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Darwin Correspondence Project

To R. F. Cooke   12 January [1871]1

Down, Beckenham, Kent. S.E.

Jan. 12

My dear Sir

The title will do very well. It is very good plan to have Vol. I bound, as I am very anxious for early publication.2

I have no idea about length of Index, but Mr. Dallas says it is a very heavy job, which I can believe. He wrote yesterday that it would take him about 10 days more. I urged him to despatch.3 I much wish that you would write in 4 or 5 days and urge him on. I have only 3 or 4 second Revises to glance over.

Kindly answer me following queries on business, soon.

I must give away an awful number of copies to those who have aided me. Please tell me how many you will give me? I may fairly expect that you will charge me the lowest price at which you sold my book at your Auction.

What is this price?

I will then send list for distribution in London and by Rail— Copies for abroad I will myself despatch.4

Lastly please tell me whether you shall send copies to following Journals for Review, and I think all following in some degree desirable.

(1) Athenæum

(2) Nature

(3) Spectator (my subject would be discussed, I feel sure)

(4) Fortnightly Review (moral sense would be discussed probably as well)

(5) Journal of Anat. & Phys. by Prof. Humphrey of Cambridge; this Journal had excellent Review of Wallace,5 and would probably discuss my book on same subject.

(6) Medico-Chirurg. Review. Dr. C. Carter Blake has written to me to say he would review me in this Journal (which has wide circulation in the medical world) if copy sent to his house “46 Devonshire St., Queen’s Sqr W.C.” He would do it ably, whether favourably I doubt.6

(7) Popular Science Journal (sure to give good Review).7

Please inform me on all above points.

Lastly I should like all my private copies with edges cut, but left white, for I think edges of Lyell’s book look very ugly.8 Please attend to this.

Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

P.S. I hope to Heaven book will sell well. Please inform me whether you will print off more than 2500 copies at first.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from R. F. Cooke, 11 January 1871.
No correspondence between CD and William Sweetland Dallas on this subject has been found before the letter to Dallas of 27 January [1871].
For CD’s presentation list for Descent, see Correspondence vol. 19, Appendix IV.
George Murray Humphry was the founder of the Journal of Anatomy and Physiology. A review of Alfred Russel Wallace’s Contributions to the theory of natural selection (Wallace 1870) was published in Journal of Anatomy and Physiology 2d ser. 4 (1870–1): 184–90.
The letter from Charles Carter Blake has not been found. Blake was a protégé of Richard Owen, with whom CD had fallen out (Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Hugh Falconer, 8 January [1863]).
The title of the journal was Popular Science Review. For reviews of Descent, see Correspondence vol. 19, Appendix V.
For CD’s complaint about books being sold with pages uncut, see Correspondence vol. 15, letter to Athenæum, 1 January 1867. He received Charles Lyell’s The student’s elements of geology (Lyell 1871) in December 1870 (Correspondence vol. 18, letter to Charles Lyell, 25 December 1870). The edges of Lyell 1871 are trimmed and decorated with pink speckles.


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.

Lyell, Charles. 1871. The student’s elements of geology. London: J. Murray.


Has no idea about length of index [for Descent]. W. S. Dallas wrote it would take ten days more. Asks how many presentation copies he may have. Lists journals to receive review copies.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Robert Francis Cooke; John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 274
Physical description
C 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7438,” accessed on 8 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19