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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. V. Carus   23 May [1874]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

May 23d

My dear Sir

As the new Edit. of Descent will not be published till Murray’s sales-day early in November, the Printers have been slow;2 but I received 2 days ago a proof of 1st. sheet (in small type for a cheap edit.) & I have today written for a spare revised proof, which I will send you as soon as received; & I will send revises of the next few sheets.— I have altered position of 2d. Chapter.3

I am extremely glad to hear of the great success of your Lectures.4 As you do not mention your health, I hope it is better. Our plans for the summer are all changed since I last wrote, & at present I do not know when we shall leave home for a month’s holidays, which my wife declares I shall have whether I like it or not.—5

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. V. Carus, 22 May 1874.
The second edition of Descent was published by John Murray on 13 November 1874. The printer was William Clowes & Sons. On Murray’s November sale dinners, at which the leading booksellers could purchase new works at a discount, see Murray 1908–9, p. 540.
Carus was preparing a German translation of Descent 2d ed. (Carus trans. 1875a). CD moved chapter 4 (On the manner of development of man from some lower form) to chapter 2 in the second edition of Descent.
The last extant letter from CD to Carus is that of 19 March [1874]; however, there may have been a later letter that is now missing (see letter from J. V. Carus, 5 April 1874). CD stayed at Abinger in Surrey and at Southampton from 25 July to 24 August 1874 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


Descent 2d ed.: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. London: John Murray. 1874.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

Murray, John. 1908–9. Darwin and his publisher. Science Progress in the Twentieth Century 3: 537–42.


Descent [2d English ed.] will not be published until November. Will send JVC first sheet of revised proofs soon.

Pleased to hear of success of JVC’s lectures.

Summer plans have changed. Does not yet know when he will take a month’s holiday.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9464,” accessed on 30 September 2023,

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