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Letter 11799

Fox, W. D. to Darwin, C. R.

19 Dec [1856]

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    Informs CD that in his experience with peas he has never found the seed to deteriorate.


Delamere | Ry | Northwich

Dec 19

My dear Darwin

I am got back from Malvern very much better for Dr Gully. I sadly miss the Douche here & wish I had yours. My substitutes are 3 pails of water thrown over me on rising before a shallow—& 6 minutes water poured down spine at Noon—but they do not fill the place of the Douche. It certainly is a wonderful system, & the class of Incurables getting well there is quite a study. All the Drs are making fortunes. I think there are eight there now, who have plenty to do with Gullys leavings.

I have today received the enclosed letter in answer to my <section excised>

``Peas are grown extensively by the Messrs Sharp (Sleaford) and as they are considered liable to mésalliances considerable precautions are employed to secure separation''—Gard Ch Dec 15, 828

I noted this, the week after you had made enquiries about Leguminous Plants hybridising. As ``in the multitude of Counsellors is wisdom'' I will add my experience upon the same plant, Pease. I have grown ``The Queen Pea''—a great favorite with us some ten years past, with many other sorts in Garden by them, & never find the seed deteriorate in the least, & I do not therefore believe Messrs. Sharp.

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 11799.f1
    Dated by CD's use of the information given in the letter in Natural selection (see n. 4, below).
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    f2 11799.f2
    Fox visited James Manby Gully's hydropathic establishment in Malvern, Worcestershire, on many occasions. In October 1856 he underwent treatment on his leg (see Correspondence vol. 6, letters to W. D. Fox, 3 October [1856] and 20 October [1856]).
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    f3 11799.f3
    CD had erected a douche in the garden at Down in 1849 to enable him to continue the cold-water treatment that he had begun at Gully's establishment in Malvern (see Correspondence vol. 4, letter to W. D. Fox, 4 September [1850]). By 1853, CD no longer used the douche (see Correspondence vol 5, letter to Edward Cresy, 29 April [1853]).
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    f4 11799.f4
    Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 13 December 1856, p. 823. Fox gave the wrong page number. CD cited this quotation in chapter 3 of his species book, `On the possibility of all organic beings occasionally crossing' (Natural selection, p. 70). This chapter was begun on 13 October 1856 and completed on 16 December (`Journal'; Appendix II); however, CD continued to add relevant information to it at later dates. The nursery and seed-supplying firm of Sharpe and Co. was owned by Charles Sharpe of Sleaford, Lincolnshire (Post Office directory of Lincolnshire 1861).
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    f5 11799.f5
    CD's letter has not been found.
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    f6 11799.f6
    See n. 4, above.
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