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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Anton Dohrn   13 January 1870


13th. January 1870.

My dear Sir!

I thank You again and again for all the kindness, You have shown me by Your letter!1

Of course, I never intended to ask You the smallest sum of money in favour of my plan,—and I hope I shall carry it on without making use of your Kindness and liberality. I have got that idea of the Zoological Stations into my head, and I think I’ll not get rid of it, but by building at least one.

I am also very thankful for Your kind caution. But I hope, I shall not have committed such grave things as would justify anybody to withdraw confidence from me. It was rather, because I thought it right to name an error an error, that I wrote to You as I did,—2 but certainly there are in our Science a quantity of much heavier faults withdrawn and hidden by those who committed them, by preparing soft envelops for them, so that they might go down easier and without making any noise. This could never be my way,— therefore perhaps I shall risk more;— but there is a good deal of confidence within me, that makes me open and free.

The Editors of the Journal of Microscopical Science have applied to me, for an abstract of my present investigations. I have declined to give one, before I have finished them. But then I’ll not fail to do so, and I’ll send You a copy, that You might see, what a state the Embryology of Arthropods is in.3 I trust, You will be satisfied. There is an immense quantity of labour spent in that chapter since some years. My endeavouring has been, to show as clear as possible principles and method of genealogical investigation, by applying them to Crustacea and Insects. And I hope the conclusiveness of the results, I have reached at, will then justify as well principles as method.

With regard to Limulus, I thank You too for the trouble You have kindly taken in my behalf. I had already written to a young Naturalist in Salem (Massachusetts)4 and he has promised, to send me Embryonic Stages in spirits. Besides that I saw lastly two Limulus in the Berlin-Aquarium in, as one must believe—copula; and the owner of the Aquarium5 has promised me to tell me in the very moment, that eggs will be found. So I hope, I shall get to my purpose.

I cannot finish this letter without thanking You once more Your last letter, especially the caution You placed on its end. Your words are heavier within my ears than anybody’s else; so I’ll always remember them, as soon as I shall risk some dangerous things in our Science.

With the most sincere good wishes for your health | Yours very faithfully | Anton Dohrn

Charles Darwin Esq.


Dohrn refers to his letter to CD of 30 December 1869 (Correspondence vol. 17), in which he said that some of his former views on the developmental history of arthropods had been completely mistaken.
Dohrn did not publish in the Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science.
Alpheus Spring Packard (Groeben 1982, p. 93 n. 31).
Alfred Edmund Brehm (Groeben 1982, p. 93 n. 32).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Groeben, Christiane, ed. 1982. Charles Darwin 1809–1882, Anton Dohrn 1840–1909: correspondence. Naples: Macchiaroli.


Thanks CD for his support and for his cautionary advice.

Will send his work on embryology of arthropods as soon as it is finished [Bau und Entwicklung der Arthropoden (1870)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Felix Anton (Anton) Dohrn
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 162: 205
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7076,” accessed on 7 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18