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Letter 9157

Darwin, C. R. to Darwin, G. H.

20 Nov 1873


CD is looking for editorial assistance in preparing a new edition of Descent, and inquires whether GHD might be interested in taking on such a tedious job.


Nov 20. 1873

My dear George

I have got to prepare a new ed. of the Descent, & in order to savemy time I have been enquiring about literary & scientific men whowd undertake the work specified below—f1

Before settling with any one I have thought that I wd inform you,as your mother thought that possibly you wd like to undertake it;that is if your health & other occupations permit you.f2 I shd likeyour assistance better than that of any one; but I shd be greatly vexedif you undertook it against your better judgment.

It will be a tedious job. I shall have to modify & add much.Now I wish to write withoutthe least care of style, attending only to the sense, & to have thewords & arrangement of my sentences (when copied out) corrected. Thewhole book wd have to be gone through, on account of littlecorrections here & there inserted, which wd all require some considerationin regard to style & to what goes before & comes after. The book hasbeen so often corrected that I do not think it likely that many of theold sentences are faulty. The numerical references to the foot-notes& wood-cuts wd have to be corrected, as new ones will be introduced.If the pages get altered the Headings will have to be attended to. Iwd just glance over any corrections to my additions, & then sendthe whole to press, & I wish not to see the proof sheets, but havethem corrected for me. I apprehend there wd only rarely be occasionfor second proofs— So you see it is a considerable job, & take 2 or3 days before you decide—

The whole work wd be far more satisfactory to me if you willlet me pay you. Mr Batesf3 who does such work tells me that 30 guineas wd be fair payment for correcting the book if it were a newone; there will be less labour as it is old in one way, & more onaccount of the additions, & therefore I shd like to pay 40 gs.

If you agree, keep this letter as a mem of what is to be done yoursaffectionately | Ch. Darwin

DAR 210.1: 17



See letter to A. R. Wallace, 17 November 1873, and letter fromA. R. Wallace, [19 November 1873].
George Howard Darwin had been suffering with stomach problems (seeletter from G. H. Darwin, [1 October 1873]); he was a fellow ofTrinity College, Cambridge, working on geodesy (ODNB).
Henry Walter Bates.
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