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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   22 January [1863]1

Down Bromley | Kent

Jan 22d

My dear Sir

Will you be so good as to send the “Origin”, pasting in enclosed paper, & addressed to

Th. Rivers Esqre 2

Nursery Grounds



I shd. be curious to hear some time how the Orchis-Book has gone off,—whether any more copies have sold.3

It is too stiff reading for the Public; if praise from Botanists would sell, it would go off well.—

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Thomas Rivers, 21 January 1863 (see n. 2, below).
In his letter to Thomas Rivers of 15 January [1863], CD offered a copy of one of his works in appreciation of Rivers’s information regarding domestic plant variation. Rivers replied on 21 January 1863, saying he would be ‘delighted’ to receive an autographed copy of Origin.
Orchids was published on 15 May 1862 (Publishers’ Circular 25: 247); 1500 copies were offered for sale (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter to John Murray, 9 April [1862], and Appendix IV). There is a statement of Murray’s account for Orchids in DAR 171.3: 524–5. On 30 June 1862, Murray had 685 copies in stock; by 27 February 1866, there were still 600 copies remaining.


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

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.


Asks that a copy of Origin be sent to Thomas Rivers.

Curious about sale of Orchids. It is too stiff for the public. "If praise from Botanists would sell, it would go off well."

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 f. 127)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3936,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11