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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. F. McLennan   13 May 1874

1, New Street, Spring Gardens.

13 May 74

My dear Mr. Darwin,

Many thanks to you for your trouble. Oddly enough the same post brought me an Application from Bernard Quaritch the bookseller (who has been selling as many copies as he could procure of the first Edition at from £2 to £3) begging me if I thought of reprinting the book to “let him have the selling of it”.1

Not knowing what he meant I stopped my cab at his door on the way to the Office & saw him. He says he has taken a fancy to the book & will give me 30 guineas for the right to reprint a new Edition of it—undertaking to bring it out handsomely & send copies right & left to the Newspapers &c. & to any eminent persons I may desire it to be sent to.

No doubt he wd. give more money if I wished it but that is immaterial. I think of letting him have it on his own terms. I am indeed astonished at his liberality—but then he is’nt a publisher! I have never myself got a farthing from one of them & hardly know a person that ever did.—

I am sorry Mr. Murray declined.2 I much prefer giving the book to Quaritch to taking it to MacMillan3

If Litchfield4 is still with you say I wd. be glad if he wd. look out & see me some night. I never now go out after dusk.

With kindest regards to you all I am | yrs. sincerely | J. F M’Lennan.


McLennan was seeking a publisher for a new edition of his book Primitive marriage (McLennan 1865; see letter from J. F. McLennan, 5 May 1874 and n. 3). Bernard Quaritch had premises at 15 Piccadilly, London.
CD had written to his publisher, John Murray, on McLennan’s behalf (see letter from J. F. McLennan, 8 May 1874 and n. 2, and letter to John Murray, 9 May [1874]).
No new edition of McLennan 1865 was published.
According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), Henrietta Emma and Richard Buckley Litchfield visited Down on 10 May 1874.


McLennan, John Ferguson. 1865. Primitive marriage: an inquiry into the origin of the form of capture in marriage ceremonies. Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black.


Bernard Quaritch interested in reprinting Primitive marriage.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Ferguson McLennan
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Spring Gardens
Source of text
DAR 171: 22
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9458,” accessed on 3 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22