skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   [25 January 1860]1

57. Queen St. Cavendish Sqe

Wednesday night

My dear Sir

Will you be so kind as to inform me in note addressed to Down how soon you intend going to press with my Journal; as I think I had better look over it, & see whether progress of science makes any corrections necessary.2

I shall be very glad to escape labour of correcting press, & if Mess Clowes print it (as I hope) they print so correctly that they may safely be trusted.3 I, also, hope that they can correct index. I can do so little work per diem, that I grudge every day taken from my larger work.—

It would be great advantage to have outline map of S. part of S. America, such as was published by Colburn in his 1st Edition of my Journal.4

My dear Sir | In Haste | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

Let me hear how many copies of Journal sold altogether.

P.S.I have just received letter from Prof. Asa Gray, who says the U. States in a few days “will be flooded” with my Book.5 He says it was too late to make any arrangement; that the sheets ought to have been sent him of 1st Edit.6 But he still thinks of republishing a long Review which he is writing as an Introduction to a separate Edition; & he believes this Introduction would give him copy-right— I feel sure that I may tell him, that if he likes to do anything of the sort, we will share any profit with him.7 I presume it would be a mere trifle. He is as noble & good a man as ever lived,—but much overworked.—

It will be worth while to remember & send over sheets of my larger work.— I am amused by Asa Gray’s account of the excitement my Book has made amonst Naturalists in U. States. Agassiz has denounced it in Newspaper, but yet in such terms that it is in fact a fine advertisement!—8

Yours most sincerely | C. Darwin

N.B | I have forgotten the object of my note to say that at date of A. Grays letter he had not received remainder of sheets of the 2d. Edit: if not already sent, please send immediately.—


The date is given by the reference to the publication of Origin in the United States and by CD’s stay in London from Tuesday, 24 January, to Friday, 27 January 1860 (Emma Darwin’s diary). The address is that of CD’s brother Erasmus Alvey Darwin, with whom CD usually stayed when in London.
It seems likely that CD had met Murray earlier in the day, as arranged in the preceding letter, and discussed a new edition of CD’s Journal of researches. Murray published the second edition in 1845 (see Correspondence vol. 3) and had issued several reprints since then, including a so-called ‘new edition’ in 1852 (see Freeman 1977, pp. 39–40).
William Clowes and Co. were the printers generally employed by John Murray. They printed Journal of researches 2d ed. and Origin.
The first edition of Journal of researches was published in 1839 by Henry Colburn. For CD’s unsatisfactory relations with Colburn at that time and in 1845, when he began negotiations with Murray, see Correspondence vols. 2 and 3. Murray did not include a map in the second edition (see Correspondence vol. 3, letter to John Murray, [31 May 1845], and Freeman 1977, p. 39).
Letter from Asa Gray, [10 January 1860]. The part of the letter to which CD refers is now missing.
CD had asked Murray to send Gray the proof-sheets of the second edition of Origin in December 1859 (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to John Murray, 22 December [1859]).


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.

Journal of researches 2d ed.: Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle round the world, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN. 2d edition, corrected, with additions. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1845.

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.

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 asks how soon JM will go to press with Journal [of researches]; thinks he had better look it over to see if progress of science has made any correction necessary.

P.S. Asa Gray has written that Origin has caused great excitement in U. S. Agassiz has denounced it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
London, Queen Anne St, 57
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff.64–67)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2632,” accessed on 25 January 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8