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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   27 January [1867]

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

Jan 27th

My dear Sir

I hope that you will urge your friend to give his judgment soon. He has now had the M.S. for nearly 3 weeks,1 & I shall soon have nothing to do for my chapter on Man is nearly finished.2 Please remember if your friend’s verdict is against me, & you decline to publish as proposed, that I shall suffer great loss of time in arranging some other method of publication. If you decline to publish, I think you will make a mistake, for though I do not believe this book will have nearly so large a sale as the “Origin”, I shall be astonished if it has not a fair sale, for as yet I have found what interests me greatly, likewise interests others, & some of the chapters in my present book have much interested me.

I earnestly beg you to do your best to come to an early decision.—3

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


Murray’s friend was John Milton. In his letter of 9 January [1867], Murray wrote that he had sent the manuscript of Variation to a literary man who was not a man of science (see letter from John Murray, 9 January [1867] and n. 4); Murray said he expected to hear of his impression in a week. For CD’s sceptical response, see his letter to Murray of 10 January [1867].
CD was composing an additional chapter on humans for Variation (see letter to John Murray, 3 January [1867] and n. 5). CD’s chapter was not published in Variation but the material in it was used in Descent and Expression.
CD also expressed anxiety about the publication of Variation in his letter to Murray of 3 January [1867]. For information on the publication of both Origin and Variation, see Freeman 1977.


Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

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.

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


Hopes JM’s friend will give his judgment [on Variation] soon; and urges JM to come to a decision about publishing. CD believes it will have "a fair sale".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 153–154)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5379,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15