To John Murray 17 March 
Down near Bromley Kent
Having heard from Mr Lyell that you feel inclined to publish a second edition of my Journal, I take the liberty of addressing you on the subject.1 Mr Lyell has shown you a copy of the agreement by which I am legally free to publish with anyone, and I am bound to Mr Colburn by no other claim: I could explain by word of mouth a transaction of such a nature on his part, that nothing should induce me to have any further business-transaction with him.2 It was entirely through Capt. FitzRoy, that our work was published by Mr Colburn.— I should propose to shorten a little, in a second edition, the geology & natural History & add something to my notices on the Fuegian savages &c &c; though I cannot add much, as I did not take many notes, leaving the subject to Capt. FitzRoy: I apprehend the corrected volume would be nearly its present size without the appendix perhaps a little smaller: I hope to derive advantage from the notes to a late German Edition.3 Some few woodcuts might be added if you thought it adviseable.
The only difficulty which I see in the way of a second edition, is my ignorance how many copies remain unsold,4 & how to ascertain this or how their purchase, if as I believe, they are few, could be negotiated:5 I should be most unwilling to enter into any communication with Mr Colburn, & I am sure, from past experience, I shd not manage it successfully.
Mr Colburn has not for a long time noticed my volume in his advertising lists; & even if 〈he〉 had done so, the channel is an indifferent one: many people, to this day, believe that my work is united to Captain King’s & FitzRoy’s
If I may at all judge from the opinion of scientific acquaintances, I should hope for a considerable sale: I may mention, that Capt. Basil Hall, long ago, urged me to publish a cheaper edition.— I shd be perfectly satisfied to see my Journal in your excellent Colonial Library, or published in any other manner by you, which you might think preferable.6 I beg to apologise for the length of th〈is〉 〈 〉 & I hope, whenever convenient to yourse〈lf〉 that I may hear your views on this subject.
I beg to remain | Sir | Yours faithfully | C. Darwin
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Murray, John (b)
- Sent from
- Source of text
- National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff.354–355)
- Physical description
CD has heard from Lyell that JM is inclined to publish a second edition of Journal of researches. His agreement with Henry Colburn leaves CD free to publish with anyone. Will have no further relations with Colburn. Discusses details of proposed revisions.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 841,” accessed on 1 June 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-841