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Darwin Correspondence Project

To [William Baxter or W. W. Baxter?]   [1842–82?]1

Please send me a large pot of soft spermaceti ointment.2

C. Darwin


The date range and the addressee are conjectured from the existence of other letters mentioning spermaceti to William Baxter or his son, William Walmisley Baxter, who were chemists in Bromley, Kent, close to Down, where CD lived from 1842 (see n. 2, below, and this supplement, letter to [William Baxter or W. W. Baxter?], 8 December [1842–81].
Spermaceti ointment was used as a mild dressing for blisters, cuts, and grazes (Warren 1859, p. 675); CD also used it in his botanical work (see Correspondence vol. 26, letter to W. W. Baxter, 6 January [1878] and n. 2). It contained five ounces of spermaceti to two ounces of white wax and twenty ounces of almond oil (ibid., letter from W. W. Baxter, 7 January 1878).


Warren, Ira. 1859. Household physician; for the use of families, planters, seamen, and travellers. Boston, Mass.: Higgins, Bradley, and Dayton.


Orders pot of soft spermaceti ointment.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Walmisley Baxter; William Baxter
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.536)
Physical description
ALS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11313,” accessed on 4 October 2023,