skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Ellen Frances Lubbock to H. E. Darwin   [28 July? 1866]1

Dear Miss Darwin

I am so sorry you were prevented from coming on Friday, & also that we shall not have the pleasure of seeing Mr. Darwin today—2 Do you think, when he feels pretty well, he would be so kind as to write some thing like this on a piece of paper for me—

Please deliver to the bearer a copy of the new edition of the Origin of Species—, & sign it— The fact is, John has promised a copy to Philip Norman, & as he is going to India, directly, he wishes to take it with him—& he went the other day to Murray’s, but was refused a copy, as Mr. Murray did not know him personally, & thought Mr. Darwin would not like them to give him one before the work is published—3 But I do not think Mr. Darwin would mind, & if he will kindly scratch down the order, I will send it to Phil—

I am so sorry to trouble him—

With Kindest regards to you all, believe me yours affectly | El Lubbock


The year is established by the reference to the fourth edition of Origin (see n. 3, below). The day and month are conjectured by the entries in Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), and by the reference to presentation copies of Origin (see nn. 2 and 3, below).
Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) records that CD had a headache on Friday 27 July 1866; Emma also noted that she attended a ‘fete at High Elms’ (the Lubbock family home) on 28 July.
The fourth edition of Origin was printed by mid-July 1866 (see letter to John Murray, 15 July [1866]), but CD’s publisher, John Murray, had recently informed CD that he wished to delay publication until November (letter from John Murray, 18 July [1866]). Norman’s father, George Warde Norman, was a good friend of the Darwin family and had received a presentation copy of the first edition of Origin (see Correspondence vol. 8, Appendix III).


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.


John Lubbock wants a copy of Origin (4th ed.) for Philip Norman.

Letter details

Letter no.
Ellen Frances Hordern/Ellen Frances Lubbock
Henrietta Emma Darwin/Henrietta Emma Litchfield
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 170: 11
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5204,” accessed on 14 July 2020,

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