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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C.-F. Reinwald   4 March 1873

15, Rue des Saints-Pères | Paris

le March 4th. 1873

To Charles Darwin Esq. Down, Beckenham, Kent.

Dear Sir

Since our last letter of November 23d we had the honor to receive your kind letter of Nov. 25th. and had the pleasure to send you on January the 25th. one copy of the translation of Col. Moulinié of your “Origin of Species”.1

The performance and appearance of our book is a witness of its difficult generation. Begun at the end of 1869, the war and afterwards the illness, and finally the death of Col. Moulinié delayed its issue, and we were obliged to join the alterations and additions of your 6th. english edition, in form of an apendix.2 Nevertheless the sale of our translation seems to succeed, for in spite of Mlle. Royer’s three editions and the defectuosities of our présent translation of Mr. Moulinié’s we hope to be soon enabled to think at a new edition.3 We are however sorry to say that Mr Charles Martins, whom we had opportunity to see a few days ago, is too much emploied in several other labors as to be able to promise his assistance for the purpose.4

During the life-time of late M. Moulinié we thought it not fair for us, to complain too strongly towards you on the defectuosities of his labor of translation. After his death however we thought it in your interest as well as in our own, to be disengaged towards him and his heirs, and therefore made an arrangement with the still living mother of Col. Moulinié, who is the sole and unique heir of her son, and succeeded in paying her a sum of ready money to get the possessor of the translations and the copy right of her son.5 We are therefore fully in right to have his translations altered and corrected and are willing to apply the said right to the reprint of the 2 volumes of the Descent of Man.

Of this book, “la Descendance de l’homme” the first edition of 1500 copies is now near to be out of print (at least for the first volume of it). We engaged therefore one Monsieur Barbier, who translated already Mr. Lubbock’s books with great success, to review and correct our french translation of the Descent of Man, and will so be able to get a new and better edition in about 2 or 3 months.6

As we had already an opportunity to tell you, we feel it our duty to offer to the author of this work a remuneration for the right of the french translation. We offer therefore a sum of Fourty Pounds (£40.) for the reprint of our corrected translation of the 2 volumes of Descent of Man. This sum might have been larger if we were not bound to have Moulinié’s translation reviewed and amended, which care induces us to more as an equal expense of £40.—accorded to M. Barbier’s

Before getting the first sheet of the new edition printed, we think it our duty to inform you of the purpose and to declare us ready to have made all sorts of corrections and alterations you would choose to point out in our translations of this important work of your’s. We declare also our readiness to send you proof-sheets of the new edition if you should like to see them before printing. Moreover we tell you that the second edition will be printed in the same office and in same shape and paper as the first,7 and that we hope to attain to a still higher perfection as for the first edition. This second edition will not exceed 1500 or 2000 Copies.

Our translator Pozzi of the Emotions advances slowly, but he promises to work faster now, and to enable us to issue that book before June next.8

Waiting for your kind reply, we remain | dear Sir | Yours most obediently | C Reinwald & Co


See Correspondence vol. 20, letter from C.-F. Reinwald, 23 November 1872; neither CD’s reply nor his copy of Jean Jacques Moulinié’s translation of Origin (Moulinié trans. 1873) has been found.
Moulinié began his translation of Origin (Moulinié trans. 1873) using the fifth English edition, switched to the sixth English edition part way through, and incorporated the new seventh chapter of the sixth English edition as an appendix (see Correspondence vol. 20, letter from J. J. Moulinié, 1 January 1872). The translation had been disrupted by the Franco-Prussian war, which ended in May 1871, and by Moulinié’s illness in 1872. See Correspondence vol. 20, letters from C.-F. Reinwald, 13 September 1872, 17 September 1872, and 23 November 1872 and nn. 2 and 3.
Clémence Auguste Royer had produced three editions of a French translation based on the third English edition of Origin (Royer trans. 1862, Royer trans. 1866, and Royer trans. 1870). Reinwald published a new translation of the sixth English edition in 1876 (Barbier trans. 1876).
Reinwald had suggested Charles Frédéric Martins as a possible successor to Moulinié (see Correspondence vol. 20, letter from C.-F. Reinwald, 23 November 1872).
Moulinié’s mother was English, but has not been further identified (Correspondence vol. 15, letter from Carl Vogt, 23 April 1867).
Reinwald had published Moulinié’s translation of Descent in 1872 (Moulinié trans. 1872); a second edition, with revisions by Edmond Barbier, appeared in two volumes in 1873 and 1874 (Moulinié trans. 1873–4), and Barbier later produced a new translation from the second English edition (Barbier trans. 1881). Barbier was the French translator of John Lubbock’s Pre-historic times (Lubbock 1865 and Lubbock 1867) and his work on the origins of civilisation (Lubbock 1870 and Lubbock 1873).
The first and second French translations of Descent (Moulinié trans. 1872 and Moulinié trans. 1873–4) were both published in two octavo volumes.
In October 1872, Reinwald had proposed Samuel Jean Pozzi as the translator of Expression in preference to Moulinié, who was already ill (Correspondence vol. 20, letter from C.-F. Reinwald, 22 October 1872).


Recounts the difficulties in preparing the French translation of Origin: the 1870 war, the illness and death of J. J. Moulinié, the alterations and additions from the 6th English edition. Despite competition from Royer’s three editions, Reinwald is contemplating a new edition.

Descent, vol. 1, has almost sold out. Offers CD £40 for rights to reprint a corrected version of Descent.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles-Ferdinand Reinwald
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 176: 99
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8797,” accessed on 19 June 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21