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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   21 January [1861]

Down Bromley Kent

Jan 21.

My dear Mr Murray

Please return enclosed & tell me whether you approve.

As 4250 have been sold & 2000 will be printed, if number is to be retained, it will stand “Seventh Thousand”.—1

I think it would be worth while to insert in any advertisement or notice “Third Edition with additions & Corrections”, for the additions are important & I shall give list of them.—2 I am sorry to say that they have already added 20 pages to Book & will I suppose add 30 altogether.3 There will be moreover a short Historical Sketch.4

Please observe that I have corrected only to p. 216 & unless Messrs Clowes get on much quicker the Book (with Index &c) will not be out till end of March at soonest, which is a pity.—5

I hope you will be again generous & give me some copies, for I shall have anyhow to order a good many for my staunchest supporters.—6

Whenever you write please gratify my curiosity by telling me whether you have sold any fair number of my Journal.—7 The scheme seemed to me rash.—

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


CD was working on the proof-sheets of the third edition of Origin (see Correspondence vol. 8, letter to John Murray, 22 [November 1860]. The new edition included ‘Seventh Thousand’ on the title page.
Murray agreed to CD’s suggestion: this information was carried on the title page of the third edition of Origin. The new edition also included a list of ‘Additions and corrections, to the second and third editions’, giving the page number and subject of the various changes that had been made (see Origin 3d ed., pp. xi–xii).
The third edition of Origin ran to 525 pages, 35 more than the second edition.
The third was the first English edition of Origin to include ‘An historical sketch of the recent progress of opinion on the origin of species’ (Origin 3d ed., pp. xiii–xix). This sketch was a modified version of the ‘Preface’ CD had prepared for the revised and augmented American edition and also included in the German translation, both of which were published in 1860 (see Correspondence vol. 8).
The printing firm of William Clowes and Sons was Murray’s preferred printer. The new edition was distributed early in April (see ‘Journal’; Appendix II).
For CD’s presentation list for the third edition of Origin, see Correspondence vol. 9 Appendix VII.
Murray had issued a reprint of CD’s Journal of researches in 1860, stating on the title page that it was the tenth thousand (see Freeman 1977, p. 36). In January 1860, CD recorded that Murray had sold 6,000 copies of this work (see Correspondence vol. 8, Appendix II).


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

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.

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.

Origin 3d ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 3d edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1861.

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.


Thinks third edition of Origin should advertise "additions and corrections", for the additions are important. They will add 30 pages to the book; there will also be a short historical sketch. Asks for some copies for friends.

Also curious to know how Journal of researches has sold. The new issue seemed a rash venture to him.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff.98–99)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3048,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9