I know I shall not please Agassiz at all. I hear another reprint is in the Press, and the book will excite much attention here, and some controversy...
CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, January 28th .
My dear Gray,
Hooker has forwarded to me your letter to him; and I cannot express how deeply it has gratified me. To receive the approval of a man whom one has long sincerely respected. And whose judgment and knowledge are most universally admitted, is the highest reward an author can possibly wish for; and I thank you heartily for your most kind expressions.
I have been absent from home for a few days, and so could not earlier answer your letter to me of the 10th of January. You have been extremely kind to take so much trouble and interest about the edition. It has been a mistake of my publisher not thinking of sending over the sheets. I had entirely and utterly forgotten your offer of receiving the sheets as printed off. But I must not blame my publisher, for had I remembered your most kind offer I feel pretty sure I should not have taken advantage of it; for I never dreamed of my book being so successful with general readers; I believe I should have laughed at the idea of sending the sheets to America. (In a letter to Mr. Murray, 1860, my father wrote:--"I am amused by Asa Gray's account of the excitement my book has made amongst naturalists in the United States. Agassiz has denounced it in a newspaper, but yet in such terms that it is in fact a fine advertisement!" This seems to refer to a lecture given before the Mercantile Library Association.)
After much consideration, and on the strong advice of Lyell and others, I have resolved to leave the present book as it is (excepting correcting errors, or here and there inserting short sentences) and to use all my strength, WHICH IS BUT LITTLE, to bring out the first part (forming a separate volume with index, etc.) of the three volumes which will make my bigger work; so that I am very unwilling to take up time in making corrections for an American edition. I enclose a list of a few corrections in the second reprint, which you will have received by this time complete, and I could send four or five corrections or additions of equally small importance, or rather of equal brevity. I also intend to write a SHORT preface with a brief history of the subject. These I will set about, as they must some day be done, and I will send them to you in a short time-- the few corrections first, and the preface afterwards, unless I hear that you have given up all idea of a separate edition. You will then be able to judge whether it is worth having the new edition with YOUR REVIEW PREFIXED. Whatever be the nature of your review, I assure you I should feel it a GREAT honour to have my book thus preceded...
ASA GRAY TO CHARLES DARWIN. Cambridge, January 23rd, 1860.
My dear Darwin,
You have my hurried letter telling you of the arrival of the remainder of the sheets of the reprint, and of the stir I had made for a reprint in Boston. Well, all looked pretty well, when, lo, we found that a second New York publishing house had announced a reprint also! I wrote then to both New York publishers, asking them to give way to the AUTHOR and his reprint of a revised edition. I got an answer from the Harpers that they withdraw --from the Appletons that they had got the book OUT (and the next day I saw a copy); but that, "if the work should have any considerable sale, we certainly shall be disposed to pay the author reasonably and liberally."
The Appletons being thus out with their reprint, the Boston house declined to go on. So I wrote to the Appletons taking them at their word, offering to aid their reprint, to give them the use of the alterations in the London reprint, as soon as I find out what they are, etc. etc. And I sent them the first leaf, and asked them to insert in their future issue the additional matter from Butler (A quotation from Butler's 'Analogy,' on the use of the word natural, which in the second edition is placed with the passages from Whewell and Bacon on page ii, opposite the title-page.), which tells just right.