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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Murray   17 February [1875]1

50, Albemarle St. | W.

Feby 17

My Dear Sir

I shall have no hesitation in sending a new Edn of your “Variation under Domestication” to Press whenever it suits your convenience to revise it.2 We must print it to conform with the last Editions of your other Books & I will make calculations as to page & type3   There has been no great move in ‘the Descent” since my Sale   The Stereo-Plates have been sent to Appleton4

I am | My Dear Sir | yours very sincerely | John Murray

Chas Darwin Esq

I have sold about 1300 of the Descent.

Mr Cooke was quite right in telling you that the 2000 Copies when all sold will not produce more than £100" profit. I shall be happy to send you a cheque for £66"

Thus you see cheap Editions involve some pecuniary sacrifice!5

Footnotes

The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Murray, 16 February [1875].
See letter to John Murray, 16 February [1875]. Variation 2d ed. was published in the second half of February 1876, but the title page gives 1875 as the year of publication (see Publishers’ circular 1 March 1876, p. 168, and Freeman 1977).
Later editions of CD’s works were stereotyped so that new impressions could be issued when required.
CD had asked about sales of Descent 2d ed. in his letter to Murray of 16 February [1875]. Murray refers to the annual sale dinner he held for the book trade (J. Murray 1908–9, p. 540). D. Appleton & Co. published the second edition of Descent in New York in 1875 (Descent 2d US ed.), using stereotype plates supplied by Murray for £50 (see Correspondence vol 22, letter to D. Appleton & Co., 5 November 1874). When stereotype plates were made, the cost of re-setting the type for subsequent printings was eliminated.
Murray had published a cheap edition of Origin in 1872 (Origin 6th ed.) and a cheap edition of Descent in 1874 (Descent 2d ed.). CD was informed by Robert Francis Cooke that cheap editions were more profitable if the print run was 5000 copies and if the edition was stereotyped to reduce the cost of future printings (see Correspondence vol. 22, letters from R. F. Cooke, 16 June 1874 and 12 November 1874). The last extant letter from Cooke before this time was that of 17 November 1874 (Correspondence vol. 22). The letter from Cooke suggesting a profit of less than £100 has not been found.

Bibliography

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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

Descent 2d US ed.: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. New York: D. Appleton. 1875.

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.

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

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.

Variation 2d ed.: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1875.

Summary

JM expresses his willingness to publish a new edition of Variation whenever CD revises it.

Descent [2d ed.] has not sold much since the annual sale – 1300 copies altogether.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-9861
From
John Murray
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50
Source of text
DAR 171: 444
Physical description
2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9861,” accessed on 7 December 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-9861.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23

letter