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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Walmisley Baxter   23 September [1857–9?]1


Sept 23

Dear Sir

I am sorry to say that the returned gloves are not at all tougher or stiffer than those which I possess. If you could get me a pair made with stiffer hairs, or bristles, I shd. be very much obliged.2

Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin.


The year span is conjectured from the date when W. W. Baxter took over the Bromley pharmacy of his father, William Baxter (1857), and based on the years after then when CD took the most hydropathic treatments (see n. 2, below). CD gave up hydropathy after 1863 (Browne 2002, p. 238), and he was not at home on 23 September in 1860, 1862, and 1863. He underwent a number of hydropathic treatments in 1857, 1858, and 1859. See Correspondence vols. 6–11. There is a handwritten note on the letter, reading, ‘from Wm Baxter Junr March 18[88]. | Bromley Kent’, which suggests that W. W. Baxter sent the letter to someone else after CD’s death. However, it is possible that the letter was written to his father. CD first took the water cure in 1849.
Horsehair gloves were used to apply friction as part of hydropathic treatment, including as part of the treatment for nervous indigestion, from which CD suffered (Gully 1846, p. 162).


The returned gloves are similar to some he has already, and he would prefer a pair with stiffer bristles.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Walmisley Baxter
Sent from
Source of text
Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh, 4 February 2009
Physical description
ALS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2142F,” accessed on 25 June 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18 (Supplement)