skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. V. Carus   11 September 1867

39, Elsterstrasse, | Leipzig,

Septbr. 11th. 1867

My dear Sir,

You had kindly ordered Mr Murray to send me clean sheets. To-day I venture to ask you for the same kindness. Since the 8th. of July I didn’t get any sheets, when I received them up to page 224. As I agree entirely with Mr Schweizerbart that it would be the best to bring out the first volume of the translation at the same time with the original, viz. in November, I want the rest of the first volume very much.1

As I am writing to you, may I ask you some more questions. The Dogs give me some trouble. I cannot get clear with some English expressions. Taking Linné, Systema naturae (I have Gmelin’s edition before me)2 as a means of explanation: mastiff is C. anglicus,3 Bull-dog is C. molossus, Water-dog is C. aquaticus. Now, Turnspit is C. vertagus, Dachs in German. What do you mean by “the turnspit-like German badger-hound”.4 We call the “vertagus” Dachs-hund (i.e. badger-dog). Is hound = C. gallicus? Then what is fox-hound, deer-hound? The retriever, is that C. venaticus L. Gm.? For the other names, spaniel, setter, pointer, you gave already notes to the late Mr Bronn, which I used of course.5 But even here I am afraid to get into a scrape. You say on p. 19. (Variation &c) “our hounds and setters or spaniels” and you add (in brackets) the translation: “Jagdhund und Wachtelhund”.6 Therefore “hound” is Jagdhund (C. gallicus L. Gm.?), spaniel = C. avicularius L. Gm.? (Hühnerhund or Wachtelhund). Bronn translates “setter” with “Spürhund”,7 which I think is correct. Terrier is C. terrarius of later authors, our Pinscher, good animals of this race ought to have a black palate as far as I heard, a character which Linné gives to the King-Charles-Dog; but this is altogether another race. If you will be so kind as to give me some explanation about these matters I should be most thankful. I have here Ham. Smith’s Dogs (Natur. Libr) what I mention in the case you would refer to figures8

Pigeons are less troublesome. I am sorry I cannot get hold of Neumeister, whose work is completely out of print.9 Carrier is “Botentaube”; Frillback is Strupptaube. You give the last word for the “common Frillback”,10 I think I may use the same expression for the “Indian Frillback” (of course then “Indische Strupptaube). Only the “Barb” makes me some difficulty. May I not use the same word in German: “Barb’ taube”? You give as translation “Indische Taube”;11 what is then an English Barb? Then: the Runt. Here you give two German expressions: Florentiner and Hinkeltaube.12 But Runt means the whole race. “Archangel” means the colouring like Marrubium; isn’t it?13 Is dragon a race of itself or is it synonymous with Carrier?14 Do you know any work, where I could find such toy-forms, as Priests, Monks, Porcelains, Breasts Shields and so on?15

I am sorry I trouble you; but I wish to make the translation as trustworthy as possible. And here I don’t see how I can do it without your kind help.

My best wishes for your health. I do hope indeed that you may be able to publish your second and third work16

Believe me | My dear Sir | Yours ever truly | J. Victor Carus

CD annotations

2.4 C. molossus] underl red crayon
2.6 We call … gallicus? 2.7] scored red crayon
2.7 Then … Gm.?] scored red crayon
2.10 add … Jagdhund 2.12] scored red crayon
2.12 C. avicularius] underl red crayon; ‘Pl. 15’ red crayon, circled red crayon; ‘Ham Smith’ red crayon; added bottom margin 17
3.2 Carrier] ‘Turkish’ added red crayon
3.3 for the … Frillback” 3.4] double scored red crayon
3.8 “Archangel … Carrier? 3.10] scored red crayon
3.10 toy-forms … so on? 3.11] scored red crayon


CD had informed Carus he expected Variation to be published in November 1867 (see letter to J. V. Carus, 11 April [1867]). In the only extant letter to Carus between 11 April and 11 September, CD mentioned he had not yet received any clean proof-sheets (see letter to J. V. Carus, 18 April [1867]).
Carus would probably have used the last edition by Johann Georg Gmelin of the Systema naturæ by Carl von Linné (Carolus Linnaeus) (Linnaeus 1788–93).
Canis anglicus.
See Variation 1: 28.
Carus refers to Heinrich Georg Bronn, who had translated the first and second German editions of Origin (Bronn trans. 1860 and 1863). The notes referred to have not been found.
See Variation 1: 19. CD included the German translation because he was quoting a passage from Rütimeyer 1861.
See Bronn trans. 1863, p. 46.
Carus refers to Charles Hamilton Smith’s work on the natural history of dogs (C. H. Smith 1839–40), which was part of a series, The naturalist’s library, edited by William Jardine.
CD makes several references to Neumeister 1837 in Variation.
See Variation 1: 155.
See Variation 1: 144.
See Variation 1: 142.
See Variation 1: 157. ‘Archangel’ refers to a breed of pigeon, generally of a bronze or copper colour with black, blue, or white wings, characterised by a metallic sheen. Marrubium vulgare (horehound) has leaves with whitish or silvery hairs.
See Variation 1: 141.
See Variation 1: 187.
In the introduction to Variation (Variation 1: 3–9), CD set forth his plan to produce three related books covering variation under domestication (i.e., Variation), variation in the wild, and the principle of natural selection. Only Variation was completed.
CD’s annotation refers to plate 15 of C. H. Smith 1839–40 (see letter to J. V. Carus, 16 September 1867, and n. 8, above).


Linnaeus, Carolus. 1788–93. Systema naturæ. Edited by Johann Friedrich Gmelin. 13th edition. 3 vols. in 10. Leipzig: Georg Emanuel Beer.

Neumeister, Gottlob. 1837. Das Ganze der Taubenzucht. Weimar: B. F. Voigt.

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.

Rütimeyer, Ludwig. 1861. Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten in der Schweiz. Untersuchungen über die Geschichte der wilden und der Haus-Säugethiere von Mittel-Europa. Basel, Switzerland: Bahnmaier’s Buchhandlung (C. Detloff).

Smith, Charles Hamilton. 1839–40. The natural history of dogs: Canidæ or genus Canis of authors. Including also the genera Hyæna and Proteles. 2 vols. (Vols. 4 and 5 of Mammalia in The naturalist’s library, edited by William Jardine.) Edinburgh: W. H. Lizars.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


JVC is having difficulty in translating the names of dogs [in Variation]. Also asks CD for help with names of pigeons.

Letter details

Letter no.
Julius Victor Carus
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 60
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5625,” accessed on 23 October 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15