehr oder minder den Charakter einer Aristokratie der Cultur …’ (‘This higher form of mankind bears more or less the character of an aristocracy of civilisation …’) (Rolle 1866, pp. 260–1). For more on craniometry in relation to racial difference in the period, see S. J. Gould 1997, pp. 62–141, especially pp. 130–2; see also Bowler 1987, pp. 55–6, and Stocking 1987.
In his translation of Origin (Bronn trans. 1860), Heinrich Georg Bronn used ‘natürliche Züchtung’, ‘natürliche Zuchtwahl’, and ‘natürliche Auswahl’ to translate CD’s ‘natural selection’. See also Browne 2002, pp. 141–2. Rolle used both ‘natürliche Auslese’ and ‘natürliche Auswahl’ (Rolle 1866, pp. 72, 105), although only the former appeared in the section and chapter titles of Rolle’s books (Rolle 1863, p. 155; Rolle 1866, p. 104). While the different translations implied differing degrees of choice, CD wished to dispel notions that natural selection implied conscious choice (Origin 3d ed., pp. 84–5).
Rolle used various terms to describe the process of extinction. For his use of the words ‘Entfallung’ and ‘Aussterbe-Etat’, see Rolle 1866, pp. 142–4. The former denotes ‘falling out’ or disappearance, and the latter a state of extinction. ‘Dilabi’: to fall apart; ‘elabi’: to fall away (Latin; see Lewis and Short 1969).
Aurochs and wisent are mentioned several times in Rolle 1866 (pp. 317, 324–5, 328). The aurochs, Bos primigenius, became extinct in western Europe in 1627 (Grzimek ed. 1972, p. 369), whereas wisent (or European bison), Bison bonasus bonasus, were in danger of extinction in the nineteenth century (ibid., pp. 394–5).
The zoologist Gustav Jäger was CD’s most active supporter in Vienna, where Rolle had worked before leaving in March 1862 to settle in Homburg (Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Friedrich Rolle, 26 January 1863 and n. 4). Jäger was an organiser and director of the zoological garden in Vienna; in March 1866, Jäger was replaced as director. The zoological garden had financial problems from its outset in 1863 and closed in September 1866 (Weinreich 1993, 48–64).
David Friedrich Weinland was a supporter of CD (Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Friedrich Rolle, 26 January 1863 and n. 12). In December 1863, Weinland moved from Frankfurt to his parents’ estate in Württemberg, having resigned as secretary of the zoological society in Frankfurt and editor of Der Zoologischer Garten, the foremost journal for zoological gardens in Germany (Weinland 1863).
Weinland founded Der Thiergarten in 1864. Only one volume appeared, comprising twelve parts.
Ludwig Rütimeyer had recently published a history of the genus Bos based on palaeontological work (Rütimeyer 1865). For Rütimeyer’s earlier correspondence with CD on the origins of domestic cattle, and references to Rütimeyer in CD’s publications, see Correspondence vol. 13, letter from Ludwig Rütimeyer, 3 January 1865 and nn. 3 and 4.
Rolle refers to Göppert 1865a, in which the author rejected the principle of genealogical connections among extinct and living species of plants (Göppert 1865a, p. 297). The Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie (1865): 301–6 contained a different paper in which Heinrich Robert Göppert considered transmutation in relation to geology (Göppert 1865b). In 1864 and 1865, Göppert had published a series of papers criticising CD’s theory of common descent from the perspective of botanical palaeontology (see, for example, Göppert 1864, of which there is a lightly annotated copy in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL). For Göppert’s views on transmutation, see Junker 1989, pp. 95–98.

Translation

From Friedrich Rolle1   28 January 1866

Homburg von der Hoehe bei Frankfurt am Main

28 January 1866

Dearest Sir,

After you have received Part I of my book “Man” last summer, as I saw from your kind notice, you will now also have received Parts 2–5 from my publisher.2

I hope that my work will win your approval; it is designed according to the principles of your theory; on specific points one can certainly differ; the basic principles are, however, so firmly drawn that the true spirit of the view appears to be already quite firmly established.

