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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Murray   18 March [1871]1

50, Albemarle St. | W.

Mar 18

My Dear Sir

The second Edition of your “Descent”—is published this day. It consists of 2000 copies—2

I shall be happy to give you for it Eight Hundred Guineas—of wch 200 Gs payable at once by cheque & 600 by note of hand at six months from this date—3 Please let me know if this proposal is satisfactory to you—

I conclude you have seen Wallace’s review in Academy4

I remain My Dear Sir | your obliged & faithful | John Murray

Chas Darwin Esqr

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘£14.70 [‘£’ above ‘14.70’]5 | (Non-conform & other Papers from Catholic Pap—Tablet) | Back’ pencil


The year is established by the reference to the second printing of Descent, which was made in March 1871, and the review in the Academy (see n. 4, below).
Murray refers to the second printing of Descent (see Freeman 1977); the second edition was not published until 1874.
CD’s Account books–banking account (Down House MS), records the receipt of £210 from Murray on 21 March 1871 and of £630 on 18 September 1871.
Murray refers to Alfred Russel Wallace and his review of Descent (Wallace 1871a).
CD evidently calculated the total sum he had made on Descent to this point; that is, £1470. CD had received £630 for the first printing of Descent (CD’s Account books–banking account (Down House MS)).


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.


Second "edition" [of Descent] published this day. Offers CD 800 guineas.

Mentions Wallace’s review in Academy.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50
Source of text
DAR 171: 392
Physical description
ALS 1p †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7597,” accessed on 24 May 2022,

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