some additional corrections, and a short historical preface, to Schweitzerbart.
How interesting you could make the work by EDITING (I do not mean translating) the work, and appending notes of REFUTATION or confirmation. The book has sold so very largely in England, that an editor would, I think, make profit by the translation.
CHARLES DARWIN TO H.G. BRONN. Down, February 14 .
My dear and much honoured Sir,
I thank you cordially for your extreme kindness in superintending the translation. I have mentioned this to some eminent scientific men, and they all agree that you have done a noble and generous service. If I am proved quite wrong, yet I comfort myself in thinking that my book may do some good, as truth can only be known by rising victorious from every attack. I thank you also much for the review, and for the kind manner in which you speak of me. I send with this letter some corrections and additions to M. Schweitzerbart, and a short historical preface. I am not much acquainted with German authors, as I read German very slowly; therefore I do not know whether any Germans have advocated similar views with mine; if they have, would you do me the favour to insert a foot-note to the preface? M. Schweitzerbart has now the reprint ready for a translator to begin. Several scientific men have thought the term "Natural Selection" good, because its meaning is NOT obvious, and each man could not put on it his own interpretation, and because it at once connects variation under domestication and nature. Is there any analogous term used by German breeders of animals? "Adelung," ennobling, would, perhaps, be too metaphysical. It is folly in me, but I cannot help doubting whether "Wahl der Lebensweise" expresses my notion. It leaves the impression on my mind of the Lamarckian doctrine (which I reject) of habits of life being all- important. Man has altered, and thus improved the English race-horse by SELECTING successive fleeter individuals; and I believe, owing to the struggle for existence, that similar SLIGHT variations in a wild horse, IF ADVANTAGEOUS TO IT, would be SELECTED or PRESERVED by nature; hence Natural Selection. But I apologise for troubling you with these remarks on the importance of choosing good German terms for "Natural Selection." With my heartfelt thanks, and with sincere respect,
I remain, dear Sir, yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.
CHARLES DARWIN TO H.G. BRONN. Down, July 14 .
Dear and honoured Sir,
On my return home, after an absence of some time, I found the translation of the third part (The German translation was published in three pamphlet- like numbers.) of the 'Origin,' and I have been delighted to see a final chapter of criticisms by yourself. I have read the first few paragraphs and final paragraph, and am perfectly contented, indeed more than contented, with the generous and candid spirit with which you have considered my views. You speak with too much praise of my work. I shall, of course, carefully read the whole chapter; but though I can read descriptive books like Gaertner's pretty easily, when any reasoning comes in, I find German excessively difficult to understand. At some FUTURE time I should very much like to hear how my book has been received in Germany, and I most sincerely hope M. Schweitzerbart will not lose money by the publication. Most of the reviews have been bitterly opposed to me in England, yet I have made some converts, and SEVERAL naturalists who would not believe in a word of it, are now coming slightly round, and admit that natural selection may have done something. This gives me hope that more will ultimately come round to a certain extent to my views.
I shall ever consider myself deeply indebted to you for the immense service and honour which you have conferred on me in making the excellent translation of my book. Pray believe me, with most sincere respect,
Dear Sir, yours gratefully, CHARLES DARWIN.
CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, [February 12th, 1860].