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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Friedrich Rolle1   30 January [1863]2

Down. Bromley. Kent. S.E.

Jan. 30th.

Dear Sir

You must excuse me writing briefly, as I am much engaged and far from well. I thank you sincerely for your sketch of the progress of opinion on the change of species in Germany, which has interested me much.3 If you have any communication with Dr. Jaeger, be so kind as to present my compliments to him and say how glad I am to hear that he is on my side.4

Pray also remember me kindly to Dr. Weinland.5 I have read and been much pleased with the later parts of your work which seem to me well done.— You have used excellently Dr. Rütimeyer’s admirable memoir6

With my best wishes for your success, I remain, dear Sir, yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin


The original letter to Rolle has not been found. The text reproduced here is based on a copy made by Rolle.
The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Friedrich Rolle, 26 January 1863. On the transcription of the letter, there is a note by Rolle that states: ‘Von Herrn Ch. Darwin d. 2 Februar 1863’.
In his letter of 26 January 1863, Rolle discussed the reception of CD’s theory in Germany and Austria, and emphasised Gustav Jäger’s efforts to promote CD’s theory.
Rolle had mentioned David Friedrich Weinland as one of CD’s supporters in Germany (see letter from Friedrich Rolle, 26 January 1863).
CD refers to the third and fourth parts of Rolle 1863 (see letter from Friedrich Rolle, 26 January 1863 and n. 3). Rolle cited Ludwig Rütimeyer’s work (Rütimeyer 1861) in corroboration of CD’s theory (see Rolle 1863, pp. 126–32). There is an annotated presentation copy of Rütimeyer 1861 in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 718–26). See also Correspondence vol. 9, letter to Ludwig Rütimeyer, 5 December [1861].


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

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Rolle, Friedrich. 1863. Chs. Darwin’s Lehre von der Entstehung der Arten im Pflanzen- und Thierreich in ihrer Anwendung auf die Schöpfungsgeschichte. Frankfurt: J. C. Hermann.

Rütimeyer, Ludwig. 1861. Die Fauna der Pfahlbauten in der Schweiz. Untersuchungen über die Geschichte der wilden und der Haus-Säugethiere von Mittel-Europa. Basel, Switzerland: Bahnmaier’s Buchhandlung (C. Detloff).


Thanks FR for sketch of progress of evolutionary theory in Germany.

Compliments to Gustav Jäger.

Comments on FR’s book [Ch. Darwin’s Lehre (1863)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Friedrich Rolle
Sent from
Source of text
Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum, Frankfurt (SNG-Archiv: Malakol.: Nachlass Rolle)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3954,” accessed on 6 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11