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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. S. Dallas   8 April 1868

Yorkshire Philosophical Society | York

8 April 1868.

My dear Sir

I ought to have written to you sooner in answer to your letter of the 30th. March which was sent here after me,—but I have been trying to hit upon something to suit as a Title & cannot please myself.—1 My expression “a Lift” was never intended as a serious proposition, but merely as an illustration of the mode in which the title might be arranged, so as to get the translation of the German, & yet reproduce as nearly as possible the form of the German title-page   thus we should have instead of





I think Sir Charles Lyell’s proposition the best of all those mentioned by you & if printed as follows




or even with the upper lines in smaller type would exactly fulfil my proposal.—2 The English printers would no doubt object to the eccentricity of this title page, but then we want to reproduce the eccentricity of Fritz Müller’s own title.— Your second proposition “Facts for Darwin” would answer the same purpose, but would apply equally well to facts in favour of your views or to the hardest possible nuts for you to crack—

I have just translated a long paper by F. Müller in Wiegmann’s Archiv, which will interest you from two sides,—it is on Balani & he winds it up with remarks favourable to your views.—3

Hoping that you are now better, Believe me | Your’s very truly | W. S. Dallas

C. Darwin Esq


CD’s letter to Dallas has not been found. Dallas refers to the English title of Für Darwin (F. Müller 1864).
Dallas refers to F. Müller 1867. The translation appeared in the June issue of Annals and Magazine of Natural History (F. Müller 1868a). In the conclusion to the article Müller speculated about the cause of the inheritance of certain characteristics in a hybrid of two barnacles, and argued that the only plausible explanation was that the two parent species had descended from a common primitive form and that the hybrid tended to inherit the more persistant characters of the earliest form (F. Müller 1868a, pp. 411–12).


Müller, Fritz. 1867. Ueber Balanus armatus und einen Bastard dieser Art und des Balanus improvisus var. assimilis Darw. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 33: 329–56.


He never intended "A Lift for Darwin" as a serious title but as a way of arranging it. Lyell’s suggestion seems best to him: "Facts and Arguments For Darwin".

Letter details

Letter no.
William Sweetland Dallas
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Yorks. Philos. Soc., York
Source of text
DAR 162: 20
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6107,” accessed on 1 December 2021,

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