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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   29 April [1859]

Down Bromley Kent

Ap. 29th

My dear Sir

In a very few days I could send you the 6 first chapters to go to press.

Unfortunately for me there has been a death in family of one my copyists, which has delayed the copying of two chapters.1

I do not know how exactly you require to know the size of the M.S. before settling the size of type & Book.—will the enclosed memoranda suffice? the size of some of the chapters are definitely given; others pretty closely estimated.

Will you be so kind as to inform me?

If, as I hope, you can judge sufficiently by the enclosed data & when you have the 6 first chapters I would send in a few days the six first chapters, for you to send to your printer. Please to observe, that it is of real importance for my health sake to get the work printed as quickly as possible; for I must leave home soon & stay for months at some water-cure establishment.

And when I go to press I shall beg you to urge on the Printer to send me a proof-sheet per diem, until he gets fairly in advance of my powers of correcting.

I shall be anxious to hear what size you determine on: my beau ideal for type & size is Lyell’s Manual 1st. Edit.—2

If you absolutely require to see all the M.S. before settling on size of type &c, it will cause me 10 or 14 days’ delay.—

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


CD’s copyists were Mr Fletcher, John Mumford, and Ebenezer Norman.
CD refers to Charles Lyell’s Elements of geology (C. Lyell 1838), which was retitled Manual of elementary geology for the third and subsequent editions (C. Lyell 1851).


Lyell, Charles. 1838. Elements of geology. London: John Murray.


Will send first six chapters [of Origin] for the press. Sends data on size of MS and book. His "beau ideal" for type and size is Lyell’s Manual [of geology] 1st ed.

Important to his health to get the work printed quickly. Must leave home soon to stay for months at a water-cure establishment.

Asks printer to send a proof-sheet a day until he gets well ahead.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff.38–39)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2455,” accessed on 24 January 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7