skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Georg von Seidlitz   22 April 1872

Dorpat [Tartu]

Ap. 22 1872


Your letters from the 1. and 10. of April ⁠⟨⁠h⁠⟩⁠ave caused to me a great joy.1 But I am very sorry to see, that the bookseller Köhler in Leipzig and his commissionaire in England have been very neglectfull in executing my orders; for already in July 1871 I sent by this way the copies of my work to you and to Prof. Huxley.2 I am much indebted to you for your kind intention of sending my book to the Royal and Linnean Societies, where it will be accepted, as comming from you, with greater interest than I could expect otherwise.3

I have intended peculiarly to demonstrate, that it is neither the direct influence of the exterior relations, (wh⁠⟨⁠ich⁠⟩⁠ Haeckel in his “Generelle Morphologie” ⁠⟨⁠raises⁠⟩⁠ to eminence) nor the “law of migration⁠⟨⁠”⁠⟩⁠ extended extremely by M. Wagner, which ⁠⟨⁠effects⁠⟩⁠ the transmutation of species, but exclus⁠⟨⁠ively⁠⟩⁠ natural selection [releited] upon inborn variability. (v. pag. 109–111, 205 (19), 211 (31))4

In Germany many philosophers are inclined to accept absolutely M. Wagners theorie of migration, and therefore it is needfull to restain her in just limits.5

You say that you intended to write to me on my book, but that you can’t remember, wether you did so.6 Nobody can judge better than you, if I may hope to have contributed a little to greater propagation in Germany of your luminous theorie and to combat the manifold misunderstandings ⁠⟨⁠and⁠⟩⁠ stupid oppositions. Therefore I should ⁠⟨⁠hav⁠⟩⁠e been very glad to see accomplished ⁠⟨⁠your⁠⟩⁠ kind intention; but before this time ⁠⟨⁠I⁠⟩⁠ did not receive another letter from you.

The literature compiled by me, is very imcomplete, and peculiarly in the English literature you will find many defects. Hitherto I have registrated supplements of more than 100 (most german) titles and many corrections. For instance Mr Carneri (philosopher), who figures between the adversaries, is in contrary a defender of your theorie, and his work “Sittlichkeit und Darwinismus” one of the best books induced by your “Origin of species”.7

Permit to me, dear Sir, to tell you how very much obliged to you I should be if I could hope that you will send me occasionally your photographical portrait.— My great veneration for the founders of the theorie of transmutation I have document⁠⟨⁠ed⁠⟩⁠ publicly in giving to my first born ⁠⟨⁠son⁠⟩⁠ the name of “Lamarck Darwin”.8

Accept, Sir, the expression of the respectful sentiments with which I have the honour to be | Your most obedient servant | G. Seidlitz

P.S. My father9 charges me to send to you his respectful salutations.


See letters to Georg von Seidlitz, 1 April 1872 and 10 April 1872.
The firm that acted as agent for K. F. Koehler Verlag in England has not been identified. CD had only just received two copies of G. Seidlitz 1871 (see letter to Georg von Seidlitz, 10 April 1872). Seidlitz also refers to Thomas Henry Huxley.
Seidlitz refers to Ernst Haeckel and Haeckel 1866, and to Moritz Wagner and Wagner’s law of migration or separation theory (see Wagner 1868b and Wagner 1870). The page numbers refer to G. Seidlitz 1871 and the numbers in parentheses refer to notes.
Wagner had argued that migration leading to geographic isolation was a necessary factor in the emergence of new species (see Wagner 1868b). For CD’s opposition to Wagner’s view, see Origin 6th ed., pp. 81–3, and Correspondence vol. 16, letter to Moritz Wagner, [April–June 1868].
Bartholomäus von Carneri’s work (Carneri 1871) explored the implications of Darwinian theory for moral philosophy. Carneri had sent CD a copy in 1871 (see Correspondence vol. 19, letter to Bartholomäus von Carneri, 17 April [1871]). For more on Carneri’s views on Darwinian theory, see Di Gregorio 2005, pp. 386–92.
Gerhard Karl Lamarck Darwin von Seidlitz.
Karl von Seidlitz.


Carneri, Bartholomaeus. 1871. Sittlichkeit und Darwinismus. Vienna: Wilhelm Braumüller.

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

Di Gregorio, Mario A. 2005. From here to eternity: Ernst Haeckel and scientific faith. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

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.

Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.


Discusses his book [Die Darwin’sche Theorie (1871)], in which he emphasises natural selection acts on inborn variation and is the exclusive cause of transmutation, in opposition to the theories of Haeckel and Moritz Wagner.

Letter details

Letter no.
Georg Karl Maria (Georg) von Seidlitz
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Dorpat Tartu
Source of text
DAR 177: 133
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8298,” accessed on 5 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20