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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. D. Fox   28 November [1864]1

Delamere Ry | Northwich

Nov 28

My dear Darwin

I was much pleased to see you have the Copley Medal given you by RS.2 I suppose it is a great honour from such a Socy—but I am sadly ignorant of such matters.

I wish I could hear that you were in better health,3 but I suppose your destiny is to let your Brain destroy your Body. If equal to writing a few lines it wd give me great pleasure to again see your well known handwriting—but do not think of it if you are not equal to it.

I hope you are all well as, I am thankful to say we are except my poor Wife who is shortly expecting our 16 th Baby, and therefore not very comfortable.4

We quite hoped we had fulfilled our destiny in this respect, but I have no doubt the little stranger will find a nook among ⁠⟨⁠the⁠⟩⁠ others. How children ⁠⟨⁠do⁠⟩⁠ grow— My eldest ⁠⟨⁠is⁠⟩⁠ just expecting her 3d child—5 My eldest Boy has just taken his degree at Oxford.6

It is awful to reflect upon— What old fellows we get. I do not imagine I shall leave home till the spring, when I shall probably be in or about London—& if you and Mrs Darwin can have me for a night, I will try ⁠⟨⁠on⁠⟩⁠ce more see you.

With our Kindest regards | ⁠⟨⁠My⁠⟩⁠ dear Darwin | ⁠⟨⁠Your⁠⟩⁠ affec Friend & Cousin | W. D. Fox.


The year is established by the reference to the Copley Medal (see n. 2, below).
The Council of the Royal Society of London voted to award CD the Copley Medal on 3 November 1864 (Royal Society, Council minutes).
CD’s health had improved since the spring of 1864 (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 April [1864] and n. 5; however, he was still weak and suffered intermittently from sickness (see, for example, letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 [June 1864], letter to John Lubbock, 19 November [1864] and n. 5, and letter from William Jenner, 24 November 1864).
Gilbert Basil Fox, born 16 December 1864, was the twelfth child of W. D. Fox and his second wife, Ellen Sophia. Fox and his first wife, Harriet, had five children, one of whom died in 1853 (Darwin pedigree).
Eliza Anne Fox had married Henry Martyn Sanders. Their third child was Laura Katherine Sanders (Darwin pedigree).
Samuel William Darwin Fox matriculated at Wadham College, Oxford; he received his BA from Oxford University in 1864 (Alum. Oxon.).


Alum. Oxon.: Alumni Oxonienses: the members of the University of Oxford, 1500–1886: … with a record of their degrees. Being the matriculation register of the university. Alphabetically arranged, revised, and annotated by Joseph Foster. 8 vols. London and Oxford: Parker & Co. 1887–91.

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.]


Congratulates CD on the Copley Medal.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Darwin Fox
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 164: 182
Physical description
ALS 4pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4683,” accessed on 26 March 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12