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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Murray   19 March [1867]1

50A. Albemarle St. | W.

Mar 19

My Dear Sir

I am enclined to think, with you, that the new Title of your work is an improvement & I propose to adopt it in future.2

I have been giving much consideration to the question of the number to be printed & have altered my mind on this point. I do not think there will be any eventual loss if I print 1500 Copies & I propose with your assent to go to press with that number.—3

Of course this—like all other publishing undertakings is a lottery—but the Scientific must study your book & the unlearned will dip into it & pick out portions at least suited to interest them— This I gather from the proof sheets   you shall certainly have the sets of fair sheets. please instruct Clowes to that effect4

At least if your old German publisher will have nothing to say to you, I can assure you of another candidate at Jena, who tells me he is ready to adventure5

I am | My Dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | John Murray

Charles Darwin Esq


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Murray, 18 March [1867].
Murray had initially proposed printing only 750 copies (see letter from John Murray, 28 January [1867]).
CD had asked for proof-sheets for the German and Russian translations of Variation. Murray refers to the printers William Clowes & Sons.
No letter concerning Variation from a German publisher other than E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung has been found in the John Murray Archive (Virginia Murray, archivist).


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


Agrees that new title of Variation is an improvement. Now thinks 1500 copies a safe number to print.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50a
Source of text
DAR 171: 347
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5448,” accessed on 27 February 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15