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Darwin Correspondence Project


To William Turner   29 March [1871]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

March 29th

My dear Sir

Forgive me for troubling you with one line. Since writing my P.S. I have read the part on the influence of the nervous system on the nutrition of parts in your last Edit. of Paget’s Lectures.—2 I had not read before the part in this Edit. & I see how foolish I was.— But still I shd. be extremely grateful for any hint or evidence of the influence of mental attention on the capillary or local circulation of the skin or of any part, to which the mind may be intently & long directed. For instance if thinking intently about a local eruption on the skin (not on the face for shame might possibly intervene) caused it temporarily to redden—or thinking of a tumour caused it to throb, independently of increased heart-action.—

I beg you to excuse me | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to William Turner, 28 March [1871].
See letter to William Turner, 28 March [1871]. CD refers to James Paget’s Lectures on surgical pathology, the 1863 edition of which was edited by Turner (J. Paget 1863).


Comments on influence of nervous system on nutrition of body parts as discussed in James Paget’s Lectures on surgical pathology [delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 3d ed. (1870)]. Asks about mental influence on capillary circulation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Turner, William
Sent from
Source of text
Edinburgh University Library (Dc.2.96.5/5)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7638,” accessed on 27 October 2016,