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Letter 2592

Darwin, C. R. to Gray, Asa

21 Dec [1859]

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    Would welcome American edition of Origin.


Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 21

My dear Gray

I have just received your most kind, long & valuable letter.— I will write again in a few days, for I am at present unwell & much pressed with business.— To day's note is merely personal. I shd for several reasons be very glad of an American Edition; I have made up my mind to be well abused; but I think it of importance that my notions shd be read by intelligent men, accustomed to scientific argument though not naturalists. It may seem absurd but I think such men will drag after them those naturalists, who have too firmly fixed in their heads that a species is an entity.— The 1st Edit of 1250 copies was sold on first day, & now my Publisher is printing off as rapidly as possible 3000 more copies.— I mention this solely because it renders probable a remunerative sale in America.— I shd be infinitely obliged if you could aid an American Reprint; & could make, for my sake & Publisher's, any arrangement for any profit.— The new Edit. is only Reprint; yet I have made a few important corrections. I will have the clean sheets sent over in a few days of as many sheets as are printed off & the remainder afterwards, & you can do anything you like.— If nothing there is no harm done. I shd be glad for the new Edit to be reprinted, & not the old.—

In great haste & with hearty thanks. | Yours' very sincerely | C. Darwin

I will write soon again

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2592.f1
    Gray's letter has not been found, but see letter from J. D. Hooker, [20 December 1859]. CD sent Gray a copy of Origin in November 1859 (letter to Asa Gray, 11 November [1859]).
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    f2 2592.f2
    Given that the United States did not recognise foreign copyright, Gray had offered to negotiate on CD's behalf with a Boston publisher, Ticknor and Fields, for an authorised American edition of Origin (see letter to John Murray, 22 December [1859]. He soon learned, however, that two New York publishing firms were already planning to publish the work, one of which, D. Appleton and Company, did so in mid-January 1860. See Dupree 1959, pp. 270–2, and Freeman 1977, p. 85.
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    f3 2592.f3
    The Appleton edition of Origin was taken from the uncorrected first English edition (Freeman 1977, p. 83).
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