Where doubts are present, I have taken pains to judge carefully.

So especially in connection with the singularity or multiplicity of origin—and whether the unity of humankind is on this side or beyond the human stage.3

To be sure, in the final analysis findings will decide this question.

But rational suppositions are permitted—and throw light on the path one should probably take and the difficulties which one will still have to overcome.

It seems to me that the roots of the human stock may lie

in the Negroes of Africa

in the bushy-frizzy haired men of South Africa and those of New Guinea, Tasmania, etc.

finally third in a not well-known short-headed people (Brachycephali) from South Asia.

Where and how these three roots originate is still not clear to me.

But all straight-haired, civilised people seem to me to be improved, civilised people among whom long-headed, medium-headed, and short- headed are frequently mixed.4

This would seem to be similar to the races of domestic animals.

With regard to nomenclature, Bronn has translated “natural selection” with “natürliche Auswahl” into German. I translated it with “natürliche Auslese” this expression comes closer to the concept of passivity.5 Lately I have begun to translate with “Entfallung” or “Aussterbe-Etat”. “Entfallen” means “to fall out of” (dilabi, elabi)6

e.g. the aurochs and the wisent have reached the state of extinction and have fallen out.7

〈6 lines excised〉

Proponents fight with the resistance of the old school and are obviously disregarded when positions are filled.

Dr. Jaeger in Vienna is unfortunate, the Vienna zoological garden is bankrupt and Jaeger has little prospect of keeping his position in Vienna.8

Dr. Weinland has left his position in Frankfurt.9 〈He was〉 publishing a journal in Würtemberg “Der Thiergarten”, which was supposed to become an organ for the breeding of domestic animals and to support the theory of transmutation. Unfortunately, it lasted for only one year, 1864, and was shut down.10

But Prof. Rütimeyer in Basel is very active in developing the descent and transmutation of mammals from mammalian palaeontology.11

He sent me 〈    〉 〈    〉

Prof. Goeppert wrote an opposing paper (Ueber die Darwin’sche Transmutations-Theorie in Beziehung auf die fossilen Pflanzen) in the Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie. Year 1865. Stuttgart. (pag. 296–306.)12

With best wishes for your health and 〈your〉 future successful activity, dearest Sir | Your devoted servant | Dr. Friedr. Rolle

