Letter of Charles Darwin to John Murray, 31 March 1859

Darwin's friend, the geologist Sir Charles Lyell, had suggested that Murray publish his work 'On the Origin of Species'. When Darwin contacted Murray, he outlined the work and proposed chapter headings.


Copyright National Library of Scotland

xml mark-up QA

Down Bromley Kent March 31

My Dear Sir

I have heard with pleasure from Sir C. Lyell that
you are inclined to publish my work on the Origin
of Species; but that before deciding & offering any
terms you require to see my M.S. — My work is
divided into 12 chapters, as you will see in appended
table at end of this letter The Introduction, & 3 first chapters are now
in 3 copyists hands; & I hope to have them home
in about 10 days. I defy anyone, not familiar
with my handwriting & odd arrangements to make
out my M.S. till fairly copied. Ch IV will be
ready for copyist in 2 or 3 days. Ch V-IX are
all fully written out, but not finally corrected or
copied ; & would be very difficult to decipher. —
Ch. X is copied & is now in Dr.Hooker's hands. —
Ch XI is in copyist Hands. Ch XII, a short one,
not even fully written out. —

Now you will see state of work: I could send 3 first
chapters well copied in about 10 days, & to the chaptersCh V-IX