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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   10 July 1880

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

July 10 1880

My dear Sir

I have received Revises of the 2 first sheets of my book, & I now want to beg a little advice. The book, I believe to possess some value, & I shd. expect for some years a few copies would be sold.— I shall give away about 40 or 50 copies.— Now had 750 or 1000 copies better be printed off? The book will cost me a good deal & I do not want to waste more money than can be avoided. It would, however, be a pity if in the course of a year or two or three copies could not be bought.— Can you give me an idea of cost of paper & printing off of 250 copies?1

Secondly, before long an Index, (& I shd. wish a good one to be made) must be thought of— Can you find an Index-maker & arrange about fair remuneration for me?2

I will order a set of sheets for Index-maker, & 2 other sets for German & perhaps French Translations.3 I enclose a few instructions about making Index.—

Pray believe me | My dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


CD was correcting proof-sheets of Movement in plants; he expected to pay the initial cost of publication (see letter to R. F. Cooke, 16 July 1880).
The indexer was Matilda Smith; an entry in the John Murray copies ledger (National Library of Scotland, John Murray Archive & Publishers’ Collections, MS.42733) recorded £8 paid to ‘Mrs Smith for indexing The power of movement in plants’.
The German translation of Movement in plants was made by Julius Victor Carus (Carus trans. 1881); the French translation was made by Édouard Heckel (Heckel trans. 1882).


Carus, Julius Victor, trans. 1881. Das Bewegungsvermögen der Pflanzen. By Charles Darwin. (German translation of Movement in plants. Vol. 13 of Charles Darwin’s gesammelte Werke.) Stuttgart: E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagshandlung (E. Koch).

Heckel, Édouard, trans. 1882. La faculté motrice dans les plantes. By Charles Darwin. (French translation of Movement in plants.) Paris: C. Reinwald.

Movement in plants: The power of movement in plants. By Charles Darwin. Assisted by Francis Darwin. London: John Murray. 1880.


Asks advice on size of printing for Movement in plants. Expects it to sell a few copies for some years. Asks price of paper and of printing of 250 copies. Sends instructions for the index.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms. 42152 ff. 370–1)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12651,” accessed on 22 May 2022,