skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Carl Vogt   12 April [1867]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Ap 12.

My dear Sir

I thank you sincerely for your very obliging letter. I look at it as a very great honour that a naturalist whose name I have respected for so many years should be willing to undertake the translation of my book.2 But Herr Schweizerbart, who published the Origin of Species applied to me some time ago, & as he had persuaded Prof. Victor Carus to make the translation, I have agreed to his proposal.3 The book, I am sorry to say, is very large, viz 2 vols. large 8vo, with I suppose at least 500 pages in each vol.   Prof. Carus, though he has undertaken the translation informs me that he has much work on hand, & it is possible (though not probable) that when he hears (& I wrote to him on the subject yesterday) of the size of the book, & that several sheets will be printed immediately & sent to him, he may wish to give up the task.4 In that case nothing wd give me higher satisfaction than that Schweizerbart shd arrange with you, if that be possible, for a translation; for I have often heard of the fame of your excellent translations.5 My present work I greatly fear is of much greater length than value. Its publication has been long delayed owing to ill-health from which I still suffer though in a less degree. The entire book will be published next November, & then I will do myself the pleasure of sending you a copy.6 Permit me to add that I have lately read with extreme interest the English translation of your Lectures on Man.7

With the most sincere respect & with my best thanks I remain my dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin

P.S. I should very much like to possess a photograph of you if you will send me one; & I enclose one of myself in case you wd like to have it.—8


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Carl Vogt, 8 April 1867.
Vogt had offered to prepare the German translation of Variation in his letter of 8 April 1867.
CD refers to Christian Friedrich Schweizerbart, head of the firm that published the German translations of Origin (Bronn trans. 1860 and 1863), and Julius Victor Carus.
See CD’s ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 15, Appendix II). Variation was published in January 1868. Vogt’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for the first English edition of Variation (DAR 210:11. 33).
There is a lightly annotated copy of Vogt’s Lectures on man (C. Vogt 1864), a translation of C. Vogt 1863, in the Darwin Library–CUL (Marginalia 1: 824). See also letter to Edward Blyth, 23 February [1867] and n. 3.
CD may have sent a copy of a photograph of himself taken by Ernest Edwards during CD’s visits to London in November 1865 or April 1866 (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter from E. A. Darwin to Emma Darwin, 25 [November 1865] and n. 3), or a copy of one taken by his son William Erasmus Darwin in 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 14, letter from W. E. Darwin, 8 May [1866] and n. 10). Vogt’s photograph has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.


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.

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.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.

Vogt, Carl. 1863. Vorlesungen über den Menschen. Seine Stellung in der Schöpfung und in der Geschichte der Erde. 2 vols. Giessen: J. Ricker’sche Buchhandlung.

Vogt, Carl. 1864. Lectures on man: his place in creation, and in the history of the earth. Edited by James Hunt. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts.


Would be great honour to have CV translate Variation, but Schweizerbart has arranged for J. V. Carus to do it.

Has read CV’s Lectures on man [1864] with extreme interest.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Carl Vogt
Sent from
Source of text
Bibliothèque de Genève (Ms fr. 2188, ff. 300–1)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5499,” accessed on 27 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15