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
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.
- Letter no.
- Charles Robert Darwin
- John Murray
- Sent from
- Source of text
- National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff.354–355)
- Physical description