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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   [17 January 1860]1

〈reprint〉, your new book,— promise to allow you copy right equivalent— will not wait for electrotypes of the cuts.—2

But they (& I) want you to send a note or two—to go at end, and a preface—a few words—to identify it as your ed. & to secure the market against any other reprint. Send at once any corrections you are making for your 2d ed.3

I noted, with pleasure, your son’s success at Cambridge.4

At my house, a neighbor mentioned a case of man, he knew, born legless—two of whose children were equally so. I am trying to get authentic evidence about it. 〈section missing

Do you know of dogs which—without ever having been taught, lick their paws and then wash their faces like a cat? A black- & tan we have does so regularly, I know not where he picked up the habit.— he must have inherited it.

Ever Yours, | A. Gray

CD annotations

1.1 〈reprint〉 … about it. 4.3] crossed pencil
5.1 Do you … regularly, 5.2] double scored blue crayon
End of letter: ‘(Instinct—)’ | ‘Animaux fossile de [Pi Vermi]pencil; ‘Index | London’5 ink, crossed ink; ‘Extraordinary kind— *another set of [interl] new sheets—& scored sheets— return latter. A few additions for final note   Preface consult Lyell—’6 ink, crossed ink


Dated on the assumption that this is the letter referred to by CD as ‘your letter of the 17th’ in his letter to Asa Gray, 1 February [1860].
See letter from Asa Gray, [10 January 1860], in which Gray discusses his attempt to secure an authorised American edition of Origin. His remarks may relate to his negotiations with the Boston firm of Ticknor and Fields. But see letter from Asa Gray, 23 January 1860, in which Gray relates how the news that a New York publishing house had already printed an edition has changed his plans. However, CD did eventually supply a preface, several additional notes, and a supplement to D. Appleton & Co.’s revised and augmented edition of Origin. See Appendix IV.
Gray was about to receive proof-sheets of the second English edition of Origin, sent to him by John Murray in December 1859 (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to John Murray, 22 December [1859]). He was not yet aware that the second edition had been issued on 7 January 1860 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
William Erasmus Darwin had won a scholarship at Christ’s College, Cambridge (Cambridge University Calendar 1860).
The annotations are possibly an aide-mémoire for books that CD wished to acquire. See letter to Williams and Norgate, 29 [January 1860].


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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.


Discusses arrangements for American edition of Origin.

Observations on apparently inherited instinct in a dog.

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 165: 102
Physical description
2pp inc †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2563,” accessed on 10 April 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8