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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Thierry Preyer   31 March 1868

[4 Chester Place]

March 31, 1868.1

I am delighted to hear that you uphold the doctrine of the Modification of Species, and defend my views. The support which I receive from Germany is my chief ground for hoping that our views will ultimately prevail. To the present day I am continually abused or treated with contempt by writers of my own country; but the younger naturalists are almost all on my side, and sooner or later the public must follow those who make the subject their special study. The abuse and contempt of ignorant writers hurts me very little …


A copy of this letter, translated into German, appeared in Preyer 1896, p. 138. It included a translation of the portion transcribed above, as well as a translation of the salutation and valediction. Preyer had evidently written to Darwin, in a letter that has not been found, about a case reported in a Bonn journal of the inheritance of an acquired defect (Preyer 1896, pp. 137–8).


Preyer, William Thierry. 1896. Darwin. Sein leben und wirken. Berlin: E. Hofmann.


Glad to hear that WP defends species transmutation. German support is the chief reason to hope that their views will prevail.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Thierry (William) Preyer
Sent from
London, Chester Place, 4
Source of text
LL 3: 88

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6075,” accessed on 28 February 2020,

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