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Darwin Correspondence Project

To R. F. Cooke   1 September [1875]1

Bassett | Southampton

Sept. 1.

My dear Sir

One line to thank you for your very kind note.— It was only “Climbing plants” which I wished to have with broad margins & I wrote to Clowes that I did not care about Var. under Dom.—2

I wish I understood more about Printing; as I cannot understand why a proof shd not be always printed with exterior margin wider & this wd be a very great convenience to author, & so in present case of Var. under Dom.

There will be very few corrections in this latter book, as I have resolved to read over only my new additions, & my son3 will look over the old parts, & I have instructed him to correct only downright errors.—

The corrections are heavy in “Climbing Plants”, & yet I deliberately went over the M.S & old sheets three times!!. I shall be very glad of Stereotypes of “Climbing Plants” for Appleton;4 but about Var. under Dom; it is very doubtful whether I can arrange with Orange Judd & Co, who have stereotyped Plates of 1st. Edit; but I am corresponding on subject.5

My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

P.S. | Please send by Post, marking on first page “from Ch. Darwin” a copy of Belt’s Nicaragua to

Professor Delpino





The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from R. F. Cooke, 30 August 1875.
The printer William Clowes & Sons had written to CD that Cooke had complained of the extra expense of printing the proofs of Climbing plants 2d ed. on larger paper (letter to R. F. Cooke, 29 August [1875]. Cooke explained to CD that he had asked for smaller paper for Variation 2d ed. as he did not know that CD himself had asked for larger and he was afraid of a mistake being made about the paper size in the final printing (letter from R. F. Cooke, 30 August 1875).
Francis Darwin.
D. Appleton & Co., CD’s US publishers, published an edition of Climbing plants in 1876.
Orange Judd & Co. had published a US edition of Variation in 1868. They did not publish it from stereotypes of the Murray edition, although they evidently made stereotypes later; the letter from George Thurber, 18–20 April 1868 (Correspondence vol. 16), indicates that they reset it to match their own preferred format. D. Appleton & Co. published the US edition of the second edition from John Murray’s stereotypes in 1876. No correspondence from CD on the subject has been found, but see the letter from D. Appleton & Co., 16 August 1875, where the writer noted that Appleton’s would be obliged to purchase Orange Judd’s plates.
For Federico Delpino’s interest in Thomas Belt’s The naturalist in Nicaragua (Belt 1874a), see the letter from Federico Delpino, 11 September 1875.


Climbing plants 2d ed.: The movements and habits of climbing plants. 2d edition. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Climbing plants: On the movements and habits of climbing plants. By Charles Darwin. London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green; Williams & Norgate. 1865.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Variation 2d ed.: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1875.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks RC for his kind note. It was only Climbing plants for which he wanted the proofs to have wide margins. Wishes he understood more about printing. It would be a great convenience to authors if exterior margins of proofs were broad.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Robert Francis Cooke; John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms. 42152 ff. 328–9)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10147,” accessed on 24 June 2021,

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