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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Charles Layton   24 November [1869]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Nov. 24th.

Dear Sir

I am much obliged by your note. You say that Messrs. Appleton “would also like to have a set of stereotyped plates of New edit of Origin of Species on same terms.” I am not sure that I understand this, for I have not permitted the Origin to be stereotyped in England. If it means that Messrs. Appleton will print a

[…] I have long earnestly wished for a new edition of the Origin in the United States, as it is 92 pages longer than the 2nd edition, besides endless small though important corrections.2 I feel sure that the continued large sale of this book in England, Germany & France has depended on my keeping up each edition to the existing standard of science,3 I hope I am right in supposing that Messrs. Appleton are willing to print in some form a new edition, for though unwilling to act in a disobliging manner towards them I had resolved soon to write to Professor Asa Gray to ask him to find some publisher who would print the new edition of the Origin, on condition of my supplying him with the sheets of my new book as they were printed & which book will probably have a large sale4 […] I should like in case the answer is favorable to send in M.S. half a dozen small corrections for the Origin5 […]

you that although Mr. Murray has inserted a notice of my new book, I do not suppose it will be printed for nearly a year, although a considerable portion is ready for the press.6

Dear Sir, | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin

You will understand that I cannot agree with Mr Appleton about my new book, unless he is willing to print a new Edit of Origin.7 The price of the latter might fairly be raised a little; as Mr Murray has by 1s. & it shd be advertised as largely added to & corrected.


Parts of this letter were published in Correspondence vol. 17, but in 2012 more text was published in a sale catalogue. The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Charles Layton, 22 November 1869 (Correspondence vol. 17).
See Correspondence vol. 17, letter from Charles Layton, 22 November 1869. The first US edition of Origin was published from stereotypes of the second English edition by D. Appleton & Co. in 1860.
On foreign language translations of Origin, see Freeman 1977.
CD had asked Orange Judd & Co., the American publishers of Variation, about the possibility of publishing a new American edition of Origin; see Correspondence vol. 17, letter from Orange Judd & Co., 21 April 1869. CD did not favour use of stereotype plates as suggested in the letter from Charles Layton, 22 November 1869 (Correspondence vol. 17); see ibid, letter to Asa Gray, 1 June [1869] and n. 9.
CD had just sent a few corrections to the fifth English edition of Origin (1869) for its publication in French and German (see Correspondence vol. 17, letter to J. V. Carus, 20 November 1869, and letter to J. J. Moulinié, 20 November 1869).
An advance notice of the publication of Descent had been published by John Murray in the Academy, 9 October 1869, pp. 15–16. Descent was published on 24 February 1871 (Freeman 1977).
Origin 2d US ed. was based on the fifth English edition with additions and corrections and published by D. Appleton in 1870.


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

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

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.

Origin 2d US ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. From the fifth London edition, with additions and corrections. New York: D. Appleton. 1870.

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.

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


CD long anxious for new American edition of Origin to incorporate corrections since 2d ed. [of 1860]; believes such updating has kept English and continental sales high. If Appleton unable to comply, he will ask Asa Gray to find another publisher.

Mentions possible arrangements for U. S. edition of new book [Descent].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles James (Charles) Layton
Sent from
Source of text
Parke-Bernet (dealers) (31 March 1964), Sotheby’s (dealers) (21 May 1968), William Patrick Watson (dealer) catalogue 18 (2012)
Physical description
4pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7007,” accessed on 9 May 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17 and 24 (Supplement)