skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   23 October [1866]1

Down Bromley | Kent

Oct 23rd.

My dear Sir

I asked Dr Gray to tell Messrs. Ticknor & Field that you would let them have 250 copies of New Edit. of Origin at 12 price; but a letter from Gray has crossed mine on the road.2 He sends the enclosed note from Messrs Ticknor, which I do not understand for I do not see what “Da & Co” means.3 Anyhow Gray says that they are afraid of the Appletons & will not publish an edit. of my new book. You see they recommend, as does Gray that you shd send copies for the American Market.4 But there is no hurry about this.

With respect to the Origin I do not suppose that Gray will communicate again with Messrs Ticknor & Field & it is not fair to ask him to take any more trouble. So you must do what you think best about sending copies of the Origin to some House in America.

Gray is going to review the new edit. & evidently thinks there would be some sale for it.5 It has just occurred to me that if Gray does communicate with Messrs. Ticknor & they accept the 250 copies it would be an awkward predicament if they were sent elsewhere. You must decide what had better be done.

My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

Please let me hear what you decide.—


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Asa Gray, 10 October 1866.
See letter from John Murray, 18 October [1866]. Gray had approached the Boston firm of Ticknor & Fields about publishing the fourth edition of Origin as well as Variation, but had recently informed CD that they had declined both offers (see letters from Asa Gray, 18 July 1866, 27 August 1866, and 10 October 1866).
The enclosure has not been found. The reference is to D. Appleton & Co., which CD usually referred to as ‘Appletons’. They were reluctant to bring out a new edition of Origin because of typesetting difficulties (see letter to Asa Gray, 10 September [1866] and n. 7).
No review by Gray of the fourth edition of Origin has been found.


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.

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


A letter from Asa Gray informs CD that Ticknor & Fields will not publish a new edition of Origin to compete with Appleton’s unrevised edition. They recommend sending copies of the English edition for the American market.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 151–152)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5253,” accessed on 23 September 2020,

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