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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C.-F. Reinwald   23 November 1872

Paris, Rue des Saints Pères No 15

23d November 1872

To Charles Darwin, Esq. Down, Beckenham. Kent

Dear Sir

It is only to-day we could send you the Second Volume of the french translation of your Descent of Man. Other copies of this volume have likewise been sent to Mess. Saporta, Charles Martins, and Prof Dareste.1

The heavy illness of your appointed translator Mr Moulinié gave us much trouble, as the manuscript of the second volume was not at all ready, when he failed. We had to work over again half of the Second volume, and in spite of all haste it was not possible to get faster on as we did—2

Our trouble was still greater with the Origin of Species, which we begun it is nearly 3 years ago, and the printing of which was not only delayed by the war, but also by the publication of your sixth english edition and finally by the illness of the translator.3 We did our best to complete the book in the absence of the latter, and hope we will encounter your approval when the work will be ready for sale, what probably will be before the end of December, as we are about printing the end of the volume, the indexes and the historical introduction.4

If we succeed to sell speedily this our edition of the Origin of Species, we propose to get the book then published in a definite form as you did with the sixth english edition.5 We therefore intend then to get our translation revised by a man of authority in France, as perhaps Mr. Charles Martins or any of your personnal friends in this country. But it is of first necessity that then our desire will be backed by your personnal influence. It is however a great deal too early to speak of this now, as the book is not only not out but very likely not very soon out of print.

We arranged with Dr Pozzi for the translation of your new work On the Emotions and are sure that his labor will be highly recommendable as for the french style and accuracy.6 Nevertheless we should be much obliged if you would take the pain to receive the sheets when ready, and give your personnal consent to their printing. The author is no doubt more able as any one else to judge of the accuracy and truthfullness of the translation, and our first care above all is to give translation “agréées par l’auteur.7

We should be happy to have the author of these books going with us in a percentage of the benefits, but we dare say that the interference of your hitherto appointed translator M. J. J. Moulinié was not to our mutual advantage. Col. Moulinié, by your largeness,8 was the legal proprietor of the copy right for french translation, and his labor was paid by us in consequence.— As soon as it will be possible to settle business with himself, or if he should henceforth be incapable of this care, with his legal representatives, we will inform you of the fact and agree with you for any new edition of your celebrated books which as we hope, are to be needed in future.

If you were in want of some copies of the french translation of the Descent of Man, we shall be happy to send them without delay.

We shall feel much satisfaction if the publication of our Second volume of the Descendance de l’Homme meets your approval, and hoping that it will be so, we remain | Dear Sir | your’s most obediently | C Reinwald & Co

CD annotations

5.4 The author … l’auteur.” 5.7] scored red crayon
End of letter: ‘Gaudry’9red crayon


Jean Jacques Moulinié, the translator of the French edition of Descent (Moulinié trans. 1872), had written that he hoped the first volume would be published early in 1872 (letter from J. J. Moulinié, 1 January 1872). Reinwald refers to Gaston de Saporta, Charles Frédéric Martins, and Camille Dareste.
In his letter of 3 March 1871 (Correspondence vol. 19), Moulinié had told CD that his translation of Descent was complete except for the index. On Moulinié’s illness, see also the letters from C.-F. Reinwald, 13 September 1872 and 17 September 1872.
Moulinié’s translation of the fifth edition of Origin was half done when CD began work on the sixth edition; CD had asked Moulinié to adapt his work to incorporate the changes (see Correspondence vol. 19, letter to J. J. Moulinié, 28 June [1871], and this volume, letter from J. J. Moulinié, 1 January 1872). Reinwald also refers to the Franco-Prussian War, which ended in May 1871.
Reinwald sent CD a copy of the French translation of Origin 6th ed. (Moulinié trans. 1873) in January 1873 (Correspondence vol. 21, letter from C.-F. Reinwald, 4 March 1873).
Moulinié trans. 1873 was a composite of the fifth and sixth English editions of Origin, with the new seventh chapter of the sixth edition added as an appendix. Reinwald was in addition dissatisfied with Moulinié’s work (see Correspondence vol. 21, letter from C.-F. Reinwald, 4 March 1873). Reinwald published a new translation, by Edmond Barbier, in 1876.
Reinwald refers to Samuel Jean Pozzi and Expression. See also letter from C.-F. Reinwald, 22 October 1872 and n. 2.
Approved by the author.
Largeness: i.e. largesse, generosity.
CD probably wanted a copy of the French translation of Descent or Origin or both sent to the French palaeontologist Albert Gaudry; CD cited Gaudry in both Descent and Origin 5th and 6th eds.


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.

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

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.


J. J. Moulinié’s translations of Descent and Origin required much reworking, which accounts for delays.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles-Ferdinand Reinwald
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 176: 98
Physical description
2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8643,” accessed on 4 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20