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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Darwin to John Murray   [before 17 December 1863]1

Down Bromley | Kent.

Dear Sir

Mr Darwin who is not well enough to write himself desires me to ask you to be so kind as to send a copy of the last Edition of the Origin of Species to Mr Quaritch Piccadilly with the enclosed note to inform him where it is to be sent.2

I am yours obediently | Emma Darwin

Mr Darwin desires me to say that as you have never hesitated to authorize a foreign translation he has taken upon himself to authorise a translation into Italian without consulting you3


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 [December 1863], in which CD told Joseph Dalton Hooker about the new Italian edition of Origin, and by the recipient’s annotation to the top of the letter: ‘Copy sent to Mr Quaritch Dec. 17’.
The reference is to the third edition of Origin, which was published by John Murray in 1861 (Freeman 1977, p. 85). Bernard Quaritch was a book dealer with premises at 15 Piccadilly, London (Post Office London directory 1863). The note accompanying this letter has not been found.
CD’s letter authorising an Italian translation of Origin has not been found. The first Italian translation was published in Modena by the firm of Nicola Zanichelli, translated by Giovanni Canestrini and Leonardo Salimbeni, in 1864 (Freeman 1977, p. 105). The copy of the third edition of Origin (see n. 2, above) may have been for Canestrini and Salimbeni to use for their translation.


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.

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.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


CD too ill to write.

Asks that a presentation copy of Origin be sent off.

He has authorised an Italian translation of Origin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 128–129)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4352,” accessed on 26 October 2021,

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