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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Julius von Haast   17 July 1866

Glückauf near Christchurch

17 July 1866.

My dear Mr Darwin

I have to thank you very much for your letter of the 26th of Decbr last with the capital photograph but was very sorry to hear that you have been ill.1 Our mutual friend Dr Jos Hooker has since told me, that you are much better which news I was delighted to hear.2 A notice in the English newspapers announces the fact that we may soon expect a new work from your pen.3 It will give me infinite pleasure to study it.

Some time ago, when kept near the sources of the Rakaia in my tent by bad weather I have written some notes on the theory of the origin of species.— As soon as I have time I shall send them to you.4 Many thanks for your assistance on behalf of the Royal Soc; I shall wait patiently, till my turn comes.5 I am just writing a paper for the Geological S. of London on the glacier period of our West coast, with sections, in which I shall give some interesting details of that instructive region.6 I just returned from the West coast, where we buried my poor brother in law, George Dobson, a very promising young engineer & explorer, who has been murdered by a gang of robbers.7 Fortunately the wretches are now in safe custody; they have killed many people in a few months. You see the unfortunate thrust after gold brings along horrid crimes to our hitherto so peaceful New Zealand.

The interesting labours of Agassiz will without doubt interest you highly;8 glaciers after all as you pointed out long before played a great part in the physical geology of the globe.9

My report of the headwaters of the Rakaia, which is just being printed by the Govt. with numerous sections & sketches will make you aquainted with a highly glacialized region—10

My best wishes for the restoration of your health.

With [my truly] kind regards | believe me my dear Mr Darwin | ever yours very sincerely | Julius Haast.


CD had enclosed his photograph with his letter to Haast of 26 December [1865] (Correspondence vol. 13). He reported that he had been ill since April 1865.
On Joseph Dalton Hooker’s correspondence with Haast, see H. F. von Haast 1948.
CD’s publisher, John Murray, had advertised Variation in the Reader, 15 April 1865, p. 427, and again in the 1 August 1865 issue of the Publishers’ Circular, p. 386. Variation was not published until 1868.
Haast explored the area around the head-waters of the Rakaia river in the Southern Alps of New Zealand in March and April 1866 (see H. F. von Haast 1948, pp. 463–75). The notes on species have not been found. On Haast’s earlier support of Origin, see Correspondence vol. 11, letter to Julius von Haast, 22 January 1863.
In his letter of 26 December [1865] (Correspondence vol. 13), CD had agreed to support Haast’s candidacy for fellowship of the Royal Society, adding that Haast would probably not be elected for a year or two. See also letter to Julius von Haast, 5 May [1866].
Haast’s paper on the glacial deposits in the Southern Alps of Canterbury Province, New Zealand, was published in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society (J. F. J. von Haast 1867). On CD’s interest in the evidence from New Zealand on the Pleistocene glacial period, see Correspondence vol. 11, letter to Julius von Haast, 22 January 1863, and Correspondence vol. 12, letters from J. D. Hooker, 15 June 1864 and n. 10, and 2 December 1864 and n. 28. CD incorporated some of Haast’s observations in Origin 4th ed., pp. 442–3.
The circumstances of Dobson’s death are described in H. F. von Haast 1948, pp. 476–9.
Haast refers to Louis Agassiz’s expedition to South America from April 1865 to August 1866, a major objective of which was to find evidence of glaciation. CD discussed Agassiz’s theory extensively in 1866; see, for example, letters to Charles Lyell, 7 February [1866] and 15 February [1866].
CD had discussed the effects of glaciers in Journal of researches, pp. 279–88.
See n. 4, above. Haast’s report on the region was published by the provincial government of Christchurch in June 1866 (J. F. J. von Haast 1866; see H. F. von Haast 1948, p. 1092).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Haast, Heinrich Ferdinand von. 1948. The life and times of Sir Julius von Haast, explorer, geologist, museum builder. Wellington, New Zealand: privately published.

Haast, John Francis Julius von. 1866. Report on the head-waters of the Rakaia. Christchurch: government of Canterbury province.

Haast, John Francis Julius von. 1867. Notes on the geology of the province of Canterbury, N.Z., principally in reference to the deposits of the glacial epoch at the western base of the Southern Alps. [Read 19 June 1867.] Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society 23: 342–52.

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.

Origin 4th ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 4th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1866.

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.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks CD for photograph.

JvH will send his notes on origin of species;

he is now writing a paper on glacier period of the New Zealand west coast, and his account of the highly glaciated headwater region of the Rakaia River is being printed.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Francis Julius (Julius) von Haast
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 166: 9
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5158,” accessed on 27 November 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14