skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Fritz Müller   16 March [1868]

Down, Bromley, Kent [4 Chester Place]

March 16.

My dear Sir

Your Brother, as you will have heard from him, felt so convinced that you would not object to a Translation of “Für Darwin”, that I have ventured to arrange for a translation.1 Engelmann has very liberally offered me “cliches” of the woodcuts for 22 thalers;2 Mr. Murray has agreed to bring out a translation (& he is our best publisher) on commission, for he wd. not undertake the work on his own risk;3 & I have agreed with W. S. Dallas (who has translated Von Siebold on Parthenogenesis & many German works & who writes very good English) for the sum of from 12 to 15 sovereigns to translate the book.4 He thinks (& he is a good judge) that it is important to have some few corrections or additions, in order to account for a translation appearing so long after the original; so that I hope you will be able to send some.—5 There is no very great hurry for Mr D. cant translate the book until 2 or 3 months have passed, as he has his hands full.—

Mr Murray says he will do his best for me that there may be some profit, all of which, after expences have been paid, will be handed over to you; but of course it is a mere chance whether there will be profit, as purely scientific works do not sell well in England.

I am quite indifferent to any loss, as it cannot be large, & if 100 copies are sold to naturalists I shall think any loss well repaid to me by the aid which your admirable work will do towards spreading the views, which we both entertain.—

I shall consult Murray how many copies to print.— I suppose 750 or 1000.6 Please say how many you wd like sent to you, or to any one else. I will send some to best Scientific Reviews in England.— I most sincerely hope that you will not disapprove what I have done.—

My dear Sir | Yours very truly | Ch. Darwin

P.S. We are much perplexed about Title for the Translation.— I proposed “Für Darwin”, but Murray, Sir C. Lyell,7 & Dallas were most strongly opposed, as so unusual: they were, as well as some others, equally opposed to “For Darwin”   Sir C. Lyell suggested “Facts & arguments in favour of Darwin”. I think I like this best; but I have not as yet heard from Mr Dallas the translator, what he thinks.— Have you any decided opinion on the English Title?8


See letter from Hermann Müller, 10 March 1868. CD refers to Wilhelm Engelmann.
The reference is to CD’s publisher, John Murray.
Karl Theodor Ernst von Siebold’s work on parthenogenesis in moths and bees (Siebold 1856) was translated by William Sweetland Dallas (Siebold 1857). Dallas also frequently translated articles from German for Annals and Magazine of Natural History, and had produced the index for Variation (see Correspondence vol. 15).
For Müller’s corrections and additions, see the enclosure to the letter from Fritz Müller, 22 April 1868.
According to Murray’s ledger book (John Murray Archive), 1000 copies of the book (W. S. Dallas trans. 1869) were printed. Murray received a 10 per cent commission for sales and warehousing. After one year, a loss of £21 2s. 3d. was recorded, but over the next ten years small profits were recorded each year.
The English title was Facts and arguments for Darwin (Dallas trans. 1869).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Siebold, Karl Theodor Ernst von. 1856. Wahre Parthenogenesis bei Schmetterlingen und Bienen. Ein Beitrag zur Fortpflanzungsgeschichte der Thiere. Leipzig. [Vols. 7,8]

Siebold, Karl Theodor Ernst von. 1857. On a true parthenogenesis in moths and bees; a contribution to the history of reproduction in animals. Translated by William S. Dallas. London: John van Voorst.

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


CD arranging for a translation of FM’s Für Darwin by W. S. Dallas.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Johann Friedrich Theodor (Fritz) Müller
Sent from
London, Chester Place, 4 Down letterhead
Source of text
The British Library (Loan MS 10 no 22)
Physical description
ALS 5pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6014,” accessed on 26 September 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16