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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Edouard Claparède1   [c. 16 April 1862]2

Dear Sir

I thank you sincerely for sending me your excellent Review;3 & for the generous & most kind manner in which you have spoken of my views.— I have read a great many critiques & abstracts of my Book; but I cannot remember one written with so much vigour & clearness & with so full an appreciation of the bearing of all the leading points. It is admirably done; & could have been so done only by one who entered on the subject with spirit, as well as with knowledge.—4 I have been particularly struck by the eloquence of the latter portion of your article.—5 You will have helped much in spreading in France sound views (as I hope & believe they are) on the descent and modification of species; & I have been told that my views were more unpopular in France even than in England; in Germany naturalists are beginning with some rapidity to adopt them.—6

Pray accept my sincere thanks & respects & believe me Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully


The recipient is identified by CD’s description of the review, which corresponds to Claparède 1861 (see nn. 3–5, below).
The date is conjectured from the relationship to the letter to C. E. Brown-Séquard, 16 April [1862] (see n. 3, below), and to the letter from Edouard Claparède, 6 September 1862.
Claparède 1861. See letter to C. E. Brown-Séquard, 16 April [1862] and n. 5. There is an annotated copy of the review in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
In the letter to George Bentham, 15 April [1863] (Correspondence vol. 11), CD singled out Claparède’s review of Origin as one of the best, reporting that it was ‘important as coming from so good an observer, as Claparède.’
In the first part of his review, Claparède described the main tenets of CD’s theory of natural selection, showing how the theory solved a number of problems in natural history; the latter part discussed CD’s responses to possible objections to the theory.
On the reception of natural selection in Germany, see, for example, Correspondence vol. 9, letter from Hugh Falconer, 23 June 1861, and letter to John Murray, 10 September [1861].


Claparède, Edouard. 1861. M. Darwin et sa théorie de la formation des espèces. Revue Germanique Française & étrangère 16: 523–59; 17: 232–63.

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

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.


Thanks correspondent for his excellent review [of French edition of Origin (1862)], which he feels will help the spread of his views in France.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Jean Louis René Antoine Edouard (Edouard) Claparède
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 96: 17
Physical description
Adraft 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4371,” accessed on 25 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10