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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   19 October [1867]

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

Oct 19th

My dear Sir

In your advertisment of my Book in the Athenæum there is an absurd error (which I formerly pointed out) viz principles of .... . . Election instead of Selection. I have no objection to these “Principles” being inserted in the advertisement, but I think that you agreed with me that “The Variation of Animals & Plants under Domestication” was sufficient. for the Title.—1

I am getting on well.— Vol. I completed. Vol. 2. all sheets corrected the first time, & nearly the half revised. I shall have finished the whole by at latest, if I keep well, by 10th or 12th November.— I hope you have urged Mr Dallas to lose no time about the Index, & that you have ordered the Revises to be sent to him: the Revises wd do perfectly for Index.—2 You could not, I think, have got a better man than Mr. Dallas.—

I hope to Heaven that the Book will not turn out a failure.—

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The advertisement for Variation appeared in the 19 October 1867 issue of the Athenæum, p. 487. The title given was: ‘The variation of animals and plants under domestication; or, the principles of inheritance, reversion, crossing, inter-breeding, and election’. Murray had also made an error in an earlier advertisement of the book under a different title (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter to John Murray 2 June [1865] and n. 3).
William Sweetland Dallas had been invited by Murray to prepare the index to Variation (see letter from John Murray, 23 September [1867]).


Athenæum. 1844. A few words by way of comment on Miss Martineau’s statement. No. 896 (28 December): 1198–9.

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

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


An absurd error ("Election" for "Selection") in the advertisement of Variation. Dallas is the best man for index.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 174–175)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5654,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

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