skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From R. F. Cooke   3 July 1875

50A, Albemarle Street, London, W.

July 3 1875

My dear Sir

You are to blame. You took such a desponding view of your new work that you made us over cautious & we printed but 1250 Copies, & lo & behold we have sold some 1700 Copies!!!.1

I have ordered Clowes to print off at once 1000 more copies, for fortunately we have kept the type standing.2

If you have detected any errors, let the printers have your corrections as soon as possible.

We have charged Appleton £50 for the Stereotypes, which is the same we did for the Expression, & this is very cheap, as this volume is nearly 3 sheets more.3

What about the enclosed note.4

Yours faithfully | Robt. Cooke

Chas. Darwin Esq


CD had warned his publisher, John Murray, that Insectivorous plants might ‘sell very poorly’ (letter to John Murray, 29 April [1875]). See also letter to R. F. Cooke, 29 June [1875].
Murray had requested that the printers, William Clowes & Sons, keep the text in type in case further copies were required (letter from John Murray, 1 May [1875]).
CD had negotiated the charges for stereotypes of Expression for his US publisher, D. Appleton & Co. (see Correspondence vol. 20, letter to R. F. Cooke, 7 August 1872). Stereotypes were prepared by making a mould of each page of type and using the mould to cast metal printing-plates. In an octavo book, sheets are folded three times to produce sixteen pages; so three extra sheets would produce forty-eight more pages.
The enclosure has not been found.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.


CD’s pessimistic view [of prospective sale of Insectivorous plants] is to blame for the small printing. Murray’s printed only 1250 copies and sold 1700. A thousand more have been ordered.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert Francis Cooke; John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50a
Source of text
DAR 171: 456
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10040,” accessed on 23 June 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23