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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Albert Gaudry   21 January [1868]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Jan 21—

Dear Sir

I thank you for your interesting essay on the influence of the Geological features of the country on the mind & habits of the ancient Athenians, & for your very obliging letter.2

I am delighted to hear that you intend to consider the relations of fossil animals in connection with their genealogy,;3 it will afford you a fine field for the exercise of your extensive knowledge & powers of reasoning. Your belief will, I suppose at present, lower you in the estimation of your countrymen; but, judging from the rapid spread in all parts of Europe, excepting France, of the belief in the common descent of allied species, I must think that this belief will before long become universal. How strange it is that the country which gave birth to Buffon, the elder Geoffroy & especially to Lamarck shd now cling so pertinaceously to the belief that species are immutable creations.4

My work on Variation &c under Domestication will appear in a French translation in a few months time, & I will do myself the pleasure & honour of directing the publisher to send a copy to you to the same address as this letter.5

With sincere respect | I remain dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Albert Gaudry, 11 January 1868.
CD refers to Georges Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon, Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, and Jean Baptiste de Lamarck. On the reception of CD’s work in France, see Stebbins 1988 and J. Harvey 1997.
A French translation of Variation was published in 1868 (Moulinié trans. 1868); the first volume appeared at the end of March (letter from C.-F. Reinwald, 26 March 1868). On the preparation of the translation, see Correspondence vol. 15. Gaudry’s name appears on the presentation list for the French edition (see Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix IV).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Stebbins, Robert E. 1988. France. In The comparative reception of Darwinism, edited by Thomas F. Glick. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

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


Thanks AG for his essay on geology and Athenian history [see 5784].

Comments on French rejection of evolution. "How strange that the country of Buffon, Geoffroy and especially Lamarck should now cling to species as immutable creations."

Variation will soon appear in French.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Albert-Jean (Albert) Gaudry
Sent from
Source of text
Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Milan (Library: Fondo Gaudry b. 7, fasc. 28, doc. 3)
Physical description
LS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5794,” accessed on 4 March 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16