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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Murray   9 March [1871]1

50, Albemarle St. | W.

Mar. 9

Dear Mr Darwin

I am not surprised at the view you take of Mr Gerald Masseys offer—good easy man χρυσεα χαλκειωα εκατομβοια εννεαβοιωα I will take care to return his book. The system of extorting books from authors & publishers is carried too far.2

I am printing not 1500 but 2000 of your Book—as a Second Edition— It is still greatly in demand—but I cannot have copies of 2nd Edn. before Wedy next3

You shall have copies for yourself as before.4 I will make my Calculations of profits & cost as soon as possible. The latter being so small the former ought to be large—

My Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | John Murray

Chas Darwin Esqr

CD annotations

3.1 You shall … as before.] underl pencil
End of letter: ‘good news about sale. Please to send 9 copies as directed   You say that “you shall have copies as before”.— but do you mean 30, which was the number before.— I hope I shall not use so many, & if I do not, it will reduce my enormous number already given away. Though no doubt I shall have to give away many [more].’5 ink


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Murray, 8 March [1871].
See letter to John Murray, 8 March [1871]. χρύσεα χαλκείων, εκατομβοι’ εννεαβοίων: gold for bronze, the worth of a hundred oxen for the worth of nine (Greek). It is a reference to an exchange of armour that was very much to the advantage of the man with the cheaper armour to start with (Homer, Iliad 6: 236).
The reference is to the second printing of Descent. See letter to John Murray, 8 March [1871]. In 1871, the Wednesday following 9 March was 15 March.
CD’s annotation is a draft of his reply to Murray. See letter to John Murray, 13 March 1871.


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


JM will print 2000 more copies of Descent as a second edition [issue]. Profits should be large as expenses are small.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Albemarle St, 50
Source of text
DAR 171: 391
Physical description
2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7559,” accessed on 18 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19