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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   5 December [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 5

My dear Mr Murray

One line to thank you for your note & to remind you (in case you shd. forget) that copies of the Diagram must be Printed off.—2 May I earnestly beg you to have the Plate carefully inspected; for if it prints the small letters & figures badly, I assure you that parts of my Book will be as unintelligible as Hebrew.—

I shall be glad to hear, when you have decided how many copies you will print off—the more the better for me in all ways, as far as compatible with safety;3 for I hope never again to have to make so many corrections or rather additions which I have made in hopes of making my many rather stupid reviewers at least understand what is meant.—   I hope & think I shall improve the Book considerably.—

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

There is very good article in Macmillan on the “Origin”.—4


Dated by the reference to the new edition of Origin and to the article in Macmillan’s Magazine (see n. 4, below).
The diagram in Origin illustrating divergence was inserted between pages 116 and 117. It had been separately printed for the first edition (see Correspondence vol. 7).
According to CD’s journal (de Beer ed. 1959), 2000 copies of the third edition of Origin were initially printed. See also Peckham ed. 1959, p. 21.


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

Fawcett, Henry. 1860. A popular exposition of Mr Darwin on the origin of species. Macmillan’s Magazine 3 (1861): 81–92.

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.


Reminds JM that copies of diagram must be printed off [for Origin, 3d ed.]. It must be carefully reproduced or parts of the book will be as unintelligible as Hebrew. Hopes never again to have to make so many additions in order that many rather stupid reviewers will at least understand what he meant.

There is a good article on the Origin in Macmillan’s Magazine [by Henry Fawcett].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff.60–61)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3010,” accessed on 13 July 2020,

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