skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   13 June [1862]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

June 13th

My dear Sir

You were so kind as to say that, I might have electrotypes of woodcuts for a German edition.1 I wrote to M. Schweizerbart of Stuttgart to say that if he continued to wish for German Edition, he must pay to you £10 for them, which will leave a few pounds profit, I believe, over the cost.2 There are 34 (several very small); for the embellishment I shd. think need not be sent.3 He wishes to have them immediately, but does not say how they are to be sent; you will probably know; & asks how he is to pay you the £10; whether by a note from London? You will have to send to Taylor & Francis for the 2 they have.—4

I am heartily sorry to give so much trouble, & here follows more.—

Prof. Asa Gray doubts whether at present an American Edit. can be published; but he wishes to know what you would charge for electrotypes of all.5 Fix what you think right, but remember if you fix high there will be no chance of Edition.— Please answer all my queries soon.— Again Asa Gray wishes to review the Book in Sillimans Journal (an admirable Journal) & wishes for cuts of Nos I., II., & III.:6 if you are inclined to grant me this favour (which would please me) I will pay for these 3 cuts. Asa Gray says he wishes for them immediately. I do not understand their manufacture; but he says “not to be mounted” & sent through Trübner;7 or what what would be better for the “electrotype copper casts to be put in light Box & sent by Post, & postage would hardly be more than 1s.”.— But I fancy the “casts” would be required for the German cuts; but I do not in the least understand the subject.— Please act as you think fit. Again I say I am sorry to give so much trouble.—

The Botanists praise my orchid-book to the skies.—8 Some one sent me (perhaps you) the Parthenon with good Review.—9 The Athenæum treats me with very kind pity & contempt; but the Reviewer knew nothing of his subject.10

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

I wish I had asked Schweizerbart a higher sum; for he evidently is glad to pay the 10£; but it is too late now.—

Please write soon.—


Murray’s letter has not been found, but see the letter to H. G. Bronn, 25 April [1862].
Orchids was offered for sale in a plum-coloured cloth binding with a gilt orchid embossed on the front cover.
Taylor & Francis of Red Lion Square, Fleet Street, London, printed the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, in which CD’s paper, ‘Three sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum was published. The paper included two illustrations from Orchids, Catasetum tridentatum (Orchids, fig. 27, p. 232) and Myanthus barbatus and Monachanthus viridis (Orchids, fig. 28, p. 239). Catasetum tridentatum and Monachanthus viridis are synonyms of Catasetum macrocarpum, the jumping orchid; Myanthus barbatus is a synonym of Catasetum barbatum, the bearded catasetum. See also the first and second letters to Richard Kippist, 18 March [1862].
The illustrations referred to are those of Orchis mascula (Orchids, facing p. 18), the pollinia of O. mascula (Orchids, p. 15), and O. pyramidalis (Orchids, p. 22). Asa Gray followed up his review of Orchids (A. Gray 1862a), which appeared in the July number of the American Journal of Science and Arts (also known as ‘Silliman’s journal’ after its founder, Benjamin Silliman), with a further article on the pollination of orchids in the November number (A. Gray 1862b); the three illustrations from Orchids were reproduced in the latter paper (pp. 421–3).
The publisher Nicholas Trübner frequently acted as Gray’s London agent (see Correspondence vols. 8 and 9).
CD was particularly pleased at the response to Orchids of Gray, George Bentham, and Daniel Oliver (see letter to Asa Gray, 10–20 June [1862]).
Parthenon, 7 June 1862, pp. 177–9. The author of the review has not been identified. There is a copy of it in the Scrapbook of reviews (DAR 226.1: 129).
According to the publisher’s marked copy of the Athenæum (City University Library, London), the author of the review of Orchids that appeared in the Athenæum, 24 May 1862, pp. 683–4, was John R. Leifchild. There is a copy of this review in the Scrapbook of reviews (DAR 226.1: 11).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.

‘Three sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum’: On the three remarkable sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum, an orchid in the possession of the Linnean Society. By Charles Darwin. [Read 3 April 1862.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 6 (1862): 151–7. [Collected papers 2: 63–70.]


CD orders electrotypes for German edition of Orchids.

Asa Gray doubts an American publication is possible but will review it in Sillimans Journal.

[British] botanists have praised it. Other reviews.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 120–122)
Physical description
ALS 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3602,” accessed on 13 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10