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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. D. Hinrichs   13 August 1868

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E. [Freshwater]

Aug. 13 1868.

My dear Sir

I have received your letter with its inclosure in reference to Professor Dana; but I have not received some other publication to which you allude.1 As it is many years since I have attended to chemistry I should not be able to form any sound judgment on your theory; but I can clearly see, if you can establish your case, that you will have made a magnificent discovery.

You have my entire sympathy in all the great exertion & trouble which necessarily follow in such an undertaking as yours. I have read your Sunday lecture on Faith & Science with very great interest: it appears to me excellently written & contains many ideas quite new to me.2

Dr Hooker Pres. of the British Association has been staying with me, & I have called his attention to the distribution of your papers at the Meeting on the 19th.3 He also yesterday read your Sunday lecture with interest.

Pray believe me dear Sir with every good wish | yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


See letter from G. D. Hinrichs, [before 13 August 1868] and n. 2. The enclosure about James Dwight Dana has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL. Dana, as associate editor of the American Journal of Science and Arts, rejected a summary of Hinrichs’s views that Hinrichs had prepared for publication (Keyes 1924); Hinrichs had also accused Dana of plagiarising his Atomechanik (Hinrichs 1867) in his papers on crystalline form and chemical composition (see Quarterly Journal of Science 5 (1868): 257–8). Hinrichs referred to the plagiarism charge in Hinrichs 1874, p.166 n.
Hinrich’s ‘Sunday lecture’ was delivered to students of Iowa State University in 1867 and published in the Iowa State Press, 25 December 1867. CD’s copy has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
Joseph Dalton Hooker was president of the British Association, which held its annual meeting at Norwich from 19 to 26 August 1868 (Report of the 38th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, p. lvii). Hooker visited the Darwins at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight from 8 to 14 August (letter from J. D. Hooker, 6 August 1868, and letter to Asa Gray, 15 August [1868]).


Hinrichs, Gustavus Detlef. 1867. Programme der Atomechanik oder die Chemie eine Mechanik der Panatome: Programme d’une atomécanique ou la chimie une mécanique des panatomes. Iowa City: the author.

Hinrichs, Gustavus Detlef. 1874. The principles of chemistry and molecular mechanics. Davenport, Iowa: Day, Egbert, & Fidlar. New York: B. Westermann & Co.

Keyes, Charles. 1924. The crystallographic work of Gustavus Hinrichs. American Mineralogist 9: 5–8.


Acknowledges GH’s letter and the lecture on "Faith and science".

Cannot form a judgment on his chemical theory, but if GH establishes his case it will be a magnificent discovery.

"Faith and science" contained many ideas new to CD. Hooker, too, has read it with interest.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Gustavus Detlef Hinrichs
Sent from
Freshwater Down letterhead
Source of text
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois History and Lincoln Collections (Hinrichs Papers, IHLC MS 712, Box 5)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6313,” accessed on 1 December 2021,

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