skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   9 January [1868]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Jan. 9th

My dear Sir

Mr. Dallas’ delay in making the Index is intolerable.2 He ought not, in my opinion to have undertaken the work.— It is no use my writing to him. A week ago or more he said he shd the next day send the first half to the Printers.3 Will you be so kind as to enquire, & then settle at once what had better be done. I am prepared to throw the Index overboard & publish at once without one, though it would be a great loss to the Book.— I finished last Revises of last pages on Nov. 15th—now nearly 2 months ago.— Will you be so kind as to write to Mr Dallas after enquiring at Printers?—

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S. I have been reading portions of Brehms great work on the Life of Animals, & it is excellent; I never read so amusing & interesting an account of the habits of Baboons in any other work whatever.— The woodcuts also are admirable.— I advise you to reconsider the question of publication & Translation.4 It might come out in Parts—& if well advertised, I shd be astonished if it did not sell largely.

Footnotes

The year is established by the reference to the index of Variation (see n. 2, below).
William Sweetland Dallas had been working on the index for Variation. On the delay to Variation caused by the preparation of the index, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 6 January [1868] and n. 11, and the letter from W. S. Dallas, 8 January 1868 and n. 3.
See Correspondence vol. 15, letter from W. S. Dallas, 26 December 1867. The printing firm was William Clowes & Sons.
CD’s annotated copy of the first four volumes of Illustriertes Thierleben by Alfred Edmund Brehm (Brehm et al. 1864–9) is in the Darwin Library–Down (see Marginalia 1: 69–71). It is cited extensively in Descent and Expression. On CD’s use of information from Brehm on the behaviour of baboons, see Descent 1: 51, 53, 78. CD had first encouraged Murray to publish a translation in his letter of 4 August [1867] (Correspondence vol. 15).

Summary

CD exasperated by Dallas’ delay in finishing index [for Variation]. "I am prepared to throw the Index overboard."

Thinks JM should reconsider publishing a translation of Brehm’s Thierleben. It is excellent and would "sell largely".

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-5781
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
John Murray
Sent from
Down
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 178–179)
Physical description
3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5781,” accessed on 20 July 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-5781.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16

letter