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Darwin Correspondence Project

From R. F. Cooke   1 November 1871

50a, Albemarle Street, London, W.

Nov. 1 1871

My dear Sir

Excuse the delay in replying to you, but just now I am more than usually occupied, as our Annual Trade Sale is approaching.

I was much astonished to find you had not received any proofs of the Cheap Edition & I wrote to Messrs. Clowes & I enclose their reply.1

You had better agree to have this edition stereotyped. If it takes, the advantage will be great & you can always make verbal alterations or even cancel pages. All that is requisite, is, that you shd. fill up the quantity you take out.2

We shall sell out, all the copies we have remaining of the “Descent” at our Sale on the 10th. The type is still up & so we can print off 500 or 1000 more & then let Clowes distribute the type.3

I suppose you are now deep in the Contemporary.4 I have dipped into it, but not read it.

Yours faithfully | Robt. Cooke

We have sold 14 copies of Mr Wrights pamphlet.5

We purpose to publish cheap edition of “Origin” whenever it is ready6

Chas. Darwin Esq


The enclosure has not been found. Cooke refers to the sixth edition of Origin and to the printers William Clowes & Sons. See letter to R. F. Cooke, 30 October 1871.
Six thousand five hundred copies of Descent had been printed in three issues, the most recent of which was made in April 1871; another thousand copies would be printed in December 1871 (Freeman 1977).
Thomas Henry Huxley’s essay ‘Mr Darwin’s critics’, including a discussion of St George Jackson Mivart’s Genesis of species 2d ed. (Mivart 1871b) and Alfred Russel Wallace’s Contributions to the theory of natural selection (Wallace 1870), was published in the November 1871 issue of Contemporary Review (T. H. Huxley 1871b).
CD had arranged for a Chauncey Wright’s review of Mivart 1871a to be published as a pamphlet (Wright 1871a, Wright 1871b). See letter from Chauncey Wright, 11 October 1871.
Origin 6th ed. was published in February 1872 (Freeman 1977).


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 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.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Suggests CD have Origin [6th ed.] stereotyped.

Will sell out remaining copies of Descent at forthcoming trade sale, print off 500 or 1000 more, and then have the type distributed.

14 copies of C. Wright’s pamphlet have been sold.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert Francis Cooke; John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50a
Source of text
DAR 171: 404
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8044,” accessed on 2 June 2023,

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