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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Murray   19 September [1867]1

50, Albemarle St. | W.

Sept 19

My Dear Sir

I have made up the account of the new Edition of Darwin on Species—of wch I have now disposed of about 700 copies—& have much pleasure in enclosing a Cheque for £250" being 23 ds. of the estimated profits—allowing £50" for advertising of wch £30’ have been actually expended—2

I enclose also the account of The Orchids,3 by wch you will perceive that the deficiency has been considerably reduced—

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

I hope I have found a suitable Index-maker.4 I will ask for a sample for your approval

Chas Darwin Esq


Dr Darwin on Orchids Cr 1862 1862 June To Balance Deficiency5 45 5 1 June By 685 on hand Sept " Electros6 3 6 – 4 Presented 1867 520 516 on hand June 1867 June " Binding 100 Copies 3 – 5 165 Sold viz

" Advertising 5 Years 20 10 – 52 Trade 25 as 24 6/ 15 – –

113 do "  " 6/57 34 19 5



June 30 By Balance Deficiency 22 2 1

72 1 6 72 1 6 1867 June 30 To Balance Deficiency 22 2 1 June 30 By 516 on hand

CD annotations8

Verso of last page:

‘250 12 238’


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Murray, 20 September 1867.
The reference is to the fourth edition of Origin, which was published in November 1866 (Freeman 1977). The publisher’s ledger records a payment to CD of £250 on 19 September 1867 (see Peckham ed. 1959, p. 776).
Murray refers to Orchids.
Murray refers to the index for Variation. The book was indexed by William Sweetland Dallas (see letter from John Murray, 1 November [1867]).
This figure was carried over from the last statement Murray had sent for sales of Orchids (see Correspondence vol. 13, Supplement, letter from John Murray, [1 July – 23 August 1862]).
After receiving the statement for Orchids, CD reminded Murray to charge him for the cost of three electrotypes sent to the United States (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter to John Murray, 24 August [1862] and n. 4).
Trade purchasers received one free copy in every twenty-five, as was the general practice (Plant 1965, p. 405), and were charged 6s. or 6s. 5d. The retail price of Orchids was 9s. See Freeman 1977, p. 113.
CD’s annotation refers to his payment of £12 for presentation copies. See letter to John Murray, 20 September 1867 and n. 2.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

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.

Plant, Marjorie. 1965. The English book trade. An economic history of the making and sale of books. 2d edition. London: George Allen & Unwin.


Sends CD cheque for £250, two-thirds of the profits on the sale of 700 copies of Origin, 4th ed.

Hopes he has found a suitable indexer for Variation.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50
Source of text
DAR 171: 350, 524
Physical description
ALS 1p †, encl 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5630,” accessed on 17 May 2022,

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