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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   31 August [1859]

Down Bromley Kent

Aug 31st

My dear Sir

I wrote some time ago to say so many sheets were ready to print off. Now up to p. 240 (& 72 more as good as ready) are ready.— I shd. like to hear how many copies you think adviseable to print off.—1

When you write will you be so kind as to say how early in the autumn you will permit the publication of my volume: for reasons before assigned I am anxious for as little delay as possible. If my health does not fail again, I surely shall finish correcting by end of September; & there will then be only short index.— I wish partly to know about time of publication, on account of leaving home for some months immediately last proof is finished, & I might perhaps do index from home.—

One more question, & I have done; would there be any objection to my distributing my private copies (from 40 to 80 according to cost) as soon as they are printed off, or do you not like this slight forestalling?2 Forgive the trouble. It has been a bitter disappointment to me having caused such delay in getting my Book ready.—

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


The first printing was 1250 copies (see Freeman 1977, p. 75). CD recorded this number in his ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 7, Appendix II). See also letter from Whitwell Elwin to John Murray, 3 May 1859, n. 1.
Murray agreed to CD’s request. Presentation copies were sent out a week before Murray’s autumn sale to dealers, held on 22 November (Freeman 1977, p. 75). For CD’s list of presentation copies, see Correspondence vol.8, Appendix III.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 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.


Sheets [of Origin] up to p. 240 are ready. Asks how many copies and how soon JM will publish. Hopes as soon as possible because of his health. Bitterly disappointed at delay he has caused.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff.58–59)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2484,” accessed on 24 January 2022,

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