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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   10 September [1859]1

Down Bromley Kent

Sept. 10th.

My dear Sir

A friend objected to my title that word “Varieties” ought to stand before “Species”.— Another friend objected (but illogically) that “genera” & “orders” ought to be inserted.— This has led me to think that word “Varieties” had better be altogether omitted. The case of Species is the real important point; & the title, as now, is rather too long.— So if you do not object, I will omit word “Varieties”; but if on any account you do object, I do not care.—2

As it may save you a note, I will assume if I do not hear that I may omit the word. Otherwise in course of week or so, please let me have word “no”.—

Let me thank you again for your last note, & all your very satisfactory arrangements. | My dear Sir | Your’s sincerely | C. Darwin

I have corrected today last proof; but have lots of Revises to look over.—


Dated by the discussion of the title of Origin.
From CD’s comment, it would appear that the title of his book still included the words ‘An essay on the origin of species and varieties’, as in the proposal previously sent to Charles Lyell and to Murray (see letter to Charles Lyell, 28 March [1859]). CD had been advised to drop the expression ‘Abstract of an essay’ (letter to Charles Lyell, 30 March [1859]) and had decided to include the words ‘or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life’. The published title reads: ‘On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life’.


On title of Origin, suggests omitting word "Varieties" altogether if JM does not object. Last proofs corrected, but revises still to do.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42153 ff.20–21)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2488,” accessed on 19 April 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7