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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   28 May [1866]1

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

May 28

My dear Sir

You are much the best judge about the number of copies to print off.2 I have corrected the vol. thoroughly & improved it I think a good deal; but have added, which perhaps you will be sorry to hear, about 50 pages.3 I hope you will think it worth while to advertise the book as added to & corrected.4 I suppose you have remembered the lithographed Diagram.5

I trust to your kindness to give me a few copies, for I shall have to give away a dozen or two in addition.6

I am much obliged for your kind expressions about my improved health; & now that the Origin is nearly finished I hope to make real progress in my next book—7

My dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Murray, 25 May [1866].
CD had been revising Origin since 1 March 1866 (see CD’s ‘Journal’, Appendix II), after Murray had informed him that a new edition was called for (see letter from John Murray, 21 February [1866]). The fourth edition of Origin is fifty-seven pages longer than the third edition. The front matter included a list of significant additions.
CD had made the same recommendation to Murray for the third edition of Origin (see Correspondence vol. 9, letter to John Murray, 30 April [1861]). In a letter to H. W. Bates, 9 April [1863] (Correspondence vol. 11), CD expressed his suspicion that Murray had not advertised Origin much.
As with previous editions, the fourth edition of Origin contained only one plate, a diagram illustrating divergence of character (Peckham ed. 1959, p. 211).
For a presentation list for the fourth edition of Origin, see Correspondence vol.14, Appendix IV.
CD refers to Variation, published in 1868.


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

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.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Has corrected and improved Origin.

Now hopes to make real progress [on Variation].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 143–144)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5103,” accessed on 5 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14