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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Ernst Haeckel   23 June [1870]1

Down. | Beckenham. | Kent. S.E.

June 23d

My dear Häckel

I received this morning your present of the new Edit. & of two Essays.2 I see in one of these you, as usual, pile honours high on my head.— As I leave home tomorrow morning for more than a week, I have thought that I would not delay in thanking you.—3 I am delighted for the sake of science & the public, & likewise for your own sake, to see the new Edition, which seems very greatly enlarged & I do not doubt in all ways improved. For my own especial self, it makes me groan a little, for my M.S is completed, so that I cannot profit by your improvements & additions:4 it would, alas, from my wretched knowledge of German take me a very long time to read the new Edition carefully.

In what I am going to send immediately to the Printers, I have tried to a certain extent to keep on distinct ground from you, & have much shortened some of the subjects which you have fully treated, & refer my readers to your works.5 And I hope before very long your Morphologie Gen: will be accessible to English Readers.6

I do not know how my Book & your Book will be received by the English: I observe at present that there is some tendency to decry geneological classification.— I have been rather better of late, & have worked harder than usual; but I suppose that my best day’s work is not one-third of what you can do. You seem a most indomitable worker.— I have seen no scientific man for a long time, except, about a month ago, Kölliker, whom I liked extremely.7

Do not work too hard, & believe me, my dear Hackel with the sincerest esteem— yours very truly | C: Darwin


The year is established by the reference to the second edition of Haeckel’s Natürliche Schopfungsgeschichte (Haeckel 1870a).
CD refers to the second edition of Haeckel’s Natürliche Schopfungsgeschichte (Haeckel 1870a); there is a copy in the Darwin Library–Down. One of the articles that Haeckel sent to CD may have been ‘Beiträge zur Plastidentheorie’, which was published in the issue of Jenaische Zeitschrift für Medizin und Naturwissenschaft dated 30 May 1870 (Haeckel 1870b). CD was mentioned on the first page. The other may have been ‘Das Leben in den grossten Meerestiefen’ (Haeckel 1870c), of which there is a copy in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
CD was in London from 24 June to 1 July 1870 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
CD refers to his manuscript for Descent. He referred to the second edition of Haeckel’s Natürliche Schopfungsgeschichte in Descent 1: 4.
In Descent 1: 4, CD wrote that if Haeckel’s Natürliche Schopfungsgeschichte (Haeckel 1868) had appeared before his essay had been written, he would probably not have completed it, and that all his conclusions had been confirmed by Haeckel.
Haeckel’s Generelle Morphologie der Organismen (Haeckel 1866) has not been translated into English to date. See also Correspondence vol. 16, letter to Ernst Haeckel, 19 November 1868 and n. 4.
Rudolf Albert von Kölliker visited CD with Albert Günther on 15 April 1870 (letter from Albert Günther 12 April 1870; letter from J. V. Carus, 16 April [1870]).


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

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

Haeckel, Ernst. 1866. Generelle Morphologie der Organismen. Allgemeine Grundzüge der organischen Formen-Wissenschaft, mechanisch begründet durch die von Charles Darwin reformirte Descendenz-Theorie. 2 vols. Berlin: Georg Reimer.


Comments on new edition of EH’s book [Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, 2d ed. (1870)].

Mentions his own book [Descent].

Visit by Kölliker.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Ernst Philipp August (Ernst) Haeckel
Sent from
Source of text
Ernst-Haeckel-Haus (Bestand A-Abt. 1: 1–52/24)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7241,” accessed on 7 March 2021,

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