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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   24 August [1862]

[HAND]   1. Carlton Terrace | Southampton1

Aug. 24th

My dear Sir

I enclose a cheque for your account, which please return to above address.2

I do not know what you think, but I am well contented with the sale of 768 copies; I shd. hope & expect that the remainder will ultimately be sold.—3

Pray believe me | My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin

You will have to charge me for the 2 or 3 electrotypes sent to America.4 Has M. Scheweizerbart of Stuttgard paid you the 10£ for the cuts for German Edition?5 this sum, I presume, will be in excess of actual cost.—


CD, Emma, and Leonard Darwin were staying with William Erasmus Darwin in Southampton (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix II)).
In his Account book–cash accounts (Down House MS), CD recorded a payment of £17 16s. to Murray on 24 August 1862, marking the entry ‘J Murray   Orchid Book’. The sum probably represents the cost of some or all of the presentation copies of Orchids, charged at a reduced price (see letter to Asa Gray, 9 August [1862] and n. 4). For CD’s presentation list for Orchids, see Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix IV.
The first edition of 1500 copies of Orchids was published on 15 May 1862 (see Freeman 1977, p. 112, and letter to John Murray, 9 April [1862]); CD had been concerned that the book might not sell (see letter to John Murray, 9 [February 1862]).
CD had arranged for Murray to send electrotype plates of three of the illustrations from Orchids for reproduction in Asa Gray’s review of the book in the American Journal of Science and Arts (A. Gray 1862a; see letters to John Murray, 13 June [1862] and 20 [June 1862]).
CD had arranged for Christian Friedrich Schweizerbart, head of the publishing company E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, to purchase from Murray electrotype plates of the illustrations for the German translation of Orchids (Bronn trans. 1862); see letter to John Murray, 13 June [1862].


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.

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.


CD is well content with sale of 768 copies [of Orchids]. Hopes and expects remainder will ultimately be sold.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 125–126)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3699,” accessed on 23 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10