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Darwin Correspondence Project

DCP-LETT-7329

From John Murray   28 September [1870]1

50, Albemarle St. | W.

Sept 28—

Dear Mr Darwin

I will cause 4 sets of fair sheets of your new book to be sent to you when printed off2

Clowes has orders to attend to your directions about clichés from the woodcuts.3 If I understand you aright you have promised Appleton fair sheets & clichés of cuts—(not stereotypes of the text of the book)4   In this I see no great harm

I return Cassells Bill, with a cheque for the amount £10"10"9.5 I have written to Dallas about Index6

You have produced a book wch will caused men to prick up what little has been left them of ears—& to elevate their eye brows   However it may be eventually judged it cannot fail, I think to be much read—& I think I may venture on an Edition of 2500—copies—

It is with a view to remove any impediments to its general perusal that I wd call your attention to the passage respecting the proportion of advances made by the two Sex in Animals.7 I wd suggest that it might be toned down—as well as any other sentences liable to the imputation of indelicacy if there be any. I cannot help thinking that in the passages above referred to you scarcely do justice to the females witness the advances of the she cat & mare. I know not whether further on in the book you refer to Parrots & the power not only of speaking, but of applying words to circumstances—showing that they understand the meaning of words—8 I have a Parrot of my acquaintance whose accomplishments wd amuse if they did not astonish you

I remain My Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | John Murray

Ch. Darwin Esqr.

Footnotes

1
The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Murray, 26 September 1870.
2
See letter to John Murray, 26 September 1870 and nn. 1 and 2.
3
The reference is to William Clowes & Sons. See letter to John Murray, 26 September 1870.
4
The reference is to D. Appleton & Co. See letter to John Murray, 26 September 1870 and n. 6.
5
Murray refers to the publishing firm Cassell, Petter & Galpin. See letter to John Murray, 26 September 1870 and nn. 3 and 7.
6
Murray refers to William Sweetland Dallas. See letter to John Murray, 26 September 1870.
7
Murray may refer to the discussion, ‘On preference or choice in pairing, as shewn by either sex of quadrupeds’ in Descent 2: 268–73. See the letter from John Murray, 10 October [1870] and n. 3.
8
CD briefly remarked on the imitative power of parrots (Descent 1: 44, 236); but he maintained that only humans had a large power of ‘connecting definite sounds with definite ideas’ (ibid., p. 54).

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-7329
From
Murray, John (b)
To
Darwin, C. R.
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50
Source of text
DAR 171: 378
Physical description
3pp

Summary

Various arrangements concerning the publication of Descent. "It will cause men to prick up [their] ears – & to elevate their eyebrows." JM thinks he will venture to print 2500 copies.

Suggests CD tone down as possibly indelicate a passage on proportion of advances made by the two sexes in animals.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7329,” accessed on 12 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7329

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