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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   [12 February 1859]1

Moor Park, Farnham | Surrey


My dear Fox

It is long since we have had any communication, so I am tempted to send you a scrap to extract a scrap from you, with news about yourself.— I have been extra bad of late, with the old severe vomiting rather often & much distressing swimming of the head; I have been here a week & shall stay another & it has already done me good.2 I am taking Pepsine, ie the chief element of the gastric juice, & I think it does me good & at first was charmed with it. My abstract is the cause, I believe of the main part of the ills to which my flesh is heir to; but I have only two more chapters & to correct all, & then I shall be a comparatively free man.— I have had the great satisfaction of converting Hooker & I believe Huxley & I think Lyell is much staggered.

We are a very pleasant party here & are very comfortable & I am glad to say that not one of Dr Lane’s patients has given him up & he gets a few fresh ones pretty regularly.3 He is most eager to build an Establishment near the Crystal Palace; but I fear will fail for want of Funds.—4 All my home party are with the Langtons & they went there on account of Etty, who has lately fallen back grievously owing to a very slight attack of fever.—5

William is very happy at Cambridge & he has changed into my old rooms & has taken my old engravings & with old Impey,6 it must be a sort of resurrection.

Let me some time have a note telling me about yourself & belongings

My dear Fox | Ever yours most truly | C. Darwin


Dated by CD’s visit to Moor Park hydropathic establishment (see n. 2, below). The only Saturday during the visit on which CD was not travelling to or from Down was 12 February.
CD stayed at Moor Park from 5 to 19 February 1859 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
CD refers to the scandal surrounding Edward Wickstead Lane in 1858, relating to his alleged adultery (see letters to W. D. Fox, 24 June [1858] and 27 June [1858]).
Lane took over Sudbrook Park in Richmond, Surrey, in 1860 (Metcalfe 1906, p. 56).
Charlotte Langton was Emma Darwin’s sister. She and her husband Charles lived at Hartfield Lodge, Hartfield, Sussex. Henrietta Emma Darwin had been ill for much of January (Emma Darwin’s diary).


Metcalfe, Richard. 1906. The rise and progress of hydropathy in England and Scotland. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co.


Undergoing hydropathic treatment for his old ailment.

The "Abstract" [Origin] is the cause. Only two chapters to do.

His satisfaction that he believes he has convinced Hooker and Huxley and staggered Lyell.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Moor Park
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 106)
Physical description
ALS 5pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2412,” accessed on 20 May 2024,

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