skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Murray   2 November 1859

Nov. 2. 1859

My dear Sir

By this day’s post I send you a specimen copy of your book bound— I hope it may receive your approval. Please reply by return & not a moment shall be lost in getting ready the early copies—your instructions seem quite clear & shall be carefully followed.

Now as to price—the book from its bulk & size will not be dear at 14/. & this is the price I propose. At this price the edition of 1250 copies will yield about £240—23 rds of which will go to the author— The only alternative is 12/.—which will yield no more than £150—1

At 14/. the lowest trade allowance will be 9/6 My Trade Sale is unavoidably put off to the 22nd—this will give more time for your copies to circulate— I will do the best for the foreign ones

I am dear Sir (in great haste) | Yours very faithfully, (signed) John Murray.

In the above statement of probable profits, I have not deducted anything for corrections & omissions— They amount in Clowes’ bill to £72:8:—but I do not wish to deduct any part of them in your case, but to let them go into the general account of expenses2 Charles Darwin Esq.

Terrace, Ilkley Wells, Ottley.3


Murray’s itemised records of the publishing costs of Origin are transcribed in Peckham ed. 1959,p. 775. See also letters to John Murray, 15 October [1859] and [3 November 1859]. CD received £180 as his share of the profits from the first edition of Origin.
CD had offered to pay for some of the extensive alterations he had made to the proof-sheets. See letters to John Murray, 14 June [1859] and 15 October [1859].
Murray’s version of CD’s address was not quite right: the correct address was Wells Terrace, Ilkley, near Otley, Yorkshire.


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.


By this post he sends for approval specimen copy of CD’s book [Origin of species]. At 14 s., 1250 copies will yield £240, two-thirds of which will go to author. Arrangements for early copies.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms. 41913 pp. 53–4)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2513A,” accessed on 23 July 2024,

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