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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   25 December [1859]

Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 25th.

My dear Fox

I wish you as happy a Christmas as you deserve & I am sure that ought to be a very happy one.— Fifteen round the Fire in your room,—I never before realised what a party you are!1 I fear you cannot say much good about yourself, as you do not say it, & seem to have gone about so little in London.— We returned home last Friday fortnight. The last 10 days at Ilkley, I was splendidly well & for the first week at home; but since then I have had as bad a week as man could well have with incessant discomfort, I may say misery.— I have necessarily been very busy during these weeks but not with work which would be any strain to any other mortal man. I was hardly able from lameness, Boils &c to give Water-cure a fair trial this time, but I think we shall go there again next early summer.

My Book has been very successful in the ordinary sense; & I have had to reprint with few corrections a new Edit of 3000 copies. Kingsley has permitted me to print a good sentence on the theological bearing of my work.2 The Book has already made a few enthusiastic & first-rate converts, viz Lyell, Hooker, Huxley, Carpenter &c.— It will, I find, attract some little attention abroad. I daresay parts may be fanciful & I look at it as certain that there will be a large amount of error, though I cannot as yet see such errors.—

I am going soon to begin my bigger book, which I shall publish as 3 separate volumes, with distinct titles, but with a general title in addition.— I think this will make the work less hard labour.— Here is an egotistical note for you my dear old friend.—

Yours affecty | C. Darwin


Fox had thirteen children, five from his first marriage and eight from his marriage to Ellen Sophia Fox (Darwin pedigree).


Darwin pedigree: Pedigree of the family of Darwin. Compiled by H. Farnham Burke. N.p.: privately printed. 1888. [Reprinted in facsimile in Darwin pedigrees, by Richard Broke Freeman. London: printed for the author. 1984.]


His poor health keeps him from work.

His book [Origin] is a success "in the ordinary sense" – has had to reprint another 3000 copies.

Will now begin his "bigger book" which he plans to publish in three separate volumes with distinct titles and also a general title.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 125)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2604,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

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