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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   3 May 1875

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

May 3 1875

My dear Sir

If Messrs Clowes cannot keep up the type for a sufficient time for you to judge of the sale; though I shd expect whatever sale there may be wd be too slow & gradual for any judgment.1 In this case what do you say to the following proposal: To calculate the price of the book on 1000 copies, but to allow me to have 250 additional copies printed off, I paying the prime cost only of the paper & press-work.

You not to repay me until the 1000 are sold off, & the profits of the extra 250 to be divided between us in the usual manner—   I make this proposal from not thinking it probable that there will ever be a 2nd ed. & thinking it just possible that more than 1000 copies will be ultimately sold.2

I presume the mere paper & press-work for 250 copies wd not be a large sum; but I dare say you could tell me approximately

yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Footnotes

Murray had suggested that his printers William Clowes & Sons keep Insectivorous plants in type for a time in case the demand for the book exceeded a thousand copies (see letter from John Murray, 1 May [1875]). Contrary to CD’s expectations, two thousand more copies were printed in 1875 and another thousand in 1876 (Freeman 1977).
On 23 November 1875, CD noted that he had received £560 from the sales of the book (CD’s Account books–banking account (Down House MS)). A second edition, edited by Francis Darwin, was published in 1888 (Freeman 1977).

Bibliography

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.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Summary

CD proposes setting price [of Insectivorous plants] on a printing of 1000 copies, but to have 250 additional copies printed – with CD paying for paper and press work. JM would not repay CD until 1000 are sold; and profits on the 250 to be divided as usual. CD proposes this because he does not think a second edition will ever be needed.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-9967
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
John Murray
Sent from
Down
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms. 42152 ff. 310–11)
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9967,” accessed on 7 December 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-9967.xml

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

letter