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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. V. Carus   16 October 1867

39, Elsterstrasse, | Leipzig.

Oct. 16. 1867

My dear Sir,

On page 308 you mention the “mattee” as a plant including coffïne. I suppose it is the “arvore do mate”, Ilex paraguariensis.1

In the table on p 286 you give as the weight of the Call-duck (from Mr. Fox) 717 grains and 713 (below). I suppose the latter figure is a misprint; for this number used for calculating gives rather more than 130 in the last column (1000:130), while 717 gives 128, 5, that is almost 129.2

The sheet you kindly sent me I have received in time. Now there are still wanting pp. 337–411. Will I get them soon?3

I am, as you may believe me, really anxious to be able to read the second volume, you may trust it doesn’t give me much trouble to translate it. I learn so very much by it and I am thoroughly thankful to you for the way in which you here teach us all how to look on, and how to study, nature. May I venture to ask you to send me (if you can in any way spare it) a copy of the work when it is out? I shall always prefer to read the original, besides the treat of having a neat copy in my library, which is rather a pet of mine.

Believe me | My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Prof J. Victor Carus

CD annotations

End of letter: ‘Give pages in Vol. 2 **p. 181 [added ink] about Hybridism. | =Pangenesis=’ pencil 4


Carus was translating Variation into German. ‘Arvore do maté’: maté tree (Portuguese). CD commented on the chemical similarities of maté (Ilex paraguaiensis), tea, and coffee in Variation 1: 308.
See Variation 1: 286, a table giving the weights of the wing bones of various bird species as a proportion of the weight of the whole skeleton. In the first printing of Variation, the weight of the call duck’s skeleton is given first as 713 grains and later as 717 grains. In the second printing, 717 grains is given in both places (see Freeman 1977 for more on the differences in the two imprints). In the German edition, the weight is given as 717 grains (Carus trans. 1868, 1: 356). William Darwin Fox had sent CD a call-duck skeleton in 1855 (see Correspondence vol. 5, letter to W. D. Fox, 31 July [1855]).
Carus refers to proof-sheet ‘S’ (pp. 257–72) and to the final section of the first volume of Variation (see letter to J. V. Carus, 10 October [1867] and n. 2).
CD’s annotation is a note for his reply to Carus (see letter to J. V. Carus, 19 October [1867] and nn. 5 and 6).


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

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

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


Anxious to read the second volume [of Variation].

Appreciates "the way in which you [CD] teach us all how to look on, and how to study, nature".

Letter details

Letter no.
Julius Victor Carus
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 63
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5650,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

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