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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Murray   6 January [1876]1

50, Albemarle St. | W.

Jan 6

My Dear Sir

At last a move has become perceptible in the Expression book. That is to say I cannot supply the demand made at my sale by 40 copies wanted for home use.—

I have therefore ordered 500 plates to be worked:—hitherto an unnecessary expense while the 2000 copies lay dormant in my warehouse— I hope the move may continue—2

The Index of Var. under Dom has been for 2 days in Printers hands—3

Cooke is feeling his way as to the numbers to print so will write you word as soon as he is able to determine.4

I am My Dear Sir | yours faithfully | John Murray

Chas Darwin Esqr


The year is established by the reference to the publication of Variation 2d ed. (see n. 3, below).
Eighty copies of Expression were sold at Murray’s annual sale dinner in November 1875 (DAR 210.11: 4; on sale dinners, see J. Murray 1908–9, p. 540). Of 7000 copies printed of the first edition of Expression in 1872, 6200 were sold immediately (Nature, 14 November 1872, p. 35). A total of 2404 copies remained unsold by September 1873, including a second print run of 2000 made in December 1872, and only 7 had been sold at the trade sale in November 1874 (Correspondence vol. 20, letter from R. F. Cooke, 6 December 1872; Correspondence vol. 21, letter from John Murray, 25 September [1873]; Correspondence vol. 22, letter from R. F. Cooke, 17 November 1874).
The second edition of Variation, published in February 1876, was printed by William Clowes & Sons; they were responsible for entering CD’s corrections to the index (see Publishers’ Circular, 1 March 1876, p. 168, and Correspondence vol. 23, letter to R. F. Cooke, 29 August [1875]).
Robert Francis Cooke, who was managing the publication of the second edition of Variation on Murray’s behalf, had proposed a print run of 1250 (see Correspondence vol. 23, letter from R. F. Cooke, 22 October 1875).


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

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Murray, John. 1908–9. Darwin and his publisher. Science Progress in the Twentieth Century 3: 537–42.

Variation 2d ed.: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1875.

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


At last, Expression is beginning to sell again.

Cooke has not yet decided on number of Variation [2d ed.] to print.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50
Source of text
DAR 171: 481
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10347,” accessed on 6 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24