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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. D. Fox   6 January [1865]1

Delamere Ry | Northwich

Jany 6

My dear Darwin

I must write you a few lines to thank you much for your sending me your paper upon the 3 forms of Lythrum Salicaria.2 I have read it with very great pleasure, and shall look at my Garden Variety of it with much more interest than I ever did before, next year.

I forget whether I have told you that my wife brought me a very fine little Boy three weeks since to day.3

Most of our friends condole with us on the affliction but we are well contented to bear it. We have not one too many in our 16.4 14 are now at home—but we shall soon lose my eldest Boy who has taken his degree at Oxford, & will be ordained in March.5

I have now 5 Grandchildren also.

But I will not bother you with more reading. May every blessing be yours and Mrs Darwins in this new year | I am Your affece Cousin | W. D Fox


The year is established by the references to CD’s paper on Lythrum salicaria, and to the birth of a son to Fox (see nn. 2 and 3 below).
‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria. Fox’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for the paper (see Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix III).
Gilbert Basil Fox, born 16 December 1864, was the twelfth child of William Darwin Fox and his second wife, Ellen Sophia. Fox and his first wife, Harriet, had five children, one of whom died in 1853 (Darwin pedigree).
On learning that Fox and his wife were expecting a new baby, CD wrote to Fox: ‘I never heard anything so awful as your sixteenth child!’ (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter to W. D. Fox, 30 November [1864]).
Samuel William Darwin Fox took his BA at Wadham College, Oxford, in 1864. His first clerical position was as curate of St Paul’s, Manningham, Yorkshire, in 1865 (Alum. Oxon., Crockford’s clerical directory).


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.

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

Crockford’s clerical directory: The clerical directory, a biographical and statistical book of reference for facts relating to the clergy and the church. Crockford’s clerical directory etc. London: John Crockford [and others]. 1858–1900.

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.]

‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria’: On the sexual relations of the three forms of Lythrum salicaria. By Charles Darwin. [Read 16 June 1864.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 8 (1865): 169–96. [Collected papers 2: 106–31.]


Thanks CD for his Lythrum paper [Collected papers 2: 106–31].

Tells of the birth of his 16th child. Has five grandchildren.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Darwin Fox
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 164: 183
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4741,” accessed on 14 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13