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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   14 June [1859]

Down Bromley Kent

June 14th

My dear Sir

The Diagram will do very well & I will send it shortly to Mr West to have a few trifling corrections made.1

I get on very slowly with proofs. I remember writing to you that I thought there would be not much corrections. I honestly wrote what I thought, but was most grievously mistaken. I find the style incredibly bad, & most difficult to make clear & smooth. I am extremely sorry to say, on account of expence, & loss of time for me, that the corrections are very heavy,—as heavy as possible.

But from casual glances, I still hope that later chapters are not so badly written. How I could have written so badly is quite inconceivable, but I suppose it was owing to my whole attention being fixed on general line of argument, & not on details. All I can say is that I am very sorry.—

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

P.S. | I have been looking at the corrections & considering them. It seems to me that I shall put you to a quite unfair expence.— If you please I shd like to enter into some such arrangement as following.— When work completed, you to allow in the account a fairly moderately heavy charge for corrections & all excess over that to be deducted from my profits, or paid by me individually.


William West was the lithographer used by John Murray.


Finds style [of Origin] incredibly bad; corrections are very heavy. Supposes it was due to his attention being fixed on general lines of argument and not on detail. Wishes to share expense of corrections.

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Murray, John (b)
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Darwin: Ms.42152 ff.43–44)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2469,” accessed on 22 January 2017,