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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   20 February 1860

Feb. 20, 1860

My Dear Darwin,

I got this to-day.1 I send Appletons, now, the sheets of ed. 2, & your additions appended in their places.2 I promised the Historical Preface next week,3 and I put it in their hands— trusting to their promise of 5 percent and to their honor for more if they are not molested by reprinters, which we shall keep off.

The offer of check for £50—(which I might send to Mrs. Darwin for pin-money, since you scorn it) tempts me,—but I think it wiser to wait and hope for more.4

I mailed you a clean copy of my Review. I have sent it to Agassiz. He is childishly apt to be offended at any opposition, but I have, as you see been very careful to avoid all cause of personal offence.5

Ever, Dear Darwin, | Yours cordially | Asa Gray


New York

Feb 17/60

Dear Sir

Yr favor of 15th. is at hand. We cant say what we can do respecting the notes & additions till we see them but we shall be anxious to make our edition conform to any future English Edn.—6

You are under a mistake in supposing that new matter unpublished in England secures a copyright in this country if written by Mr. Darwin—on the contrary if the entire work had never been published in England and first appeared here no copyright would hold in this country as no one can hold a copyright here for what he has written unless he be a citizen of the U.S—

We proposed to ourselves to pay 5% on retail price as suggested in yr letter as there is no reason why a work without any legal rights, shd pay the same as one that is secured by law— We desire to act liberally altho‘ we printed the work after it had reached this country some little time; not having rec’d even early sheets which is usual when any payments are made.

We regret very much there is no protection to the foreign author, think it a monstrous shame, but we are obliged to take things as they actually exist— We are quite willing if it wd. be agreeable to Mr Darwin to send him a check for 50£ stg. and very likely that will be as much as he could receive by the sales.

We remain | Very respectfully | D. Appleton & Co


See enclosure.
Gray apparently had not yet received CD’s letter of [8 or 9 February 1860], in which CD had enclosed the historical preface and a few more corrections for the new American edition of Origin.
Gray’s review of Origin ([Gray] 1860a) contrasted CD’s theory of species change with Louis Agassiz’s views on the multiple creation of species.
The ‘revised and augmented’ American edition of Origin included many corrections and additions that were later incorporated into the third English edition, published in 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.


Arrangements for the American edition of Origin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (37)
Physical description
ALS 2pp, encl ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2706,” accessed on 23 July 2024,

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