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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Jules Michelet1   15 November 1872

Monsieur

On dit que l’on va faire un passage sous-marin, que le Détroit sera supprimé, et que les deux paÿs reconnaîtront enfin leur voisinage, et disons mieux, leur unité antique.2

Personne plus que vous, et les savans illustres qui vous suivent, n’aura contribué à créer ce passage, à rappeler notre voisinage et notre parenté de race et d’esprit

Cette dernière consiste surtout, selon moi, non seulement dans une observation plus exacte que celle des Allemands, mais dans une simplicité vigoureuse qui affranchit les grands esprits Anglais et Français des scolastiques qui retardent et souvent égarent l’Allemagne en mille choses. Vous et nous, nous allons au but.

Voilà pourquoi les vôtres et les nôtres ont frayé la voie à l’Europe.

Pour moi, quoique porté par mes études sur des voies differentes, je n’en admire pas moins votre méthode, et suis ravi de découvrir tant de liens entre les sciences de la nature et celles de l’homme

Je vous serre la main avec une admiration bien affecteuse. | J. Michelet

15 n. 72

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix I.
The Channel Tunnel Company was formed in January 1872 (The Times, 18 January 1872, p. 4). On the failure of this venture, see Gourvish 2006, pp. 4–7.

Bibliography

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

Gourvish, Terence Richard. 2006. The official history of Britain and the Channel Tunnel. London: Routledge.

Translation

From Jules Michelet1   15 November 1872

Sir

It is said that they are going to make a submarine passage, that the Channel will be eliminated, and that the two countries will at last acknowledge their proximity; let us put it better, their ancient unity.2

No-one will have contributed more to the creation of this passage, and to recalling our proximity and our kinship of race and of mind, than yourself and the famous men of science who follow you.

The latter kinship, in my opinion, principally consists both in a power of observation which is more precise than that of the Germans, and in a vigorous simplicity which liberates the great English and French minds from the scholastics who hold Germany back in a thousand ways, and often lead her astray. You and I get to the point.

That is why the likes of ourselves have beaten a new path for Europe.

For my part, even though I am led in other directions by my studies, I nonetheless admire your method, and am delighted to discover so many links between the sciences of nature and those of man

I shake your hand with most affectionate admiration. | J. Michelet

15 N. 72

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original French, see pp. 505–6.
The Channel Tunnel Company was formed in January 1872 (The Times, 18 January 1872, p. 4). On the failure of this venture, see Gourvish 2006, pp. 4–7.

Bibliography

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

Gourvish, Terence Richard. 2006. The official history of Britain and the Channel Tunnel. London: Routledge.

Summary

Darwin and his followers have connected France and England like the projected tunnel and have demonstrated that the French and English are more free than Germany from scholasticism.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-8685
From
Jules Michelet
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
unstated
Source of text
DAR 171: 174
Physical description
3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8685,” accessed on 24 September 2021, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-8685.xml

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

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