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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Asa Gray   1 February [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Feb 1

My dear Gray

I received yesterday your letter of the 17th— I am heartily glad you have so kindly determined to reprint; but I especially hope that your Review will appear in it.—2

The Edition might be entitled “Reprinted from corrected Second Edition with additional corrections”.3 I enclose today some few additions, all that I have. I will send in a fortnight a Preface giving a short History of opinion on origin of species.—4

Since writing last I have had a letter from Murray, the publisher; & he says “Whatever benefit may arise from the Reprint of your Book in U.S. you are fairly entitled to”.—   So he claims nothing. Perhaps you would like me to stand in Murray’s position & take 13 of the profits whatever they may be.—   Nothing would pain me so much as to take all the profit, as I wholly & absolutely shall owe all to you; & if you will print your Review, it will be a joint publication.

Believe me, My dear Gray | Yours most truly & gratefully | C. Darwin

(The Article in Times by Huxley.—)5

If my Additions & Preface should arrive too late; ⁠⟨⁠they⁠⟩⁠ will not be labour in vain, as they will do for French Edition ⁠⟨⁠several words missing⁠⟩⁠ Edition.—


Mere verbal corrections not here noticed & the omission 2 or 3 paragraphs

New Edit

17. 18. Pallasian doctrine made clearer.7

49  names of Primula veris elatior corrected.8

72  age of fir-tree corrected9

73  case of clover made stronger.10

96  parenthesis on parthenogenesis added11

165  mule of U. States striped12

214  sentence about dogs pointing added13

219–223  Slave-ants made clearer14

253  sentence about crossed pheasants added.15

286  Weald Denudation made milder.—16

303  fossil Birds instead of fossil Whales17

336  sentence added on advancement of organisation18

390, 391  about crossing keeping birds of

Madeira Bermuda unchanged19

452  paragraph on “nascent” organs added20

480  Kingsley’s sentence on theological bearing added.— 21


Dated by the reference to the revised American edition of Origin.
See letters from Asa Gray, [10 January 1860] and [17 January 1860], and letter to Asa Gray, 28 January [1860]. CD refers to the suggestion that Gray’s review of Origin ([Gray] 1860a) might be printed as an introduction to an authorised American edition.
The title page of the new edition issued in May 1860 by D. Appleton & Co. reads: ‘A new edition, revised and augmented by the author.’ Since Appleton had electrotyped Origin (see letter from Asa Gray, 23 January 1860, n. 2), CD’s corrections and additions had to be fitted in with as little change to the plates as possible.
See the enclosure and also the letter to Asa Gray, [8 or 9 February 1860].
CD refers to [T. H. Huxley] 1859a. See letter to T. H. Huxley, 1 January [1860].
The enclosure is pasted in the back of Gray’s presentation copy of Origin (Gray Herbarium of Harvard University). The page numbers refer to the second English edition. Although the enclosure may have been sent in the letter to Asa Gray, 28 January [1860], there CD states that he is enclosing only a list of the corrections made in Origin 2d ed. The corrections listed here were first included in the revised American edition of Origin and later incorporated into the third edition of Origin, published in March 1861. Hence, the American edition of Origin was ‘in some respects even ahead of the current English edition’ (Dupree 1959, p. 271).
The reference is to the section in the discussion of the origin of domesticated animals in which the views of Pyotr Simon Pallas are treated. According to the ‘Pallasian doctrine’, domestic animals arose from distinct wild species that were able, after a long period of domestication, to interbreed successfully (Origin, pp. 17–18; see also Natural selection, p. 440). Wishing to show that man had domesticated animals long before the time in which they were depicted on Egyptian monuments, CD cited Leonard Horner’s recent study of the antiquity of man in Egypt (Horner 1858). After Horner’s findings were thrown into doubt ([W. Smith] 1859), CD substituted in the revised American edition of Origin, p. 23, the following passage: After the recent discoveries of flint tools or celts in the superficial deposits of France and England, few geologists will doubt that man, in a sufficiently civilized state to have manufactured weapons, existed at a period extremely remote as measured by years; and we know that at the present day there is hardly any tribe so barbarian as not to have domesticated at least the dog. The passage was slightly altered for the third edition of Origin (Origin 3d ed., p. 18).
Origin US ed., p. 71. The change was also made to Origin 3d ed., pp. 76–7.
Origin US ed., pp. 148–9.
Origin US ed., p. 191.
Origin US ed., pp. 195–9.
Origin US ed., p. 224.
In Origin US ed., p. 252, the following note was added to the description of the denudation of the Weald: I have left the foregoing passages as they stand in the second edition, but I confess that an able and justly severe article, since published in the Saturday Review (Dec. 24th, 1859), shows that I have been rash. I have not sufficiently allowed for the softness of the strata underlying the chalk; the remarks made are more truly applicable to denuded areas composed of hard rocks. Nor have I allowed for the denudation going on on both sides of the ancient Weald-Bay; but the circumstance of the denudation having taken place within a protected bay would prolong the process. It has long been my habit to observe the shape and state of surface of the fragments at the bases of lofty retreating cliffs, and I can find no words too strong to express my conviction of the extreme slowness with which they are worn away and removed. I beg the reader to observe that I have expressly stated that we cannot know at what rate the sea wears away a line of cliff: I assumed the one inch per century in order to gain some crude idea of the lapse of years; but I always supposed that the reader would double or quadruple or increase in any proportion which seemed to him fair the probable rate of denudation per century. But I own that I have been rash and unguarded in the calculation. This discussion was altered in the third English edition of Origin. See Peckham ed. 1959, pp. 483–4.
The passage referred to is actually in Origin 2d ed., p. 304, and in Origin US ed., p. 266.
Origin US ed., p. 294.
Origin US ed., pp. 340–1.
Origin US ed., p. 393.
The statement by Charles Kingsley was actually added to Origin 2d ed., p. 481, and included in Origin US ed., p. 417.


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

Horner, Leonard. 1858. An account of some recent researches near Cairo, with the view of throwing light upon the geological history of the alluvial land of Egypt. Pt II. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 148: 53–92. [vols. 7,8]

Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.

Origin 2d ed.: 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. 1860.

Origin 3d ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 3d edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1861.

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.

Origin US ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. A new edition, revised and augmented by the author. By Charles Darwin. New York: D. Appleton. 1860.

[Smith, William]. 1859. Bunsen’s Egypt and the chronology of the Bible. Quarterly Review 105: 382–421.


CD is glad there is to be an American edition of Origin printed from the corrected 2d English edition.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Asa Gray
Sent from
Source of text
Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (44)
Physical description
ALS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2676,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

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