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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. V. Carus   17 March 1868


March 17th. 1868.

My dear Sir,

My best thanks for the sheets of the second edition, which I got in time, to make the alterations at least from p 170 sq.1 Besides some minor misprints I find on p 282 (1. ed.), 2 lines from bottom, p 283, 7 lines from top and p 284 note 53 the name is spelt Lucaze-D., while it is Lacaze-Duthiers2   But the chief reason I write to you is to ask you for a note, which is dropped out on p 294. (here you will find 9 lines from bottom “absortion”). But look 16 lines from bottom, here you find the number “7”, but no footnote.3 Will you send me a note for this missing number? If not I alter the following numbers.

With this same post I send you a paper on the domestic animals of the countries bordering the Nile by Prof Hartmann of Berlin, who sent me two copies, one for you.4 You will find some details of much interest. Hartmann is about to prepare a larger work with better illustrations than those in the “Annalen der Landwirthschaft” (Annals of Agriculture).5 I dare say you will peruse the paper with interest, as it contains some very good observations.

The translation is done, as far as my doing is concerned; but I am sorry to say the printing is about half done only. But it will go on now at a quicker rate. It was a hard work, not for the translation as such, but hard to keep steady and to go on quietly. Your theory of Pangenesis gave me much thinking and pondering.6 I shouldn’t like to pretend to be able of giving a decided opinion about it, especially as I am far too much a “Darwinist” (to use the proper term of now-a-days) to find fault with any thing that comes from you; and yet—but you must promise me not to think me immodest and conceited— it, viz. your theory, it seems rather a little too complicated, not as part of a physiological hypothesis, but as as a molecular theory. I wonder what Grove would say of this application of “the correlation of physical forces”.7 This law together with your selection and the struggle for life should, according to my opinion, go by far much further and in an appearingly more methodical way. But, excuse me for my telling so frankly my unasked-for opinion It is so very difficult to find the right expressions without hurting my feelings towards you, and yet I felt myself bound to tell you that the reading and re-reading of this chapter took me in completely for some time.

With the most hearty wishes for your health I remain | My dear Sir, | Yours most thankfully obliged | J. Victor Carus


Carus refers to the second printing of the first edition of Variation. CD made several corrections and additions to the second printing (see Freeman 1977).
The spelling of the name ‘Lacaze-Duthiers’ was corrected in the second edition of Variation (1875) but it was still misspelled in the index (Variation 2d ed., 2: 273, 274). The name was correctly spelled in both the German and French editions (Carus trans. 1868, 2: 376, 377; Moulinié trans. 1868, 2: 300, 302).
In the first printing of Variation the word is misspelled ‘absortion’, but this is corrected to ‘absorption’ in the second printing. In neither version is the footnote mentioned missing. The German edition has the footnote (Carus trans. 1868, 2: 391).
An annotated copy of Robert Hartmann’s paper (Hartmann 1864) is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. CD added information on leg stripes in the wild ass from Hartmann 1864 to Variation 2d ed., 1: 65.
Hartmann’s paper (Hartmann 1864) was published in the Annalen der Landwirtschaft in den Königlich Preußischen Staaten. His longer work was Darwinismus und Thierproduktion (Hartmann 1869).
Carus refers to CD’s hypothesis of pangenesis (Variation 2: 357–404).
William Robert Grove had published an essay, On the correlation of physical forces (W. R. Grove 1846), the central thesis of which is often regarded as a precursor of the law of conservation of energy (ODNB).


Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Grove, William Robert. 1846. On the correlation of physical forces. London: C. Skipper and East.

Hartmann, Robert. 1864. Die Haussäugethiere der Nilländer. Nach eigenen Beobachtungen geschildert. Annalen der Landwirtschaft in den Königlich Preußischen Staaten 43: 281–310, 44: 7–38, 208–29.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.

Variation 2d ed.: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1875.

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


Some questions on errata in second English issue of Variation.

Sends a paper by Robert Hartmann on domestic animals of the countries bordering the Nile ["Geographische Verbreitung der im nordöstlichen Afrika wild lebenden Säugethiere" Z. Ges. Erdkd. Berlin 3 (1868): 28–69, 232–70, 345–68, 404–20].

Has thought much about CD’s theory of Pangenesis. It "seems rather a little too complicated … as a molecular theory".

Letter details

Letter no.
Julius Victor Carus
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 67
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6019,” accessed on 26 September 2020,

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