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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   6 October [1871]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Oct 6th

My dear Mr Murray

I have 6 first Chapts. of the new Edit. of Origin ready for the printers, & I have sent M.S. of 7th. Chapt. to be copied. This 7th Chapt. contains a part of old Chapt IV, but is chiefly new.2 Whilst the copier is at work I shall make some considerable progress at remaining chapters. Now if you wish to have a Dummy copy of the Origin for your sale, I had better send the 6 first Chapters at once to Mrs Clowes, & you must give instructions about Type, the saving of space in all ways, & about setting up quickly & sending proofs to me.— I will trust to Messrs Clowes for correction & for Index except in the altered parts which are many.—

I enclose a suggested advertisement.—

More than one person & some strangers have urged me to publish a glossary of scientific terms.— I had a letter a few days ago from a stranger, an intelligent gentleman, who declared that many persons felt the want much.3 The same glossary wd. do for Origin & for any corrected Edit. of the Descent, if there ever is one.—4 I believe this latter book will hereafter rise a little in value, notwithstanding Mr. Mivart in the Quarterly.5 What do you think about such a short Glossary; if you approve, Mr Dallas of Geolog. Soc. would be an excellent man. & he could work on it from old Edit, but you must make a bargain with him.—6 I hope & think that I have considerably improved matter & style of Origin.— As the subject is by no means yet dead, we may hope for slow & steady sale.— Pray kindly reflect over this note, & let me hear.—

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Proposed Advertisement

Sixth & Cheap Edition of the Origin of Species (...... thousandth?)

With answers to the various objections recently raised against the theory of Natural Selection. (With a glossary of scientific terms??)7

by Charles Darwin F.R.S.

P.S | My health has been so bad of late, that I can never be certain of going on working. And at end of this month I must have a rest of one week.—8


The year is established by the reference to the sixth edition of Origin, which was published in February 1872 (Freeman 1977, p. 79).
Much of chapter 7 of Origin 6th ed. was devoted to CD’s replies to the criticisms of St George Jackson Mivart and others of the theory of natural selection.
The letter has not been found.
See Origin 6th ed., pp. 430–41, for the glossary. No glossary appeared in the second edition of Descent.
CD refers to Mivart’s anonymous review of Descent in the Quarterly Review ([Mivart] 1871c).
William Sweetland Dallas was the assistant secretary of the Geological Society of London; he had made the indexes for Variation and Descent (see Correspondence vols. 15, 16, 18). He compiled the glossary for Origin 6th ed. (see letter to R. F. Cooke, 13 October [1871]).
An advertisement appeared in Publishers’ Circular, 17 October 1871, p. 689: ‘The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. By Charles Darwin, F.R.S. Sixth and Cheaper Edition. With Answers to Objections raised against the theory of Natural Selection, and a Glossary of Scientific Terms.’
CD went to visit Josiah Wedgwood III and Caroline Sarah Wedgwood at Leith Hill Place, Surrey, from 3 to 10 November 1871 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


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.

[Mivart, St George Jackson.] 1871c. Darwin’s Descent of man. Quarterly Review 131: 47–90.

Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

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


Has finished seven chapters of revision of Origin [6th ed.] despite poor health. Asks JM’s opinion on a glossary of scientific terms. Encloses text for advertisement.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms. 42152 ff. 228–31)
Physical description
ALS 5pp encl

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7988,” accessed on 23 July 2024,

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