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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Rudolf Suchsland   4 April 18661


I have not heard from Mr. Schweizerbart so cannot give a definitive answer to your father; but the more I think on the subject the more I feel that I am bound not in any way to support another edition.2 For this reason alone I am sorry to say that I cannot offer to send clean sheets of the new English edition of the Origin as they are printed off; and the corrections & additions are so numerous that they cd be sent in no other way3

With respect to your enquiry about my other works; in your list you give the same book twice over with different titles.4 My Journal of Researches &c was translated in 1844 into German by Dr. Diefenbach (Viewig & Sons Braunschweig) but the translation was made from the first English edition.5 The 2nd Ed. was considerably condensed & improved & was published under the above title of ‘Journal of Researches’ & has had so very large a sale in English (viz. 10,000 copies) that it might possibly be worth re-translating into German.6 The Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle is a very large book with most expensive illustrations.7 My work on Cirripedia consists of 2 thick Vols with numerous illustrations.8 It is obviously out of the question to think of translating either of these works. My geological works consist of 3 thin Vols, now I believe always sold by Smith & Elder bound together in one thick Vol.9 These consist of ‘The Structure & distribution of Coral Reefs.’ This is a work of some interest, & if my name had formerly been known in Germany and have been worth translation. The other two parts consist of ‘Geological observe. on Volcanic Island’ & ‘Geolog. Observ. on South America.’ My work on the contrivances by which orchids are fertilized has been translated into German—at towards the close of last year I published in the Journal of the Linnean Soc. & separately a little book on the ‘Movements & habits of Climbing Plants,’ of which I send you a copy.10 I cannot suppose that this wd be worth translation, although formerly 2 little books appeared in Germany on this subject,11 & I may add that this treatise has been highly spoken of by Botanists. If it were translated, which I repeat I do not think wd answer, it might be worth while to add Three papers by me published in the Linnean Journal on a very curious subject namely Dimorphism & Trimorphism in plants & which has been a good deal discussed in German scientific periodicals.12

I will write again as soon as I hear from M. Schweizerbart but I have hardly any doubt that he will agree to my proposals—

Believe me dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The date is taken from the description of this letter in Sotheby’s catalogue (16 December 2010).
Suchsland had approached CD on behalf of his father, Friedrich Emil Suchsland, head of the publishing company Johann Christian Hermann’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung in Frankfurt, about producing a new German translation of Origin (see Correspondence vol. 14, letter from Rudolf Suchsland, 16 March 1866). This proposal prompted Christian Friedrich Schweizerbart, director of E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, the company that had published the first German edition of Origin, to propose their own new edition (Correspondence vol. 14, letter from E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 23 March 1866, and letter from Rudolf Suchsland, 2 April 1866).
CD had begun work on Origin 4th ed. on 1 March 1866 (Correspondence vol. 14, Appendix II).
See Correspondence vol. 14, letter from Rudolf Suchsland, 2 April 1866 for Suchsland’s list in which both ‘Natural History & Geography of H.M.S. Beagle’ (Journal of researches) and ‘Voyage of a Naturalist round the World’ appeared. Naturalist’s voyage round the world was the title that appeared on the spine of Journal of researches (1860). See Freeman 1977, p. 32.
Ernst Dieffenbach’s German translation of Journal of researches was published by Vieweg und Sohn (Dieffenbach trans. 1844).
Journal of researches (1860).
Zoology was published in five parts. The illustrations had cost over £1000 (Freeman 1977, p. 26).
CD’s monograph on barnacles was published as Living Cirripedia (1851) and (1854) and Fossil Cirripedia (1851) and (1854).
From 1851, Coral reefs, Volcanic islands, and South America were published together by Smith, Elder & Co. under the title Geology of the ‘Beagle’.
Heinrich Georg Bronn had translated Orchids into German in 1862 (Bronn trans. 1862). CD’s paper on climbing plants was published in 1865 in the Journal of the Linnean Society (‘Climbing plants’), and also as a separate publication (Climbing plants).
Palm 1827 and Mohl 1827.


‘Dimorphic condition in Primula’: On the two forms, or dimorphic condition, in the species of Primula, and on their remarkable sexual relations. By Charles Darwin. [Read 21 November 1861.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 6 (1862): 77–96. [Collected papers 2: 45–63.]

‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria’: On the sexual relations of the three forms of Lythrum salicaria. By Charles Darwin. [Read 16 June 1864.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 8 (1865): 169–96. [Collected papers 2: 106–31.]

‘Three sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum’: On the three remarkable sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum, an orchid in the possession of the Linnean Society. By Charles Darwin. [Read 3 April 1862.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 6 (1862): 151–7. [Collected papers 2: 63–70.]


Cannot support another edition of Origin, so unable to send English pages. Suggests some of his other works that might be worth translating into German.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Georg Rudolf Emil (Rudolf) Suchsland
Source of text
Sotheby’s (dealers) (16 December 2010); Kotte Autographs (dealers) (March 2016)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5054F,” accessed on 2 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)