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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   15 November 1876

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Nov 15. 76

My dear Sir,

I am very well satisfied with the sale of my books on the whole.1 I am rejoiced about the Fertilisation as I did not expect that more than 6 or 700 would sell. I never supposed that such special treatises & climbing plants would go on selling. The only very bad point in your list is ‘The Expression of the Emotions’; & I am astonished at this, seeing how largely the book sells in Germany.2 I still believe that in the course of years the copies in hand will go off. Messrs Edwards have greatly improved the heliotypes for the Germany edit3

my dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S | How many copies do you mean to print of the Cross-Fertilisation book   I should think 1500 would be ample


Murray’s memorandum of the sale of CD’s main works at his November sale dinner is in DAR 210.11: 5. According to the list, which is dated 10 November 1876, Murray sold 1100 copies of Cross and self fertilisation; 175 of Journal of researches 2d ed.; 550 of Origin 6th ed.; 40 of Variation 2d ed.; 230 of Descent 2d ed.; 5 of Expression; 17 of Insectivorous plants; and 23 of Climbing plants 2d ed.
Expression was translated into German by Julius Victor Carus (Carus trans. 1872); a second edition was printed in 1874 (Carus trans. 1874), and a third in 1877 (Carus trans. 1877b). Three thousand copies of the German translation were sold by 1 February 1874 (Correspondence vol. 22, letter from J. V. Carus, 15 March 1874).
There is an envelope marked in CD’s hand, ‘Photographs sent to Mr Edwards Nov 1876’, in DAR 53.1: C121. Eduard Koch, Carus’s publisher, had complained about the quality of the heliotype illustrations to Expression (see Correspondence vol. 22, letter from J. V. Carus, 7 July 1874). They were produced by B. J. Edwards & Co. (see letter from B. J. Edwards & Co, 16 February 1876).


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

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

Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

Descent 2d ed.: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. London: John Murray. 1874.

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.

Journal of researches 2d 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. 2d edition, corrected, with additions. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1845.

Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

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


Is satisfied with sales of his books.

Did not expect Orchids to sell more than 600 or 700 copies.

Only bad item is Expression, which astonishes him, since it sells well in Germany.

Asks size of printing of Cross and self-fertilisation; thinks 1500 would be ample.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms. 42152 ff. 306–7)
Physical description
LS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10672,” accessed on 7 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24