skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Murray   18 July [1866]1

50A, Albemarle St. | W.

July 18

My Dear Sir

The season for literary publication is so far passed & people are so destracted by gaieties travelling & War Bulletins2 that I am keeping back all my new books until the beginning of November

I intended to do this with regard to the new Edition of your work on Species & unless you have some very special reason for bringing it out now, I wd beg your consent to the delay wch so far from an injury will prove advantageous to the book.3 If you agree to this I will take care that your List of presentation copies shall be sent out before the end of October4—my selected time for publication being the season when days grow short & nights cold.

If you desire a copy for yourself meanwhile you shall have it with the greatest pleasure

I believe I told you I have made the Edition 12505

My Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | John Murray

PS. The insanity of English booksellers in not cutting the edges of books arises from the propensity of Englishmen & women to read books without buying them—stantes pede in suo in the booksellers shops—6 They have various other devices by wch they try to effect the same illaudable object—eg by borrowing   I have one friend who has borrowed the Quarterly Review from me regularly for 40 years—

Chas Darwin Esq


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Murray, 15 July [1866].
Murray refers to the Austro-Prussian war. See letter from Asa Gray, 3 July 1866 and n. 8.
The fourth edition of Origin was published between 1 and 15 November 1866 (Publishers’ Circular).
Murray printed 1500 copies of the fourth edition of Origin (Peckham ed. 1959, p. 776). In his letter of 25 May [1866], he had indicated that 1000 copies would be printed; on learning of the substantial additions CD had made to the new edition, he then proposed 1500 copies in his letter of 30 May [1866].
‘Stans pede in uno’: ‘standing on one foot’, effortlessly (Ehrlich 1985). Murray altered the phrase to mean, ‘Standing (pl.) on their foot’. In the postscript to his letter of 15 July [1866], CD had tried to persuade Murray to have the pages of the fourth edition of Origin cut.


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.


Proposes to delay issue [of 4th ed. of Origin] until November to obtain better market conditions. Now printing 1250 copies.

Explains practice of not cutting pages is due to propensity of English public to read books without buying them.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50a
Source of text
DAR 171: 336
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5161,” accessed on 22 September 2023,

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