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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   30 December [1846]1

Down Farnborough Kent

Dec 30th

My dear Sir

Would you be so kind as to gratify my curiosity, by directing some one in your Office to inform me how many copies of my Journal up to end of the current year have been disposed of.— I heard some months ago from Mr. Lyell, that you were pretty well satisfied with the Sale, which I assure you gave me hearty satisfaction.

Is it in your power, without very great trouble, to oblige me in another way, viz to send for me for a copy of the N. American Edition of my Journal;2 I applied to my Bookseller & he told me you alone could effect this. I, of course, would pay for it.—

I should like to have a copy, & am curious to see whether they have altered any part on Slavery or other subjects.—3

Pray believe me | My dear Sir | Yours faithfully | C. Darwin


Dated from CD’s entry in his ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 3, Appendix II): ‘4000 copies of new Edit of Journal sold at Jan. 1. 1847.’ The letter has a note, presumably by John Murray: ‘nearly 4000’.
Journal of researches US ed., published in two volumes by Harper & Brothers, New York, in 1846. CD did not own the copyright of his Journal after 1845 (Freeman 1977, p. 38).
There was no change from the English edition, see Journal of researches US ed. 2: 302–4. CD is referring to his remarks on slavery in Journal of researches 2d ed., pp. 499–500, and possibly to the passage where he criticised Americans, ‘with their boastful cry of liberty’ (p. 500).


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

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Journal of researches US ed.: Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle round the world: under the command of Capt. FitzRoy, RN. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1846.


Asks JM for information on sales of his Journal of researches and to procure for him a copy of the American edition. He is curious to see if the part on slavery has been altered.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42153 ff.10–11)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1039,” accessed on 13 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3