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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   3 October [1861]1

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

Oct 3d

My dear Sir

I write in haste to know whether you object to my little Orchid Book being of size of Hutcheson on Dog Breaking, which I think is good size & which I mention because you published it.—2

Do you want ornament for cover???3 I care not myself.—

In Haste | My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin

P.S | I was forced to order Blocks, & fixed this size, as Artist comes on Monday;4 but the page might be large; but I shd prefer little Book not to look pretentious.—


Dated by the reference to the publication of Orchids (see letter from John Murray, 23 September 1861).
Murray had published William Nelson Hutchinson’s Dog breaking in 1848. There is an annotated copy of the second edition (W. N. Hutchinson 1850) in the Darwin Library–CUL. See also letter to John Murray, 5 October [1861].
George Brettingham Sowerby Jr arrived at Down on 7 October 1861 to prepare the illustrations for Orchids (Emma Darwin’s diary).


Hutchinson, William Nelson. 1850. Dog breaking. The most expeditious, certain, and easy method; whether great excellence or only mediocrity is required. 2d edition. London: John Murray.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.


Would JM object to size of Orchids being same as W. N. Hutchinson, Dog breeding [1850]? Prefers little book, not to look pretentious.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 110–111)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3275,” accessed on 18 September 2021,

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