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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   19 February [1871]1

Down, Beckenham, Kent. S.E.

Feb. 19th.

My dear Sir

Will you have kindness to tell me by return of Post, whether you feel sure that more copies than the 2500 will be printed off.2 I have had one sheet corrected and there are 4 or 5 other sheets with moderate corrections, which I should be glad to have proofs of immediately so that I could send them abroad for some of foreign editions.3

All the other sheets will remain just as they are. I want to do this before I come to London on Thursday next, on which day or on Friday I will call on you.4

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S. The books arrived last night all safe. Many thanks.5

The volumes look admirable; they are excellently got up in paper, printing and binding.

I hope your clerk has remembered to send Vol II to Wallace, Mivart (and Miss Cobbe, 26 Hereford Sqr, for Theological Review)6

P.S. Your note just received. I will, if I possibly can, attend Athenæum and with greatest pleasure Vote for Mr. Cooke; but I cannot often go out late. I will enquire how early Ballot-Box is open.

I have by this Post written to Miss Cobbe about not publishing any Review too soon.7


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Murray, 18 February [1871].
Robert Francis Cooke had written on 15 February 1871 that he expected the whole edition of 2500 copies to be dispatched by 25 February.
CD probably refers to the errata listed at the beginning of the second volume of the first issue of Descent. No errata are listed in the second issue (Freeman 1977). American, Dutch, French, German, and Russian editions were in preparation.
CD went to London on Thursday 23 February 1871 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)), and probably visited Murray that day; his receipt for Murray’s payment to him for Descent is addressed ‘Albemarle Street’ and dated 23 February 1871 (letter to John Murray, 23 February 1871).
CD refers to Alfred Russel Wallace, St George Jackson Mivart, and Frances Power Cobbe (see letters to R. F. Cooke, 17 January [1871] and 30 January [1871]).
See letter from John Murray, 18 February [1871]. CD’s letter to Cobbe has not been found. Cobbe’s article (Cobbe 1871) appeared in the April issue of the Theological Review.


Cobbe, Frances Power. 1871. Darwinism in morals. Theological Review 8: 167–92.

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.


Discusses publication of Descent. Orders copies of vol. 2 sent to Wallace, Mivart, and F. P. Cobbe.

Will attend Athenaeum and vote for RC.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 280
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7489,” accessed on 20 January 2021,

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