Footnotes

For the transcription of this letter in its original German, see pp. 28–9.
In May 1865, CD had thanked Rolle for the first part of Rolle’s Der Mensch (Rolle 1866), a study of the development of human society in the light of Origin and recent discoveries in geology (Correspondence vol. 13, letter to Friedrich Rolle, 6 May [1865]). It was published by Friedrich Emil Suchsland of Frankfurt-am-Main in five parts; the first part on 1 May 1865 (Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel und die mit ihm verwandten Geschäftszweige 32 (1865): 954), the second and third parts on 17 November 1865 (ibid. 32 (1865): 2634), and the fourth and fifth parts on 15 January 1866 (ibid. 33 (1866): 103). CD’s lightly annotated copy of Rolle 1866 is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. CD cited Rolle 1866 in Descent 1: 4 and 246 n.
In his complex discussion, Rolle contrasted his scientific treatment of the origin of human beings with theological explanations, allowing that humans might have derived from one or several pairs of parents. He also considered evidence for the genus Homo comprising one or more species, and whether human races had arisen relatively recently, as geographical varieties of a single species, or as distinct and immutable species of more distant origin (Rolle 1866, pp. 253–7). For more on Rolle’s work, and CD’s use of it, see Martin and Uschmann 1969, pp. 28–36, 68–9.
Rolle discussed the primeval races from which he considered humans to have originated in Rolle 1866, pp. 257–64. Rolle believed that certain physical traits, including the straightness of the hair and the shape of the skull, defined a superior type: ‘Diese höhere Form der Menschheit trägt mehr oder minder den Charakter einer Aristokratie der Cultur …’ (‘This higher form of mankind bears more or less the character of an aristocracy of civilisation …’) (Rolle 1866, pp. 260–1). For more on craniometry in relation to racial difference in the period, see S. J. Gould 1997, pp. 62–141, especially pp. 130–2; see also Bowler 1987, pp. 55–6, and Stocking 1987.
In his translation of Origin (Bronn trans. 1860), Heinrich Georg Bronn used ‘natürliche Züchtung’, ‘natürliche Zuchtwahl’, and ‘natürliche Auswahl’ to translate CD’s ‘natural selection’. See also Browne 2002, pp. 141–2. Rolle used both ‘natürliche Auslese’ and ‘natürliche Auswahl’ (Rolle 1866, pp. 72, 105), although only the former appeared in the section and chapter titles of Rolle’s books (Rolle 1863, p. 155; Rolle 1866, p. 104). While the different translations implied differing degrees of choice, CD wished to dispel notions that natural selection implied conscious choice (Origin 3d ed., pp. 84–5).
Rolle used various terms to describe the process of extinction. For his use of the words ‘Entfallung’ and ‘Aussterbe-Etat’, see Rolle 1866, pp. 142–4. The former denotes ‘falling out’ or disappearance, and the latter a state of extinction. ‘Dilabi’: to fall apart; ‘elabi’: to fall away (Latin; see Lewis and Short 1969).
Aurochs and wisent are mentioned several times in Rolle 1866 (pp. 317, 324–5, 328). The aurochs, Bos primigenius, became extinct in western Europe in 1627 (Grzimek ed. 1972, p. 369), whereas wisent (or European bison), Bison bonasus bonasus, were in danger of extinction in the nineteenth century (ibid., pp. 394–5).
The zoologist Gustav Jäger was CD’s most active supporter in Vienna, where Rolle had worked before leaving in March 1862 to settle in Homburg (Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Friedrich Rolle, 26 January 1863 and n. 4). Jäger was an organiser and director of the zoological garden in Vienna; in March 1866, Jäger was replaced as director. The zoological garden had financial problems from its outset in 1863 and closed in September 1866 (Weinreich 1993, 48–64).
David Friedrich Weinland was a supporter of CD (Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Friedrich Rolle, 26 January 1863 and n. 12). In December 1863, Weinland moved from Frankfurt to his parents’ estate in Württemberg, having resigned as secretary of the zoological society in Frankfurt and editor of Der Zoologischer Garten, the foremost journal for zoological gardens in Germany (Weinland 1863).
Weinland founded Der Thiergarten in 1864. Only one volume appeared, comprising twelve parts.
Ludwig Rütimeyer had recently published a history of the genus Bos based on palaeontological work (Rütimeyer 1865). For Rütimeyer’s earlier correspondence with CD on the origins of domestic cattle, and references to Rütimeyer in CD’s publications, see Correspondence vol. 13, letter from Ludwig Rütimeyer, 3 January 1865 and nn. 3 and 4.
Rolle refers to Göppert 1865a, in which the author rejected the principle of genealogical connections among extinct and living species of plants (Göppert 1865a, p. 297). The Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie (1865): 301–6 contained a different paper in which Heinrich Robert Göppert considered transmutation in relation to geology (Göppert 1865b). In 1864 and 1865, Göppert had published a series of papers criticising CD’s theory of common descent from the perspective of botanical palaeontology (see, for example, Göppert 1864, of which there is a lightly annotated copy in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL). For Göppert’s views on transmutation, see Junker 1989, pp. 95–98.

Summary

Last fascicles of FR’s book Der Mensch [1866] being sent.

Finds roots of human race in Negroes of Africa, Bushmen of South Africa and New Guinea, and short-headed peoples of south Asia.

Has translated natural selection as natürliche Auslese.

Ludwig Rütimeyer active in developing the descent of mammals.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-4986
From
Friedrich Rolle
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Bad Homburg
Source of text
DAR 176: 202
Physical description
4pp (German) inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4986,” accessed on 21 June 2018, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4986

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14

letter