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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Murray   6 August [1870]1

50, Albermarle St. | W.

Augt 6

My Dear Sir

I will write to Messrs Clowes to prepare them for the receipt of your MS. directly from you, & I will desire them to give you a written assurance that the Printing shall proceed uninterruptedly usque ad finem—2 I hope at least you may not suffer on the score of health during its progress. Alas this horrid War is a sad damper to Literature & Science. Until the Thundercloud has passed I shall publish little.3

My Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | John Murray

Ch. Darwin Esqr


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Mr Dorrell, 9 August 1870.
Murray refers to the printers William Clowes & Sons and to Descent. Usque ad finem: up to the end (Latin).
The Franco-Prussian war had begun on 19 July 1870 (Wawro 2003, p. 65). Descent was published on 24 February 1871 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


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

Wawro, Geoffrey. 2003. The Franco-Prussian war: the German conquest of France in 1870–1871. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


JM informs CD that he will have Clowes give him written assurance that the printing [of Descent] will proceed without interruption.

The [Franco-Prussian] War is a sad damper on international science and his publishing plans.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50
Source of text
DAR 171: 377
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7295,” accessed on 5 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18