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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Alice Bonham-Carter to Emma Darwin   21 December [1864]1

Ravensbourne | Bromley S.E.

Dec. 21st.

Dear Mrs Darwin—

I have been hoping to call—(instead of which, I am going away) with a manuscript—a translation from an article written by (the German Professor of Geology) Cotta on Sir C. Lyell’s & Mr Darwin’s works2—& the translator—Mr Noel3 thought that Mr Darwin might like to read what he, Cotta, says of his views—for he seems to appreciate & apply them most correctly— The remarks upon the “Origin” begin at Page 86 not taking up more than 11 of the MS. sheets—so that perhaps Mr Darwin would not find them too long to look at himself— in spite of corrections & want of corrections Mr Noel thought of sending it to the Natural History Review4 or of asking Mr Lubbock5 to give his opinion on it first— Will you be so good as to send it back here to Elinor 6 when you have finished—as I shall be away for a week—& as Mr Noel would, for Prof. Cotta’s sake, be glad to have it published as soon as possible—

Believe me very sincerely yrs Alice Bonham Carter

Elinor hopes to call on Thursday


The year is established by the reference to Cotta 1865 (see n. 2, below), which was published in the first half of April 1865 (Publishers’ Circular 28: 200).
The reference is to Geology and history, by Carl Bernhard von Cotta (Cotta 1865). The book included a discussion of Charles Lyell’s work on human ancestry (C. Lyell 1863a), and a favourable commentary on Origin (see Cotta 1865, pp. 54–8, 60–75).
Robert Ralph Noel. The translation was evidently made from a German manuscript; Cotta’s book was not published in German.
The work did not appear in the Natural History Review, but was published in book form (Cotta 1865). A copy is in the Darwin Library–Down.
John Lubbock.
Elinor Mary Bonham-Carter was the sister of Alice Bonham-Carter.


Cotta, Carl Bernhard von. 1865. Geology and history. A popular exposition of all that is known of the earth and its inhabitants in pre-historic times. Translated by Robert R. Noel. London: Trübner & Co.

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.


Sends a translation by Mr Noel [not found] of C. B. von Cotta’s views on CD’s and Lyell’s work.

Letter details

Letter no.
Alice Bonham-Carter
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 241
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4722,” accessed on 29 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12