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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   9 February [1868]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Feb 9—

My dear Sir

I am heartily glad for your sake & my own at the sale of the book— I think you are right to publish a rather smaller 2nd Edit. for the public will soon find out that it is dull, though I maintain that it is valuable in a scientific point of view.1

I beg leave to acknowledge & thank you for your bill for £300.2 Considering the great expense this seems a fair profit, but I hope it will be greater for the next edition. I have sent to Messrs Clowes by today’s post a few corrections, but they will not break the pages.3 The index is admirable; by the way Mr Dallas said to me in a letter recd yesterday that he had not yet heard from you.4 If not too much trouble, I shd like to hear what the corrections alone cost, so that I may hold them in terrorem over myself for my next book.5

Many thanks for your kind congratulations about my son.6 You know I am always greedy for presentation copies so I hope you will give me a few.

I am extremely pleased & remain my dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin


William Clowes & Sons were the printers of Variation. CD had received a list of corrections for the book (see letter from J. Daly, [before 9 February 1868]). The second printing of Variation also contained a small amount of new material (see Freeman 1978). CD meant that the corrections were not so extensive as to require the book to be repaginated.
William Sweetland Dallas compiled the index for Variation. CD refers to the letter from W. S. Dallas, 6 February 1868.
There is an annotation at the top of the page that reads ‘corrections | £176.—’.
George Howard Darwin. See letter from John Murray, 6 February [1868] and n. 6.


Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

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


Heartily glad for JM’s sake at sale [of Variation]. Thinks JM right to publish a smaller second edition, for "the public will soon find out that it is dull" – though scientifically valuable. The index is excellent. CD is "always greedy" for presentation copies.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 180–181)
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5854,” accessed on 25 January 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16