To Asa Gray 28 January 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Gray
Hooker has forwarded to me your letter to him; & I cannot express how deeply it has gratified me.1 To receive the approval of a man, whom one has long most sincerely respected, & whose judgment & knowledge are universally admitted, is the highest reward an author can possibly wish for; & I thank you heartily for your most kind expressions.—
I have been absent from home for a few days, & so could not earlier answer your letter to me of the 10th of Jany. —2 You have been extremely kind to take so much trouble & interest about the Edition. It has been a mistake of my publisher not thinking of sending over the sheets. I had entirely & utterly forgotten your offer of receiving the sheets as printed off.3 But I must not blame my publisher; for had I remembered your most kind offer, I feel pretty sure I shd not have taken advantage of it; for I never dreamed of my Book being so successful with general readers: I believe I shd. have laughed at the idea of sending the sheets to America.—
After much consideration & on the strong advice of Lyell & others, I have resolved to leave the present book as it is (excepting correcting errors or here & there inserting short sentence) & to use all my strength which is but little to bring out the first part (forming a separate volume with index &c) of the three volumes which will make my bigger work; so that I am very unwilling to take up time in making corrections for an American Edition.— I enclose list of few corrections in the 2d Reprint, which you will have received by this time complete;4 & I could send 4 or 5 corrections or additions of equally small importance, or rather of equal brevity.—5 I, also, intend to write a short Preface with brief history of subject.—6 These I will set about, as they must some day be done & I will send them you in a short time,—the few corrections first, & the preface afterwards, unless I hear that you have given up all idea of separate Edition. You will then be able to judge whether it is worth having new Edition with your Review prefixed.7 Whatever be the nature of your Review, I assure you I should feel it a great honour to have my Book thus preceded.— In business matters it is always best to speak out plainly: as I should not, as we have managed it, get anything from an American publisher, if you do print an Edition & can get any profit, nothing should induce me to touch a penny of it.8 My terms with Murray are that I receive of Profits, & he ;—9 with respect to latter, I can of course say nothing.— But I expect when you come to consider the case, you will not think a new Edition worth thinking about; though an answer to Agassiz would be a great advantage to subject.—
Thank you much for telling me the magnificent compliment of Wyman & for sending me extract from Agassiz.10 I cannot see the force of his argument; & if he wished to puff my book he could not have been more ingenious.— I am delighted to hear that H. D. Rogers, the Professor at Glasgow & so excellent a geologist goes very long way with my views.—11
Believe me, my dear Gray I feel all your most generous sympathy & assistance
Yours most truly | C. Darwin
I shall value much at any time your criticisms, either in your Review or by letter.
If an American edition of Origin is considered worth while, CD would like AG’s reviews prefixed to it.
Will use all his strength to produce first part of his three-volume big work [Variation].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2665,” accessed on 13 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2665