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Darwin Correspondence Project

From V. O. Kovalevsky   27 January 1874

Berlin | 27A. Potsdamerstrasse.

27 January 1874.

Dear Sir!

I have been absend for a couple of days and found Your very kind letter only yesterday upon coming back.—1 You are really too kind and I am ashamed of having given You this trouble with Maxwell’ Saturn,2 the memoir is in reality so seldom met, that even the President of the Paris Academy Mr Faye,3 presenting an asbtract upon another paper on Saturn said that he could not see the memoir of Cl. Maxwell anywhere, but only a short notice on it by the Astr. Royal Pr. Airy.4 But indeed this was too much of having made Your Son, whom I present my best thanks, write to Profess. Maxwell.—5

I have a good hope of beeing in England in the spring and to see You if Your health will allow Your receiving visitors

With my best thanks | Your very truly | W. Kowalevsky

P.S. My wife presents her best thanks to You and is really ashamed that my former letter led You into such trouble, she is very much obliged to Mr G. Darwin for having written to Cl. Maxwell.—6


Kovalevsky had been unable to find a work by James Clerk Maxwell on the rings of Saturn; CD had arranged to have it sent by his bookseller (Maxwell 1859; see letter to V. O. Kovalevsky, 24 January [1874] and n. 2).
Hervé-Auguste-Étienne-Albans Faye had been president of the Académie des sciences in 1872 (DBF).
George Biddell Airy had abstracted Maxwell 1859 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 19 (1859): 297–304.
CD had enclosed a short note written by Maxwell to George Howard Darwin, informing him of other work on the subject of Saturn’s rings (see letter to V. O. Kovalevsky, 24 January [1874] and n. 4).
Sofia Vasilyevna Kovalevskaya was investigating the form of the rings of Saturn (see letter from V. O. Kovalevsky, 20 January 1874 and n. 11).


DBF: Dictionnaire de biographie Française. Under the direction of J. Balteau et al. 21 vols. (A–Le Nain) to date. Paris: Librairie Letouzey & Ané. 1933–.

Maxwell, James Clerk. 1859. On the stability of the motion of Saturn’s rings. Cambridge: Macmillan and Co.


On obtaining Clerk Maxwell’s memoir on Saturn for his wife, Sofya.

Letter details

Letter no.
Vladimir Onufrievich Kovalevsky (Владимир Онуфриевич Ковалевский)
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 169: 96
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9257,” accessed on 14 July 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22