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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. J. Moulinié   23 October [1869]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent.

Oct. 23d

My dear Sir

My Book will not be published for a very considerable time, but the Publishers wished & insisted on inserting a notice.—2

I shall in all probability be delighted if you will translate my new Book, when ready. But I am as yet quite ignorant on the subject, yet it strikes me that I ought to receive some payment from the Publisher in Paris for the right of Translation; & I intend to make enquiries whether this is ever done; but subject to this doubt, I repeat that I shall be very happy if you will undertake the Translation.—3

Can you procure for me information on one point: if I give the right of Translation for the first edition, & then make considerable corrections & additions to future editions, am I precluded from giving the right of Translation to some fresh publisher of such new & corrected edition? I ask, because I think I have been badly treated by M. Masson & Madelle C. Royer (for whom I took great trouble); they have just brought out a 3d. French Edit. of my Origin without informing me; consequently the numerous corrections & additions in the 4th & 5th English editions are all lost.4 Under these circumstances I shd. much wish for a new Edition of the Origin in France, not including Madelle Royer’s Preface (with a second one made as injurious to me as she could) & which first Preface I have been assured has injured the circulation in France.—5 I believe in half a years time or in a whole year it wd answer to any publisher to bring out a corrected French edition, if it is legal in France, or in Belgium.— Pray turn this in your mind; & I wd gladly give you such right of Translation, & inform M. Masson of my motives.—6

My dear Sir— | Yours sincerely | Ch Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. J. Moulinié, 20 October 1869.
CD had also inquired about payment from his German publisher (see letter to J. V. Carus, 22 October [1869]).
The references are to Clémence Auguste Royer and Victor Masson and to Royer trans. 1870. CD had evidently already seen a copy of the book and written to Masson informing him that a fifth edition of Origin had appeared (see letter from Victor Masson, 29 September 1869). CD’s copy of Royer trans. 1870 is in the Darwin Library–Down House.
CD probably refers to comments such as the ones he received from Edouard Claparède about the first edition of Royer’s translation of Origin (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from Edouard Claparède, 6 September 1862). In the preface to Royer trans. 1870, Royer had criticised CD’s hypothesis of heredity, pangenesis, claiming that it had ‘done wrong’ to his theory of transmutation by natural selection (quoted in Harvey 1997, p. 98).
No letter to Masson has been found, but see the letter to John Murray, 8 November [1869]. Moulinié’s translation of Origin 6th ed. appeared in 1873 (Moulinié trans. 1873).


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

Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

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.


Would be delighted to have JJM translate new book [Descent].

Can CD legally bring out new edition of Origin in France with new publisher? Has been ill-used by V. Masson and C. Royer. Wants edition without Royer’s preface.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Jean Jacques Moulinié
Sent from
Source of text
Bibliothèque de Genève (Ms. suppl. 66, ff. 11–12)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6955,” accessed on 5 August 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17