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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Price   [July 1826]1


Dear Darwin

Many thanks for your friendly letter of yesterday wh. I am, thank God able to answer favorably, with my own hand. I have no trace of my disorder but extreme weakness from depletion, wh. is also rapidly going—no one could be more speedy & I am satisfied the attack has cleared my constitution & made a new man of me. I have not felt for a day since Xmas, so well & clear as I do at this moment—farewell blue devils & indigestion & aching shoulders. I shall now take extreme care of my health. I wish you would tell your Father that I forgot to mention that I drank a pint of ale a day during those 3 months, when my health was so particularly good, & wh. he told me ought therefore to be a pattern for my manner of living: at the same time I do not in the least wish to rebel if he thinks malt liquor bad for me, but I have a prejudice in favor of cwrw 2 wh. I have seen made over & over again whereas wine may be the devil’s dam’s milk, for ought I know: I am going to commence the dinner pills, having disbanded all other physic. Please to call at Bisco’s 3 for the prescription, & ask the cuckoldy knave what business he had to keep it, & send it me soon, or I shall be run out. I left my bed on Saturday, having suffered after you left far worse than ever, Stranguary4 being added to my other ailments from excessive blistering, & a very fair imitation of the clap it is, to tell the truth. I hope you hear good accts. of your sister & Stroll to whom give my best regards when you write. I hope you will be in Shrewsbury when I return— I never thought to see you again, being not far from death, as my poor Mother also thought, who tended me like a guardian angel night and day to the injury of her own health wh. is however recovering fast with my own. We go to the sea side as soon as I can move. Buxton is too far. I am glad you derived some pleasure from your tour wh. I much wish I could have joined & should have been glad to assist you by speaking the British language: “chattering” I do not understand— I am in your debt for the transplanter wh. pleases my Mother in theory vastly. She begs to be kindly remembered & is sorry you had such a comfortless visit, but you knew the cause & I hope will not be deterred from a second trial under better auspices. Present my best compts. to your Father & the s⁠⟨⁠is⁠⟩⁠ters & tell the former that I have disinherited my undutiful child & never mean to countenance him again— And do not forget to ask about John Barleycorn. I have shaved my skull & started a devilish smart crop wig, wh. makes my upper works very imposing, but my legs, my dear fellow, are deplorably reduced, & would qualify me to enact Trinculo5 to a shaving. I talk of planting them in a box & watering them, but perchance roast beef, butter milk &c will make ’em grow quite as fast: not forgetting a modicum of cwrw if allowed— We expect my Father from his living tonight. I walk out every day & the view of these glorious mountains & smell of their air is life to me. I am tired & have in deed filled my sheet—

Believe me dear D. Yours v truly J. Price


The references to CD’s tour and Price’s expected return to Shrewsbury make the summer of 1826 a probable date. According to his ‘Journal’ CD toured North Wales with Nathan Hubbersty in mid-June of 1826 (see Correspondence vol. 1, Appendix I). Price was then an Assistant Master at Shrewsbury School.
Welsh for ‘beer’.
Richard Briscoe, Chemist, Castle Street, Shrewsbury (Pigot’s Salop directory 1825).
Strangury: a disease of the urinary organs (OED).
‘I’ll pull thee by the lesser legs: if any be Trinculo’s legs, these are they.’ Shakespeare, The Tempest, 2. 2. 104–6 (Arden edition).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

OED: The Oxford English dictionary. Being a corrected re-issue with an introduction, supplement and bibliography of a new English dictionary. Edited by James A. H. Murray, et al. 12 vols. and supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1970. A supplement to the Oxford English dictionary. 4 vols. Edited by R. W. Burchfield. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1972–86. The Oxford English dictionary. 2d edition. 20 vols. Prepared by J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989. Oxford English dictionary additional series. 3 vols. Edited by John Simpson et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993–7.


Tells CD he is recovering from the illness with which he was afflicted when CD visited.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Price
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 40
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 32,” accessed on 24 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1