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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   27 August [1845]

Down Bromley Kent

Aug 27th.—

My dear Sir

I returned everything to the Printers on Tuesday night.— I am much obliged for your note: the method by which you propose to pay me the 150£ will suit me, and I will acknowledge the note whenever I receive it.—

Will you please particularly to see, that one of my 12 copies is sent not later than Monday to Mr Lyell at 16 Hart St.; as he wishes to take it to America with him on Tuesday.—

Please to send the other 11 copies to Mr. Bain’s 1. Haymarket my Bookseller & Binder (marking outside copies for Mr. Darwin) not later than Tuesday or Wednesday night.

With respect to the Woodcuts: that of the Lizard to be put back to Mr Lyell’s Elements: four of them are your property, viz. that at p. 15/ p. 137/ p. 236/ p. 246/.1 All the remaining ones, please see carefully packed & returned to me, (if done with by Tuesday with the Books to Mr. Bain; if not then done with, directed to me at the Geological Soc: Somerset House; marked “not to be forwarded”.): Should you ever want a reprint; I can have no doubt, that I can borrow them from Mrs Smith & Elder again.—2

I am much obliged for the pleasant manner, in which you have transacted the business with me.—

I beg as you as an especial favour, that should my volume sell well, that you will take the trouble to inform me; both to gratify my vanity, as Author, & what I care equally for, that I may know, that you have had no cause to repent undertaking this little work.

Believe ⁠⟨⁠me my d⁠⟩⁠ear Sir | Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin J. Murray Esqre P.S. Should you ever wish to publish old Books of Travel; I strongly recommend you to think of Hearne’s Travels,3 (strongly praised by Wordsworth);4 they are to my mind admirable & little known.— Drury’s Madagascar5 is also little known for its merits—


Three of the original woodcuts for the first edition, which John Murray had presumably obtained from Henry Colburn, with one further woodcut of the scissor-beak bird (Rhynchops nigra) made at Murray’s expense (see letter to John Murray, [31 May 1845]).
The remaining woodcuts were borrowed from Smith, Elder & Co., the publishers of Coral reefs and Volcanic islands. See letters to John Murray, [31 May 1845] and [27 July 1845].
In the headnote to ‘The complaint of a forsaken Indian woman’, which appeared originally in William Wordsworth’s Lyrical ballads (1798).


Coral reefs: The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1842.

Drury, Robert. 1729. Madagascar: or, Robert Drury’s journal, during fifteen years captivity on that island. London.

Hearne, Samuel. 1795. A journey from Prince of Wales’s Fort, in Hudson’s Bay, to the Northern Ocean … in the years 1769, 1770, 1771, & 1772. London: A. Strahan and T. Cadell.

Volcanic islands: Geological observations on the volcanic islands, visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle, together with some brief notices on the geology of Australia and the Cape of Good Hope. Being the second part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1844.


Has finished MS for second edition of Journal of researches. Instructs JM regarding author’s copies, and woodcuts; asks to be informed if volume sells well.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42153 ff.8–9)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 908,” accessed on 1 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3