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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Armand de Quatrefages   21 January [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Jan. 21st

My dear Sir

I am sorry to hear that you have been ill, & that you should have had the trouble of writing to me. I thank you cordially for all your great kindness. The gentleman who wishes to translate my Book is M. Talandier, Professor of French at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. He was a procureur-general, & I imagine is an exile; but I hear on very good authority that he writes a remarkably good style, & is a very clever man.2 Should he not succeed in getting a Publisher, or for any reason change his mind, I will in that case venture to apply to you again. But I have no reason to doubt his success.

I have heard this morning from N. America that my Book is exciting considerable attention there amongst the naturalists. But I further hear that Agassiz is very savage at it.—3

With my most sincere thanks for all your kindness, I remain, with much respect. My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

P.S. How I should like to know whether Milne Edwards has read the copy which I sent him & whether he thinks I have made a pretty good case on our side of the question. There is no naturalist in the world for whose opinion, I have so profound a respect. Of course I am not so silly as to expect to change his opinion.—4

I did not understand in your former note whether your Lectures on Anthropology are published; but I shall soon know for I have sent to my Bookseller to procure them, if they are published.—5


Dated by the reference to a French translation of Origin (see n. 2, below).
Pierre Théodore Alfred Talandier had written to CD offering to translate Origin into French (see letters to Edward Cresy, 15 January [1860] and 20 January [1860]). CD had previously asked Quatrefages de Bréau whether he knew of anyone who might be willing to prepare a French translation (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to J. L. A. de Quatrefages de Bréau, 5 December [1859]). Talandier’s only published work was as co-author of a radical pamphlet, Lettre au Parlement et á la presse (London 1858).
CD corresponded with Henri Milne-Edwards about crustacean embryology and development when he was composing his monograph on Cirripedia, and his work in this area had had a great impact on CD (see Correspondence vol. 4 and Appendix II). As a token of his esteem, CD had dedicated Living Cirripedia (1854) to him. So far as is known, Milne-Edwards never wrote to CD about Origin. In 1867, he discussed the importance of CD’s theory for the development of general zoology and was generally positive, although he criticised aspects of the work, particularly the attempt to explain all species change on the basis of natural selection. See Milne-Edwards 1867, pp. 420–32.
Quatrefages de Bréau’s letter of 19 November 1859 has not been found, but see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to J. L. A. Quatrefages de Bréau, 5 December [1859]. Quatrefages de Bréau was appointed professor of the natural history of man at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle in Paris in 1855. His lectures on anthropology were published in Quatrefages de Bréau 1867–8.


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

Living Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Balanidæ (or sessile cirripedes); the Verrucidæ, etc. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1854.

Milne-Edwards, Henri. 1867. Rapport sur les progrès récents des sciences zoologiques en France. (Recueil de rapports sur les progrès des lettres et des sciences en France). Paris.

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.

Quatrefages de Bréau, Jean Louis Armand de. 1867–8. Anthropologie. Cours de M. de Quatrefages. Revue de cours scientifique 5: 366–9.


Discusses P. T. A. Talandier as possible translator [of Origin].

Comments on reception of book in North America and opposition of Louis Agassiz.

Asks about reaction of Henri Milne-Edwards.

QdeB’s lectures on anthropology.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Jean Louis Armand (Armand de Quatrefages) Quatrefages de Bréau
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.193)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2659,” accessed on 17 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8