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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Murray   24 February [1866]1

50, Albemarle St. | W.

Feby 24

My Dear Sir

I have despatched by Book post today a copy of the “Origin” in sheets for correction2   The printer will guarantee a correct reprint of all that you send to press unaltered & will send you proofs of sheets in wch you make corrections—3

I shall be happy to pay you two thirds of the profits of the Edition as soon as one half of the copies are sold—as you suggest4

I can see no objection to your employing Mr Sowerby to draw the bones & heads for your book on Domesticated animals.5 I wd stipulate that after he has seen all that you require, he shd send me in writing his estimate of the cost of drawing the 32 or 33 subjects—& a statement of the time within wch he will undertake to draw them—6

I have no doubt this work will be as interesting to the Public as it has been to you

I remain | My Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | John Murray

I have still near 600 copies of the Book on Orchids on hand—but the deficiency on it has been reduced to £30.—7

Charles Darwin Esqr


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Murray, 22 February [1866].
In order to make revisions and corrections for the fourth edition, CD had requested a clean copy of Origin (see letter to John Murray, 22 February [1866]).
See letter to John Murray, 22 February [1866]. Murray made a copy of this sentence that survives in the Murray Archives (see Calendar no. 5017a).
Murray refers to George Brettingham Sowerby Jr and Variation. See letter to John Murray, 22 February [1866] and nn. 13 and 14.
CD had raised the question of fixing a price with Sowerby in his letter to Murray of 22 February [1866]. Sowerby had nearly completed his illustrations for Variation in October 1866 (see letter to G. B. Sowerby Jr, 19 October [1866]).
There is a statement of Murray’s account for Orchids in DAR 171.3: 524–5, annotated by CD: ‘Feb— 27— 1866. Still about 600 copies on Hand & 30£ deficient.—’


Calendar: A calendar of the correspondence of Charles Darwin, 1821–1882. With supplement. 2d edition. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1994.

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.

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.


Sends sheets of Origin [4th edition] for CD to correct [for 3d German edition?].

Still has 600 copies of Orchids, but deficit reduced to £30.

Undertakes to pay two-thirds of profits of the [fourth] edition of Origin as soon as one-half of the copies are sold.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50
Source of text
DAR 171: 346
Physical description
ALS 2pp & CC inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5417,” accessed on 2 October 2023,

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