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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   22 December [1859]1

Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 22d

My dear Sir

I received yesterday a letter from Prof. Asa Gray of U. States, offering to endeavour to make some arrangement for Reprint there of the Origin, with some share of profits, if possible for us.—2 I have agreed, presuming that you have not made any arrangement; if you have I can stop it. So please inform me soon. In any case I am very anxious that our second Edition should be reprinted. I have told “Prof. Asa Gray, Cambridge Massachussetts U. States” that you would send him by Post at once as many clean sheets as are ready (& you can charge copy & postage to me) & remainder as soon as possible.— This would give him an advantage in making bargain for us.—

Please inform me by what channel you sent copy of the Book to him; as he says he has not received it.—3

Please, also, inform me whether you have any rule about number of copies which you give to author of second Edition, as perhaps I shd like a few.

I have returned every sheet to Printers on same day as received.—

I think I have got good scheme for larger work of three separate volumes with separate titles & indices for each but in addition with one general Title.—

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

With my confounded health I daresay it will be 2 years before the 1st vol. of my larger work will be ready.


Although the letter is endorsed ‘1860’, this is plainly a mistake. The first American edition of Origin was published in mid-January 1860.
Gray’s copy must have arrived soon after he had written to CD, as he read Origin in the last week of December 1859 (Dupree 1959, p. 268). Gray subsequently reported to Joseph Dalton Hooker that he completed reading the work on 1 January (J. L. Gray ed. 1893, 2: 455). His annotated copy is in the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University.


Dupree, Anderson Hunter. 1959. Asa Gray, 1810–1888. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University.

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.


Asa Gray offers to arrange for reprinting Origin in U. S. CD has told him JM would send sheets of 2d ed. by post.

CD thinks he has good scheme for his "larger work" in three volumes, with separate titles and a general title. Will be two years before first volume is ready because of his health.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff.68–69)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2594,” accessed on 23 June 2024,

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