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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Murray   3 February [1869]1

50A, Albemarle St. | W.

Feby 3

My Dear Sir

You have my hearty consent to the Translation to French of your Naturalists Journal—not that either your or mine is now needed. The book has been out so long that the term of Protection has expired—2

What number of copies am I to print of Facts Argument for Darwin?3 I am at a loss to advise not knowing what sort of demand to expect. I think however you wd be safe with 750.

Clowes is prepared to receive copy of New Edition of Variation of Species whenever you are ready to begin4

My Dear Sir | yours very faithfully | John Murray

Chas Darwin Esq


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from C. P. Haussoullier, 31 January 1869.
Murray refers to Journal of researches, which was first published in 1839 (see letter to John Murray, [1–3 February 1869]). Murray also refers to the term of protection under copyright, which was twenty-eight years under the 1814 Copyright Act, and was extended to the author’s life plus seven years under the 1842 Copyright Act (Seville 2006, p. 9). Evidently, the terms of the earlier act applied here.
Murray refers to Facts and arguments for Darwin (Dallas trans. 1869), which was a translation of Fritz Müller’s Für Darwin (F. Müller 1864a).
William Clowes & Sons were the printers employed by Murray. The reference is to the fifth edition of Origin (Murray evidently wrote ‘Variation’ in error). CD finished corrections for the edition on 10 February 1869 (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 17, Appendix II)).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.

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.

Seville, Catherine. 2006. The internationalisation of copyright law: books, buccaneers, and the black flag in the nineteenth century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Gives consent, which is unnecessary because term of protection has expired, for French translation of Journal of researches.

Is at a loss to know how many copies of F. Müller’s Facts and arguments for Darwin to print.

The printer is ready for copy for a new "edition" of Variation. [Presumably another issue. 2d edition did not appear until 1875.]

Letter details

Letter no.
John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50a
Source of text
DAR 171: 363
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6597,” accessed on 1 October 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17