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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Karl von Scherzer   14 May [1877]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

May. 14th

My dear Sir

I received M. Wagner’s essay’s, & suppose I ought to have written to you, but indeed I am often quite overwhelmed with letters to write.2

I wrote a long letter to M. Wagner about his views, with which I am sorry to say I cannot agree.— He does not offer any explanation, as far as I can see, of the endless beautiful adaptations throughout Nature.—3 Thanks for Büchners essay, which I will read if I can, but he writes difficult German.4 I have not received the grand Novara work.5

I am sorry to hear of your ill-health & hope that the Baths may do you good.—6

My dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Footnotes

The year is established by the reference to Wagner 1877 (see n. 2, below).
Scherzer had sent CD a two-part article by Moritz Wagner that was published in Beilage zur Allgemeinen Zeitung (Wagner 1877; CD’s copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL). It was later reprinted in a posthumous collection of Wagner’s essays (Wagner 1889, pp. 376–95). In 1876, Scherzer had sent copies of Wagner’s earlier essays (Wagner 1875; reprinted in Wagner 1889, pp. 282–342); see Correspondence vol. 24, letter to Karl von Scherzer, 22 September 1876 and n. 1.
See Correspondence vol. 24, letter to Moritz Wagner, 13 October 1876. In his copy of Wagner 1877, p. 161, CD double scored a passage in which Wagner stated that CD’s main objection to his theory was that it did not account for the many morphological adaptations of different species.
CD probably refers to Ludwig Büchner’s Die Darwin’sche Theorie von der Entstehung und Umwandlung der Lebewelt (The Darwinian theory of the origin and transformation of the living world; Büchner 1876). CD’s copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
Scherzer had offered to send CD the complete series of volumes from the Novara expedition (Novara exedition 1861–75; see Correspondence vol. 24, letter to Karl von Scherzer, 24 December 1876). He had previously sent CD the reports on anthropology (Weisbach 1867), ethnography (Friedrich Müller 1868), and craniology (Zuckerkandl 1875); see Correspondence vol. 15, letter from Karl von Scherzer, 21 November 1867, and Correspondence vol. 24, letter to Karl von Scherzer, 24 December 1876. CD also received a copy of the geological report from its author (Hochstetter 1864–6; see Correspondence vol. 16, letter from Ferdinand von Hochstetter, 26 March 1868). CD’s copies of these works are in the Darwin Library–CUL.
Scherzer planned to go to the hydropathic establishment at Sudbrook Park, near Ham, Surrey (see Correspondence vol. 24, letter to Karl von Scherzer, 24 December 1876 and n. 3).

Bibliography

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

Hochstetter, Ferdinand von. 1864–6. Reise der österreichischen Fregatte Novara um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859 unter den Befehlen des Commodore B. von Wüllerstorf-Urbair. Geologischer Theil. Vol. 1 (part 1) Geologie von Neu-Seeland. Vol. 2 (part 1) Geologische Beobachtungen. Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei.

Novara expedition. 1861–75. Reise der österreichischen Fregatte Novara um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859 unter den Befehlen des Commodore B. von Wüllerstorf-Urbair. 9 vols. in 19. Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei.

Wagner, Moritz. 1875. Der Naturproceß der Artbildung. Das Ausland, 31 May 1875, pp. 425–8; 7 June 1875, pp. 449–52; 14 June 1875, pp. 473–5; 21 June 1875, pp. 490–3; 28 June 1875, pp. 513–16; 19 July 1875, pp. 570–5; 26 July 1875, pp. 589–93.

Wagner, Moritz. 1877. Naturwissenschaftliche Streitfragen. Beilage zur Allgemeinen Zeitung (Augsburger), 20 April 1877, pp. 1669–71, and 21 April 1877, pp. 1690–2.

Wagner, Moritz. 1889. Die Entstehung der Arten durch räumliche Sonderung. Basel: Benno Schwabe.

Weisbach, A. 1867. Reise der österreichischen Fregatte Novara um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859 unter den Befehlen des Commodore B. von Wüllerstorf-Urbair: Anthropologischer Theil. Zweite Abtheilung, ‘Körpermessungen’. Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei.

Zuckerkandl, E. 1875. Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte Novara: 1. Abtheilung: Cranien der Novara-Sammlung. Vienna: Carl Gerold’s Sohn.

Summary

Received Moritz Wagner’s essays [Das Ausland (May 1875)] and sent him a long letter [10643] disagreeing with his views because they do not explain adaptation.

Thanks for Büchner’s essay [Die Darwin’sche Theorie, 4th ed. (1876)].

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-10961
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
Karl von Scherzer
Sent from
Down
Source of text
Uppsala University Library: Manuscripts and Music (Waller Ms gb-00526)
Physical description
2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10961,” accessed on 18 September 2021, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-10961.xml

letter