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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Gustav Jäger   3 February 1875

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Feb 3d. 1875

Dear Sir

I received this morning a copy of your work “contra Wigand”, either from yourself or from your publisher; & I am greatly obliged for it.— I had, however, before bought a copy & have sent the new one to our best Library, that of the Royal Socy.—1 As I am a very poor German sholar I have as yet read only about 40 pages, but these have interested me in the highest degree. Your remarks on fixed & variable species deserve the greatest attention; but I am not at present quite convinced, that there are such independent of the conditions to which they are subjected.2

I think you have done great service to the principle of evolution, which we both support, by publishing this work.— I am the more glad to read it, as I had not time to read Wigands great & tedious volume.—3

With my best thanks for the honour which you have done me, & with the greatest respect | I remain Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin

P.S If Herr Koch sent me the volume perhaps you will be so kind as sometime to give him my thanks.—4


A copy of Jäger’s In Sachen Darwin’s insbesondere contra Wigand (Darwin considered particularly contra Wigand; Jäger 1874), with CD’s signature, is in the archive of the Royal Society of London. CD’s annotated copy of the work is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 429–31). The publisher of the work was E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagshandlung, which was headed by Eduard Koch, and also published CD’s own works in German.
In his discussion of the species concept (Artbegriff), Jäger maintained that there were some species that were unchangeable, either persisting despite changing circumstances or dying out, but never giving rise to anything new (Jäger 1874, p. 5ff). Parts of this discussion are scored in CD’s copy (see Marginalia 1: 429–31).
The first volume of Albert Wigand’s Der Darwinismus und die Naturforschung Newtons und Cuviers (Darwinism and the natural science of Newton and Cuvier; Wigand 1874–7) was published in 1874. CD’s copy of the three-volume work is in the Darwin Library–Down. For more on Wigand’s critique of Darwin, see Montgomery 1988, pp. 94–7, and Junker 2011, pp. 235–73.
See n. 1, above.


Jäger, Gustav. 1874. In Sachen Darwin’s insbesondere contra Wigand. Ein Beitrag zur Rechtfertigung und Fortbildung der Umwandlungslehre. Stuttgart: E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagshandlung (E. Koch).

Junker, Thomas. 2011. Der Darwinismus-Streit in der deutschen Botanik: Evolution, Wissenschaftstheorie und Weltanschauung im 19. Jahrhundert. Norderstedt: Books on Demand.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Montgomery, William M. 1988. Germany. In The comparative reception of Darwinism, with a new preface, edited by Thomas F. Glick. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Wigand, Albert. 1874–7. Der Darwinismus und die Naturforschung Newtons und Cuviers. Beiträge zur Methodik der Naturforschung und zur Speciesfrage. 3 vols. Brunswick: F. Vieweg und Sohn.


Comments on GJ’s book [In Sachen Darwins ins-besondere contra Wigand (1874)]. Not convinced that there are species which are fixed or variable independently of the conditions to which they are subjected.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Gustav Jäger
Sent from
Source of text
Frau Dr Hildegard Jaeger (private collection)
Physical description
4pp (Facsimile)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9839,” accessed on 23 February 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23