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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   26 September 1870

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Sept. 26th 1870

My dear Sir,

I must trouble you about some business. As the sheets are printed off I want three clean copies sent me; one for Russian translation, a second for a French translation, which Col. Moulinié wishes to prepare ready for the future; and a third for Messrs Appleton in America.1 Hereafter I shall want a fourth set for Germany.2 Will you have the kindness, to order the three sets to be sent me as they are successively printed off.

There are 76 woodcuts in my book, 14 of these are from Brehm, & copies cannot be supplied for foreign editions.3 I have told my correspondents that you would supply stereotypes of the remain 62, at a reasonable price a little above the cost of casting.4 Please determine & inform me as soon as you conveniently can [what the cost will] be. Will you be so good as to give an order to Messrs Clowes5 to send these stereotypes as I may hereafter direct, when I will indicate the 14 of which copies must not be sent. Mr Cooke seemed to think that I had made a mistake in promising stereotypes for America; I regret this much but did not anticipate any difficulty, from the experience of my last book, & I have now pledged my word.6

I paid Jan 1. 1869 £10.10.9—to Messrs Cassell & Co, for Brehm’s beautiful stereotypes, & this sum you can repay me whenever convenient; I enclose the account. (N.B. I shd like if no objection the account returned, as it gives list of Pages & volume of Brehm’s Book)7

It will be soon time to think about the index, which I have not the heart to make. It will be long. Mr Dallas (Sec. Geolog. Socy. Somerset House) would be excellent for the purpose, as nothing could be better than his last.8 Will you see him & enter into an agreement; but pray come to a special understanding that he has no other work on hand, so that he will do the clean sheets, which should be sent to him as printed off. The last time he caused nearly a month’s delay. Civilly make him understand that we will put the work at once in someone else’s hands if there is delay.9

I hope to complete the book by the end of November. You will soon have to decide the number of copies to be printed off, about which I should like to hear.

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S I enclose mem: about Index.—

Index for Mr Darwin’s Book

To be made on the same plan & principle as that of the “Variation of Domestic Animals”. Namely the names of all persons and Animals mentioned in text & foot notes to be given. Also a fair number of references & cross references to subjects.—


CD refers to the sheets of Descent. A Russian translation was evidently started by Vladimir Onufrievich Kovalevsky, but never completed (see letter from V. O. Kovalevsky, 12 December [1870], and Correspondence vol. 19, letter from V. O. Kovalevsky, 14 March 1871). Three different Russian editions were published in 1871 and 1872 (see R. B. Freeman 1977). The French translation was by Jean Jacques Moulinié (Moulinié trans. 1872). The American edition was published by D. Appleton & Co (Origin 2d US ed.; see the two letters from E. L. Youmans, 25 September 1870).
The German edition of Descent was Carus trans. 1871.
The reference is to Brehm et al. 1864–9. For a list of the plates from Brehm used in Descent, see Correspondence vol. 16, letter from Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 31 December 1868 and n. 1.
On CD’s arrangement regarding stereotypes of the illustrations for Descent, see Correspondence vol. 17, letter from Charles Layton, 23 December 1869. No other correspondence on this matter has been found.
William Clowes & Sons, printers to John Murray.
CD evidently refers to objections made by Robert Francis Cooke, John Murray’s publishing partner, regarding the stereotypes of illustrations for the US edition of Descent.
William Sweetland Dallas had prepared the index for Variation. See Correspondence vols. 15 and 16.
Dallas’s index had taken longer than expected, causing delay to the publication of Variation (see Correspondence vol. 16, p. xx).


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

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

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.

Origin 2d US ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. From the fifth London edition, with additions and corrections. New York: D. Appleton. 1870.

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


Wants sheets [of Descent] for foreign editions. Asks JM to determine price to be charged for the stereotypes of 62 cuts. Dallas would be excellent for the index but must be "civilly warned" not to delay. Encloses memo on the index.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms. 42152 ff. 214–17)
Physical description
LS(A) 5pp encl

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7327,” accessed on 3 February 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18