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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Chapman   7 June 1865

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

June 7. 1865

My dear Sir

On the whole I can give a pretty good report especially of the 2 last days; but I had acid vomiting in the evening of June 3rd & 4th.1

I think I have gained in general vigour; but I have had 3 or 4 fits of flatulence every day.

It is certain that the ice does not stop either flatulence or sickness at the time. I enclose a table of rate of pulse just before & after the ice.2 You may see in this table how wrong I was in saying that my pulse is now generally about 60. I am certain that formerly this was the case; but am not so certain whether this has been the rate during the last 2 years since I have been weaker; yet generally I feel sure it has been 60 or under. If you have known cases in which the ice has accelerated the pulse, I shd feel hardly any doubt that this has been so with me.

I apply the ice 3 times daily but never for 1o 30 each time for tho’ it does not contract my chest or chill me, yet after about 1o 15 I generally get weary of it. I could bear it for 1. 30 or I cd put it on 4 times a day if you desired. I always like it much for the 1st hour. With respect to my pulse I think it has become a little irregular with the accelerated action.

Pray do not trouble your self to write unless you have fresh orders to give.

Pray believe me my dear Sir | yours very faithfully | and obliged | Ch. Darwin


CD had been undergoing Chapman’s ice treatment since 20 May 1865; Chapman had last visited CD on 28 May 1865 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). See letter to John Chapman, 16 May [1865] and nn. 3 and 4, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 1 June [1865] and n. 5. The entries in Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) include the notes ‘sickness at night’ for 3 June 1865, ‘slight sick’ for 4 June, and ‘good day’ for both 5 and 6 June. CD had suffered from acid vomiting for some time (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter to J. D. Hooker, [20–]22 February [1864]).
The table of pulse rates has not been found, and Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) does not record CD’s pulse rate during the ice treatment, except for 10 June 1865, which includes the note ‘Very languid & low pulse’. The list of symptoms that CD prepared for Chapman (see Correspondence vol. 13, Appendix IV) included acid vomiting and flatulence.


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


Reports on progress of ice treatment.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Chapman
Sent from
Source of text
University of Virginia Library, Special Collections (3314 1: 44)
Physical description
LS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4854,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

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