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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   2 June [1865]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

June 2d

My dear Sir

I write a line to say that there is no chance of my being ready for publication this autumn.1 I have entirely lost the last five or six weeks from illness: I am now better but know not in the least whether I shall keep well enough to work. This is a great evil. I am, of course, answerable for the few woodcuts in hand.—2 I am never idle when I can do anything.—

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

In your advertisement in “Reader” of my Book “Reunion” was printed for “Reversion3


CD was preparing the manuscript of Variation for publication. He started working on it intermittently in 1860; from 16 November 1864 he had been revising the early chapters (see Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix II). In March 1865, he had written to Murray saying that he hoped the book would go to press in early autumn (see letter to John Murray, 31 March [1865]). CD agreed to Murray’s proposal to announce the work as a forthcoming publication, but warned that whether or not the book would, in fact, be ready by autumn would depend on his health (see letter from John Murray, 1 April 1865, and letter to John Murray, 4 April [1865] and n. 3).
See letter from John Murray, 1 April 1865, letter to John Murray, 4 April [1865], and letter from W. B. Tegetmeier to John Murray and R. F. Cooke, 17 April 1865.
Murray had advertised Variation in the Reader, 15 April 1865, p. 427 (see letter to John Murray, 31 March [1865] and n. 2). He advertised the book again in the 1 August 1865 issue of Publishers’ Circular, p. 386, under the title: ‘Domesticated Animals and Cultivated Plants, or the Principles of Variation, Inheritance, Reversion, Crossing, Interbreeding, and Selection under Domestication’.


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

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


There is no chance of publication [of Variation] by autumn, because of CD’s illness.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 f. 130)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4850,” accessed on 11 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13