DARWIN, Charles.

Autograph letter signed to Henry Colburn.

[late October 1837] Stock Code: 142676
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Discussing the proofing of the Journal of Researches

An unrecorded early letter from Charles Darwin to his publisher Henry Colburn, regarding the proofing of his upcoming first book, the Journal of Researches (now known as Voyage of the Beagle), the seminal account of probably the most important voyage in the history of science.

Darwin completed the first draft of the book in June 1837, and in late September sent the manuscript to Colburn, before leaving for his family home in Shrewsbury. Colburn agreed to supervise the final proof corrections whilst Darwin was in the country. Upon Darwin's return to his London address in Great Marlborough Street (where Colburn also held his offices), he here cancels the arrangement and takes over the proofing process: "I returned from the country on Saturday night, and I will now continue to superintendend sic the revises myself - and I am much obliged for your assistance during my absence". Darwin writes that "now I shall be on the spot, and I shall be able to return the proofs rather quicker", and requests that Mr Whiting send him proof slips more frequently. Darwin has signed "Chas Darwin, Monday Morning, 36 Great Marlborough st.".

Darwin's book was printed by early November, where he discovered his error in leaving the supervision of proofing to Colburn: "During my absence Mr Colburn employed some goose to revise, & he has multiplied, instead of diminishing my oversights" (Darwin to Henslow, 4 November 1837, DCP 384). The book was not published until 1839, as the third volume of the four-volume Narrative of the Beagle.

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Bifolium, page size 181 x 115 mm, letter on two pages, third blank, fourth page as integral address leaf in Darwin's hand.


Two seal chips on address leaf, remains of adhesive tape where previously mounted; head of letter annotated in ink by the collector Mary Hutton: "He accompanied Captain R. FitzRoy in his Voyage round the World, as a Naturalist".


Not recorded in the Darwin Correspondence Project.


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