skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   8 July [1861]

2. Hesketh Crescent | Torquay

July 8th

My dear Fox

Your note has followed us here, where we arrived 4 or 5 days ago.—1 As we wished to try 6 or 8 weeks of sea-side for my eldest girl we thought we would make this awfully long (to us) stretch & come here. We are charmed with the view from this crescent & with the walks all around & we have got a very good House. But is no joke bringing 16 souls & 34 tun of luggage so far.— My eldest girl is still a sad invalid; but certainly improves: she gets up twice every day now & can walk one or two hundred yards.2

I am glad for myself to have this outing & change for I have been a poor wretch for many months. You say not one word about yourself. Are you not a pretty sort of man? It seems indeed strange to hear of your having two daughters married.—3

Poor dear Henslow’s death has been a sad loss to many. He wrote me by dictation a most kind note from his death-bed.—4 L. Jenyns is going to write a biographical notice of him.—5

I shall not go to Manchester;6 but it would be a great temptation to get a sight of you.— How long it is since we met! Farewell my dear old friend | Yours affecty | C. Darwin

My eldest son is going to join as Partner in a Bank at Southampton: I had so good an offer it seemed a pity to reject it.—7

We hear that the Darwins of—(Elston) are coming here.—8


Fox’s letter has not been found. The Darwins left for Torquay on 1 July 1861, spending the night en route in Reading. See ‘Journal’ (Appendix II).
Henrietta Emma Darwin was recuperating slowly from what was thought to be typhus fever suffered in the spring of 1860.
Two of Fox’s daughters by his first marriage had recently married. Eliza Ann Fox married Henry Martyn Sanders, vicar of Skidby, Hull, and Harriet Emma Fox married Samuel Charlesworth Overton (Darwin pedigree).
The letter from John Stevens Henslow, apparently written shortly before his death on 16 May 1861, has not been found.
Jenyns ed. 1862 (see Correspondence vol. 9, Appendix X).
The British Association for the Advancement of Science was to hold its 1861 meeting in Manchester.
CD was arranging for his son William Erasmus Darwin to become a partner with the Southampton and Hampshire Bank. See letters to John Lubbock, 10 July [1861], 1 August [1861], and [2 August 1861].
Elston Hall, near Newark, Nottinghamshire, was the seat of the senior branch of the Darwin family. CD’s grandfather Erasmus Darwin was born at Elston Hall. The head of the family was Francis Rhodes Darwin, husband of Charlotte Maria Cooper Darwin, the granddaughter of Erasmus Darwin’s older brother, William Alvey Darwin. Francis Rhodes took the Darwin family name in 1850 under the provisions of the will of his brother-in-law Robert Alvey Darwin. See Darwin pedigree and Freeman 1978.


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

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.]

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.


Family news.

Henslow’s death a sad loss. Leonard Jenyns will write a biography.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
JY 8 61
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 131)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3204,” accessed on 24 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9