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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   4 April [1865]1

Down, Bromley, Kent. S.E.

Ap. 4.

My dear Sir

I am much obliged for your kind note.2 I will act on your advice and instructions about the wood-cuts. I am quite willing that you should insert the advertisement as you propose, and I presume that you approve of the title. But I must beg you to bear in mind that my health is extremely precarious and that it depends upon this and upon nothing else whether my book will be ready for the press in the autumn.3 On your return I will send you a bundle of MS to look at, and you can be still free to publish or not as you like; but I shall be much pleased if we can agree to publish together.

Believe me my dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Murray, 1 April 1865.
CD recorded that he became ill on 22 April 1865 and did not resume work on Variation until 25 December (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 13, Appendix II)). The work was not published until 30 January 1868 (see Freeman 1977, p. 122). In his journal entry for 1867, CD wrote: ‘owing to interruptions from my illness & illness of children; from various editions of Origin & papers especially Orchis book & Tendrils, I have spent 4 years & 2 months over it.—’ (DAR 158).


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.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Discusses proposed publication of Variation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 434
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3494,” accessed on 23 September 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13