skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hermann Müller   15 February 1874


Feb. 15 1874.

My dear Sir

Many thanks for your very kind letter I received two days ago. The negotiation of the cheque enclosed in this letter has been effected at Lippstadt without any difficulty.1

My brother has indeed had the fullest success in investigating the economy of the South Brazil Termites and Melipona. I have had from him many wonderful letters about these subjects, and I shall be very glad to find the chief of his new discoveries published in Nature.2 Perhaps in this publication you can make use of the here-enclosed drawings sent me long time ago by my brother?

Your and my brothers consenting judgements of my “Anwendung etc” are of the highest value to me.3 My brother writes me about this essay: “Your conclusions are so clear, so closely connected, so convincing, that scarcely any doubt may remain about the correctness of your statements. The only scruple I met with is, whether really the transition to providing the larvae with honey and pollen may afford any considerable relief to the mother, in comparison of her providing them with living insects. The weight of the food to be procured, it seems to me, is of less importance than the facility of procuring it, and, in general, it would perhaps be of less difficulty to drag a single caterpillar into the hollow than to collect half the weight of honey and pollen.

—This, of course, is of no bearing upon your conclusions—the less, as by the new custom a new field still free of concurrence was opened.” In a later letter my brother doubts the correctness of my statement, that of Dasypoda hirtipes4 near Lippstadt the males, near Weilburg the females are predominant in number. My brother himself has observed that the males of some Brazilian bees are fond of other flowers than the females, and hence an erroneous opinion about the number of the two sexes may easily arise, when one observer has more occasion to observe the favourite flowers of the females, another observer, on the contrary, the favourite flowers of the males.—

I am greatly interested by the new edition of your descent of man; when it has appeared, I will read it in English, having just now only read the German translation.5

My dear Sir | yours sincerely | H Müller.




CD had sent Hermann Müller £4 13s. for his brother, Fritz Müller, from the profits of the English translation of his Für Darwin (F. Müller 1864, Dallas trans. 1869) on 12 February 1874; the letter has not been found, but see the letter to Fritz Müller, 13 February 1874. See also Correspondence vol. 21, letter to Fritz Müller, 25 September 1873.
See letter from Fritz Müller, [c. January 1874], and letter to Nature, 11 February 1874. Fritz’s letter was published in Nature, 19 February 1874.
Müller refers to his paper ‘Anwendung der Darwin’schen Lehre auf Bienen’ (Application of Darwinian theory to bees; H. Müller 1872).
The bee Dasypoda hirtipes is now D. altercator.
The second edition of Descent was published in 1874; the German translation of the first edition first appeared in 1871 (Carus trans. 1871).
The drawing is reproduced at 75 per cent of its original size.


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.


Feels CD’s and Fritz Müller’s judgments on his "Anwendung" essay [see 8313] are of highest value. Mentions some of FM’s comments.

Looks forward to second English edition of Descent.

Letter details

Letter no.
Heinrich Ludwig Hermann (Hermann) Müller
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 303
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9293,” accessed on 10 August 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22