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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C. F. Martins1   23 June 1873

Jardin | des Plantes | de | Montpellier. | Montpellier,

le 23 Juin 1873.

Mon cher Maitre,

C’est à Rome ou j’étais alors que j’ai reçu la lettre dans la quelle vous m’accusez reception de la Philosophie Zoologique de Lamarck.2 J’ai été bien frappé de voir combien les anciens chez les quels le developpement artistique etait trés Superieur au developpement Scientifique etaient pénétrés de l’influence des milieux Sur l’organisation des animaux. Les Centaures, les Tritons, les Nereides, la fable de Protée, les ailes de Mercure, celles de la Victoire et de l’Amour Sont la traduction artistique de vos idées et de celles de Lamarck sur l’action de l’eau et celle de l’air. J’ai surtout admiré deux Statues No 34 et 35 Braccio nuovo du Musée Chiaramonti au Vatican: elles representent deux Néreides montées sur des chevaux marins; mais chez ces chevaux les pieds sont changés en nageoires et au coude et au genou ils portent deux petites nageoires Supplementaires.3 Ainsi quand les anciens representent des animaux reels ils sont d’une exactitude admirable mais quand ils les transportent dans un autre milieu ils les transforment conformement à l’influence de ce milieu.

Mon Cours de cette année a eu pour objet la Zoologie medicale. Mon Adjoint le Dr Sicard4 a commencé par les animaux inferieurs je me Suis chargé des Vertèbres. Nous nous sommes efforcés de montrer comment les diverses classes du regne animal sont sorties les unes des autres.— Je crois que c’est la premiere fois qu’en France un Cours de Zoologie aura été conçu dans cet esprit. Les eleves Saisissent très bien ces idées qui leur facilitent le travail et expliquent en particulier pourquoi il y a des animaux inferieurs et de animaux Superieurs et pourquoi il y a une Science qui S’apelle l’anatomie comparée.

Veuillez agréer avec bonté mon cher Maître, l’hommage de mon respectueux devouement | Ch: Martins

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Appendix I.
CD’s letter to Martins has not been found. Martins had just published a new edition of Jean Baptiste de Lamarck’s Philosophie zoologique (Lamarck 1873), for which he had written a biographical introduction. CD’s copy is in the Darwin Library–Down.
The Braccio Nuovo gallery in the Museo Chiaramonti contains around a thousand Roman statues and Roman copies of Greek originals. For the two statues of Nereids (seagoddesses) riding marine horses, see Amelung 1903–56, 1: 48–9.
Henri Sicard.

Bibliography

Amelung, Walther. 1903–56. Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums. 3 vols. in 8. Berlin: Georg Reimer.

Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de. 1873. Philosophie zoologique, ou, Exposition de consideratinos relatives à l’histoire naturelle des animaux. New edition edited by C. F. Martins. 2 vols. Paris: P. Savy.

Translation

From C. F. Martins1   23 June 1873

Jardin | des Plantes | de | Montpellier. | Montpellier,

23 June 1873.

My dear Master,

It was at Rome, where I was at the time, that I received the letter in which you acknowledged receipt of Lamarck’s Zoological Philosophy.2 I was very struck to see how much the ancients, among whom artistic development was very superior to scientific development, were imbued with the influence of environments on animal organisation. Centaurs, Tritons, Nereids, the fable of Proteus, Mercury’s wings and those of Victory and Cupid are the artistic translation of your ideas and those of Lamarck concerning the action of water and of air. I especially admired two statues, No 34 and 35 Braccio nuovo at the Chiaramonti Museum in the Vatican: they represented two Nereids mounted on marine horses; but the horses’ feet are changed into fins and on the neck and knees they bear two small supplementary fins.3 Thus, when the ancients represent real animals, they are admirably precise, but when they transport them into another environment, they transform them in keeping with the influence of that environment.

My Course for this year was on the subject of Medical zoology. My Adjunct, Dr Sicard,4 has begun with the lower animals, and I have taken on the Vertebrates. We have tried to show how the various classes of the animal kingdom have arisen from one another.— I think that this is the first time that a Zoology Course in France has been conceived in this spirit. The students grasp these ideas very well, as they facilitate the work and, in particular, explain why there are lower and higher animals and why there is a science called comparative anatomy.

Please believe me, dear Master, yours very truly | Ch: Martins

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original French, see pp. 260–1.
CD’s letter to Martins has not been found. Martins had just published a new edition of Jean Baptiste de Lamarck’s Philosophie zoologique (Lamarck 1873), for which he had written a biographical introduction. CD’s copy is in the Darwin Library–Down.
The Braccio Nuovo gallery in the Museo Chiaramonti contains around a thousand Roman statues and Roman copies of Greek originals. For the two statues of Nereids (seagoddesses) riding marine horses, see Amelung 1903–56, 1: 48–9.
Henri Sicard.

Bibliography

Amelung, Walther. 1903–56. Die Sculpturen des Vaticanischen Museums. 3 vols. in 8. Berlin: Georg Reimer.

Lamarck, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de. 1873. Philosophie zoologique, ou, Exposition de consideratinos relatives à l’histoire naturelle des animaux. New edition edited by C. F. Martins. 2 vols. Paris: P. Savy.

Summary

CM and Henri Sicard have given what CM thinks is the first zoology course in France based on descent of species.

In Rome he was struck by ancient Greek statues of mythical figures which use the idea of environmental influence. Ascribes these ideas to both CD and Lamarck.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-8947
From
Charles Frédéric Martins
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Jardin des Plantes de Montpellier
Source of text
DAR 171: 61
Physical description
3pp (French)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8947,” accessed on 16 October 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-8947.xml

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

letter