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Darwin Correspondence Project

From A. B. Meyer   24 November 1869

Zimmerstrasse 77 | Berlin

24. Nov 1869

Dear Sir

I have just received your kind letter of Nov. 20. with a copy of the list of your works and papers and the sketch of your life and beg to offer you my thanks for the same.1

The editor of the papers in question wishes to insert as frontispice your photograph as well as Mr. Wallace’s, a wish that I approve highly.2 If you are inclined to consent to this—and I hope you do—I should think it best that the photographs should be taken in England from the original negatives and care being taken the size of each be the same. But perhaps you will not object to have your photograph taken with Mr Wallace in one picture, and if this idea meets your approval you might perhaps carry it out when you go to London at Christmas time or earlier if possible. At all events I shall be very glad if you will arrange about the matter with Mr. W., to whom I also prefer the same request today.

500 copies will be required and I shall of course bear the expense, although I do not know to what it will amount.

Mr. W. also sent me a list of his papers and a sketch of his life.

I willingly accept your kind offer to send a copy of your and Mr W’s paper, which I am about to translate, for the copy I am now using does not belong to me.3

I hope the translation of Mr. W’s work is come to hand.4 I took the liberty of enclosing a new paper of mine, concerning the influence of the par vagum on the heart, which you will be kind enough to accept.5

Before leaving Europe I shall certainly follow your advice and examine a few caves, for instance in Belgium and those near the Rhine and hope when in the tropics to be able to make use of the knowledge I shall there obtain.6

On Pag. 50 of your paper: “on the variation etc” you quote the “dancing rock-thrush of Guiana”. I do not know if that is another title for the “cock of the rock”, the Rupicola aurantia (crocea?), which I believe is meant by it.7 Please let me know.

Awaiting a favourable answer in respect of the photographies | I am | Yours very faithfully | Dr Adolf Bernhard Meyer

Charles Darwin Esq

CD annotations

6.1 I took … heart, 6.3] triple scored blue crayon
8.3 the Rupicola aurantia (crocea?),] double scored blue crayon
8.3 Rupicola aurantia] underl blue crayon


CD’s letter to Meyer has not been found. For the information that Meyer requested, see the letter from A. B. Meyer, 16 November 1869.
No photograph of CD or Alfred Russel Wallace is included in Meyer 1870; there is no frontispiece.
The reference is to C. Darwin and Wallace 1858.
Meyer had sent CD a copy of Wallace 1869c; see the letter from A. B. Meyer, 16 November 1869.
Meyer refers to his short book Das Hemmungsnervensystem des Herzens, Kritisches und Experimentelles (Meyer 1869b). The par vagum is now called the pneumogastric nerve.
The letter with CD’s advice has not been found; however, CD had advised another traveller to look for fossil bones in caves in the Malayan Archipelago; see Correspondence vol. 14, letter to Cuthbert Collingwood, 16 February [1866]. Meyer was soon leaving for south-east Asia (see letter from A. B. Meyer, 16 November 1869).
Meyer refers to C. Darwin and Wallace 1858. Rupicola aurantia (now R. rupicola) is known as the Guianan cock-of-the-rock; see also Correspondence vol. 15, letter from J. V. Carus, 18 January 1867. In Descent 2: 87, CD referred to this species by the name R. crocea.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 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.

Meyer, Adolf Bernhard. 1870. Charles Darwin und Alfred Russel Wallace. Ihre Ersten Publicationen über die ‘Entstehung der Arten’ nebst einer Skizze Ihres Lebens und einem Verzeichniss Ihrer Schriften. Erlangen: Eduard Besold.


Wants to arrange a joint photograph of CD and Wallace for a publication on their lives and works.

Letter details

Letter no.
Adolf Bernhard Meyer
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 167
Physical description
ALS 3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7008,” accessed on 14 April 2024,

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