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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   22 October [1870]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Oct 22

My dear Sir

My family think, & I quite agree with them, that the binding of Domestic Animals with plain lettering, no golden ornaments & smooth cover, looks much better than the Origin.—2

I always give list on back of Title of my books— Can you without much trouble tell me soon how many copies you have printed of my Naturalist’s Voyage: some years ago I made out, by adding 1500 copies printed by Colburn, that the number was 10,000; & it seems absurd to go on printing same number.—3

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

What is date of your sale?4


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Murray, 24 October [1870].
CD refers to the binding of Variation and Origin; see also Peckham ed. 1959, p. 17, and R. B. Freeman 1977, p. 123.
The reference is to the editions of Journal of researches (1839, 1845, 1852, and 1860). The spine of the 1845 edition read Naturalist’s voyage, and the spine of the 1860 edition read Naturalist’s voyage round the world (R. B. Freeman 1977, p. 32). Journal of researches was first published by Henry Colburn as the third volume of The narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s ships Adventure and Beagle in 1839 (Journal and remarks); it was reissued by Colburn as an independent volume (Journal of researches) in 1839 and 1840. The second edition was published by John Murray in 1845, and reissued in 1852 and 1860, with the tenth thousand issued in 1860. See R. B. Freeman 1977, pp. 31–40.
On Murray’s November ‘sale dinners’ for the principal booksellers, see J. Murray 1908–9, p. 540.


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.

Journal and remarks: Journal and remarks. 1832–1836. By Charles Darwin. Vol. 3 of Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle’s circumnavigation of the globe. London: Henry Colburn. 1839. [Separately published as Journal of researches.]

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.

Murray, John. 1908–9. Darwin and his publisher. Science Progress in the Twentieth Century 3: 537–42.

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.


He agrees with his family that binding of Variation looks much better than Origin.

Asks JM to report the number of copies he has printed of Naturalist’s Voyage [Journal of researches].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 218–19)
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7348,” accessed on 26 June 2022,

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