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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. J. Moulinié   7 July 1871


7 July 1871

My dear sir,

On receipt of your letter of 28th June last I wrote to my publisher to inform him of the important fact of the new edition of the Origin of Species you are going to give out; making it necessary to wait to finish the translation that it may be completed and conformed to the last original edition.1 In the beginning of August 1870 printing was stopped in Paris, the last good sheet was the 16th; the calculation of the two printings show that the translation is exactly as possible arrived to the middle point, where it is still.2 A few days ago I received a few new sheets first proof, which crossed my letter to Mr. Reinwald to inform him of the new edition, and the convenience of waiting for it. I just receive his answer, which agrees completely, consequently not a sheet more will be printed before corrected according to the future edition; the second half of the volume will thus be quite correct. As for the first, it will be easy by an appendix to insert with all details the additions and corrections of all kinds concerning it, including the six first chapters and 34 of the seventh. This appendix may be put at the end of the volume, or perhaps as concerning only the seven first chapters, might be more conveniently placed after the seventh. I shall be happy to have your advice on this point, as well as on any other you might wish to see effectuated. We hope that the translation will follow as quickly as possible the new English edition, and not to lose time, I shall be happy if you can send me as soon as they are drawn, the sheets containing corrections to make.

I consider the delay caused by circumstances of the publication of the translation of Origin as a very fortunate thing for it, and as justifying a french Proverb “to something, misfortune may be good.”3

Mr. Reinwald has in hand the first volume of “Descendance” and I expect to receive shortly the proofs. The second volume is ready also, but I will see it once more over before I send it.4

Hoping this will find you in good health remind me kindly to the memory of Mrs. Darwin and your family,5 and believe me your’s most truly & devoted | J. J. Moulinie

23. Quai des Bergues.


See letter to J. J. Moulinié, 28 June [1871]. Moulinié’s publisher was Charles-Ferdinand Reinwald. Moulinié had been working on a translation of the fifth edition of Origin since 1869 (see Correspondence vol. 17, letter from J. J. Moulinié, 5 November 1869, and letter from C.-F. Reinwald, 13 November 1869). Moulinié’s translation of the sixth edition of Origin was published in 1873 (Moulinié trans. 1873).
Printing of Moulinié’s translation of Origin had been held up by the Franco-Prussian War and the siege of Paris; war had been declared in July 1870, and Paris surrendered at the end of January 1871.
A quelque chose, malheur est bon: every cloud has a silver lining (idiomatic translation).
Moulinié had made the French translation of Descent (Moulinié trans. 1872).
Moulinié had visited Down House on 31 August 1868 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242); see also Correspondence vol. 16, letter from J. J. Moulinié, 7 September 1868).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 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.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


JJM’s Origin translation is being held up so that it can conform to the 6th English edition.

Letter details

Letter no.
Jean Jacques Moulinié
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 276
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7853,” accessed on 13 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19