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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Dana   30 December [1859]

Down, Bromley, Kent

Dec. 30th

My dear Mr. Dana,

I am most truly & deeply grieved at the news in your letter.1 God grant that you may soon recover. When I think of the amount of labour which you have undergone my only wonder is that you have not broken down sooner. But one often hears of a year’s rest completely restoring the power of the brain.— Most regular medical men sneer at the Water-cure (I do not at all know whether it is adopted in the U. States) but I have tried it repeatedly & always with wonderfully good effects, but not permanent in my case. When I first tried it, I could not sleep & whatever I did in the day haunted me at night with vivid & most wearing repetition.2 The W. cure at once relieved this. It makes the skin act so vigorously that all other organs get a rest. For years I have been in your state, that an hour’s conversation worked me up to that degree that I wished myself dead. But then my head never ultimately suffers; for my peccant part is the stomach & fatigue of any kind always brings on great derangement & ultimately severe vomiting. So that the weak organ seems to save the more important one.— If you come to England I hope you will spare us a week & you need not fear being fatigued here; as I believe I should have to cry, “hold, enough” even before you would.—

You must not think of reading my book for a long time, as my friends tell me it is tough reading.3 It has been far more successful than I even dreamed of & has made some few first rate converts; but has been bitterly attacked. The difficulties are so great that I wonder I have made any converts, though of course I believe in truth of my own dogmas. Most sincerely for your own sake & for that of Natural Science do I hope for your speedy & entire recovery.

Believe me | Yours most truly | C. Darwin.

Footnotes

Dana’s letter has not been found, but see the preceding letter in which CD reports that he had received a letter with the news that Dana was ‘quite disabled in his head’.
CD first tried the water-cure in 1849 (see Correspondence vol. 4).
CD sent a presentation copy of Origin to Dana (see letter to J. D. Dana, 11 November [1859]).

Summary

Grieved at JDD’s illness. Recommends water-cure. Describes his own illness.

The reception of Origin has been more successful than he dreamed.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-2615
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
James Dwight Dana
Sent from
Down
Source of text
DAR 143: 366
Physical description
2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2615,” accessed on 23 March 2019, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2615

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7

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