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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   31 May [1859]

Down Bromley Kent

May 31st

My dear Sir

Enclosed is the Diagram which I wish engraved on Copper on folding out Plate to face latter part of volume.—1 It is an odd looking affair, but is indispensable to show the nature of the very complex affinities of past & present animals.— I have given full instructions to Engraver, but must see a Proof.—2

A perfect shower of proof-sheets have arrived, (thanks to you) to my great satisfaction;3 but I find that my M.S, which I thought was pretty clear is very obscure, & I am sorry to say, both for time & expence sake, that my corrections are rather heavy, & will take me much longer time than I anticipated: I have informed Mess rs. Clowes of this, that they may not lock up too much type.4

I think you wished to know when 8 or 10 sheets were completed & I will inform you.—

I am much obliged for your curious extract about the Mice.

A week of Hydropathy at Moor Park has done me a world of good.—

Pray believe me | My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

P.S Please to specify for Engraver height of page, which I can see, is enough for Diagram without horizontal fold.

P.S | If you much object to Plate, as too long, if printed on paper blank on one side so as to unfold clean out, I will give up: perhaps it will make the folding too complicated, but on that head you can judge.—

It has to be referred to in three parts of my volume.—


The diagram illustrating CD’s views on the divergence of characters was inserted in Origin between pp. 116 and 117. It folds out, as CD requested. See also letters to John Murray, 2 April [1859] and 14 May [1859].
The diagram was reproduced by lithography, not as an engraving as CD requested. The lithographer was William West.
CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II) records that he began reading proof-sheets on 25 May 1859, while still at Moor Park hydropathic establishment.
The printing firm of William Clowes & Son.


Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


CD’s diagram [for chapter on "Divergence of character", Origin] is indispensable.

Finds he will have to make many corrections, his text is so obscure.

A week of hydropathy at Moor Park has done him a world of good.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff.41–42)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2465,” accessed on 17 September 2023,

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