CD should not be discouraged by the bulk of Variation. CD's suggestion to print technical details in small type is good.
Murray has sent MS to a "man of letters and good information" as an experiment to test its effect. Has no intention of throwing up publication.
My Dear Sir
I think you take too much to heart the amount of the bulk of your MS— I am by no means disheartened & do not contemplate at all throwing up the publication
Your suggestion of printing technical details in smaller type is a very good one & will relieve us of part of the dilemma
But before I return your MS to be marked with red I beg you to consent to the carrying out of an Experiment suggested by yourself viz—testing the substance of the MS by its effects on a man of Letters & good information—not a man of science & awaiting the impression made on him by it—
I send the MS. yesterday to such a person a friend of mine, in about a week I shall have his answer & will give you the result
I remain | My Dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | John Murray
The printer will send you rough proofs of the cuts, wch you may insert with their
titles in the places of the MS where they come in—in case this is not already done.
Ch Darwin Esq
- f1 5354.f1The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Murray, 8 January .
- f2 5354.f2The reference is to Variation. See letter to John Murray, 8 January  and n. 1. CD had expressed his annoyance about the length of his book to several correspondents; for his most recent comment, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 9 January .
- f3 5354.f3See letter to John Murray, 8 January .
- f4 5354.f4Murray's reader was John Milton, an accountant (A. Fraser 1996, pp. 16, 37--8).
- f5 5354.f5William Clowes & Sons was the firm printing Variation (see letter from John Murray, 2 January ).