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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Martin Beckhard   10 February [1878]1

Down. | Beckenham. Kent.

Feb 10th.

Dear Sir.

I thank you very sincerely for your most kind letter & present of the two works of Geiger.—2 I have known his name for some time, though I have never read a word of his writings—   I will now thanks to your kindness, endeavour to do so before very long; but I labour under the great disadvantage of reading German with extreme slowness, & as my health is weak I am utterly unable to read one tenth of the books, published by your wonderful countrymen, which I wish to read & which I ought to read.

With sincere thanks. | Believe me | Dear Sir. | Yours faithfully— | Ch. Darwin.


The year is established by a note in the copyist’s hand.
Beckhard probably sent Lazarus Geiger’s Zur Entwickelungsgeschichte der Menschheit (On the developmental history of mankind; Geiger 1871) and Der Ursprung der Sprache 2d ed. (The origin of language; Geiger 1878). A copy of Geiger 1871 is in the Darwin Library–Down. Geiger used the colour vocabulary of ancient cultures to support his theory of language development; for an earlier reference to Geiger’s work, see Correspondence vol. 25, letter from Ernst Krause, 14 July 1877.


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

Geiger, Lazarus. 1871. Zur Entwickelungsgeschichte der Menschheit. Vorträge. Stuttgart: Verlag der J. G. Cotta’schen Buchhandlung.


Thanks him for works by Lazarus Geiger [probably Zur Entwickelungsgeschichte der Menschheit (1871)

and Der Ursprung der Sprache, 2d ed. (1878)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Martin Adolf (Martin) Beckhard
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 73
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11349,” accessed on 22 September 2021,