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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. S. Dallas   9 June 1868

59 Burton Crescent | W.C.

9 June 1868.

My dear Sir

Your letter of the 2d. Inst. enclosing Fritz Müller’s remarks reached me only this morning, my son having I suppose, got tired of calling at the Museum in my absence & finding no letters, seems to have omitted the form for a day or two which will account for the delay.—1 I hope you have not been anxious about it.—

Müller’s alterations & additions are indeed very scanty, but still enough to justify the statement that the work has “additions & corrections by the author”—

We have got so far into the year now that I fear I can do but little at present to the translation & I shall be so pressed for the next two months, that I think it will be better to let the translation stand over until I can give my undivided attention to it.— The whole business, translation & printing ought not to take more than a month, so that if we begin in September the book can easily be out in the early part of November, which, I should say, with Mr. Murray,2 would be a much better time for its publication than the middle of the holiday time at which it would appear if I could push forward with it at once.—

I am glad to hear that the Index to your book is looked upon as a good one.—3 It is some little gratification to learn that this is the case, although even if my name was connected with it, the honour would be rather like that of some ragged street urchin riding behind the King’s coach.—

The progress of the work itself must be very gratifying to you,—five translations in so short a time is indeed great progress.—4

You have no doubt seen Häckel’s book, which strikes me as being, although rather speculative one of the most remarkable books of our time.— Would the Ray Society publish a translation of it do you think?5

With best wishes for your health & continued progress

Believe me | Your’s very truly | W. S. Dallas

C. Darwin Esq


CD’s letter to Dallas of 2 June 1868 has not been found; see, however, the letter to Fritz Müller, 3 June 1868. Müller’s remarks concerned corrections and additions for Dallas’s English translation of his Für Darwin (F. Müller 1864, W. S. Dallas trans. 1869; see letter from W. S. Dallas, 22 February 1868, and letter from Fritz Müller, 22 April 1868). Dallas had three sons old enough to be collecting post for him: John, William Liscombe, and James. Dallas usually wrote to CD from York, where he was the curator of the museum of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society. Burton Crescent is in London.
John Murray was CD’s publisher.
Dallas had made the index to Variation.
On the five translations or editions of Variation, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 21 May [1868] and n. 12.
Dallas refers to Ernst Haeckel and his Generelle Morphologie (Haeckel 1866). The Ray Society was established in 1844 to publish important works of natural history that were unlikely to prove commercially profitable (Curle 1954, p. 2). No translation was undertaken.


Curle, Richard. 1954. The Ray Society: a bibliographical history. London: Ray Society.

Haeckel, Ernst. 1866. Generelle Morphologie der Organismen. Allgemeine Grundzüge der organischen Formen-Wissenschaft, mechanisch begründet durch die von Charles Darwin reformirte Descendenz-Theorie. 2 vols. Berlin: Georg Reimer.

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


F. Müller’s corrections warrant stating that the English translation has "additions and corrections by the author".

Is gratified to hear his index [to Variation] is considered a good one.

Ernst Haeckel’s book [Generelle Morphologie (1868)], though speculative, strikes him as "one of the most remarkable books of our time".

Letter details

Letter no.
William Sweetland Dallas
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Burton Crescent, 59
Source of text
DAR 162: 21
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6238,” accessed on 23 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16