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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   15 July [1866]1

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

July 15

My dear Sir

As I have recd the last clean sheets, the new Edit. of the Origin will now soon be bound.2 I therefore enclose a list of copies which I shall be much obliged if you will have the kindness to distribute.3

I would suggest for your consideration whether or not it wd be worth while to send copies to a few of the scientific periodicals which might notice it. I have sent a copy to Mr. Samuelson the Ed. of the Q. Journal of science.4 The London Rev. wd I think be likely to notice it, but you will be much the best of judge of all this.5 If you advertise I hope you will specify that the work is corrected & enlarged.

I am making decided progress with my next work—6

My dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S. I wish I cd persuade you to have the pages of the Origin cut. It is such an immense advantage in any work which has to be referred to by the aid of the index; it keeps it cleaner looks better & saves trouble at first; in fact nothing but insanity will account for this not being done in England—7


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Murray, 25 May [1866].
Although Murray printed the fourth edition of Origin in May, it was not published until November 1866 (Publishers’ Circular).
This list has not been found; see also letter from John Murray, 23 July [1866]. CD also prepared a different presentation list for the fourth edition of Origin (see Correspondence vol. 14, Appendix IV).
James Samuelson was co-editor of the Quarterly Journal of Science, in which a long article on CD’s work had recently appeared (see letter from James Samuelson, 8 April 1866, and letter from A. R. Wallace, 2 July 1866).
The London Review of Politics, Society, Literature, Art and Science had reviewed the first volume of Richard Owen’s On the anatomy of vertebrates (Owen 1866–8) in April 1866, and had printed an exchange of letters between Owen and the editor about CD’s theory of transmutation (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 31 May [1866], n. 11).
CD sent his manuscript of Variation to Murray in December (see letter to John Murray, 21 and 22 December [1866]).
For more on this point, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 28 [December 1866] and n. 6.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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.

Owen, Richard. 1866–8. On the anatomy of vertebrates. 3 vols. London: Longmans, Green & Co.

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


4th edition of Origin will soon be bound. Suggests sending copies to scientific periodicals that might notice it. Hopes JM will specify in advertisements that the work is corrected and enlarged. Hopes pages will be cut. Only insanity accounts for this not being done in England.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 145–146)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5155,” accessed on 24 September 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14