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Darwin Correspondence Project

From H. B. Jones   10 February [1866]

Royal Institution of Great Britain

My dear Mr Darwin

I wish I had got over your flatulence; but it is not easy & your progress must be slow.1 However you have done famously so far; and a good change in May abroad or at home ought to do you great good.2 I wish you could get a rough pony & be shaken once daily to make the chemistry go on better3   I think the mineral acid shd be continued & take a dose of the Potass-ammonia when the flatulence is worst4

If you are on a good diet & change it for a worse one in a fortnight I do not see the wisdom of the change5   I send you a model diet with the Exception of a potatoe which is intended to tempt you.6

It should be baked in the oven & made so that it crumbles with the pressure of a fork

I am very glad to hear that you were able to work a little

Yrs most truly | H Bence Jones

Feb 10


In his letter to Jones of 3 January [1866], CD had complained of continuing flatulence while noting the beneficial effect of coffee on the condition. As the present letter lacks direct replies to CD’s observation about oxide of iron and question about taking coffee in his letter of 3 January [1866], it is likely that Jones’s reply to that letter, and a further letter from CD, are missing.
CD went to stay with his brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin, from 21 April until 2 May 1866; on 29 May, CD went to Leith Hill Place, Surrey, returning to Down on 2 June (CD’s ‘Journal’, Appendix II). Leith Hill Place was the home of Emma Darwin’s brother, Josiah Wedgwood III (Freeman 1978).
CD began riding the cob, Tommy, on 4 June 1866 (Freeman 1978, p. 276; Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
In the letter to H. B. Jones, 3 January [1866], CD reported that taking muriatic acid with cayenne pepper and ginger suited him ‘excellently’. Mineral acid is a generic term for inorganic acids, including hydrochloric (formerly muriatic) acid (OED). On the use of acids in the treatment of stomach disorders, see Ringer 1869, pp. 80–2. ‘Potass-ammonia’ probably refers to a chalk-potash and ammonia remedy for acidity (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from William Jenner, [after 24 November] 1864 and n. 3).
In the letter to H. B. Jones, 3 January [1866], CD wrote of various alterations to his diet.
The enclosure has not been found.


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

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

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.

Ringer, Sydney. 1869. A handbook of therapeutics. London: H. K. Lewis.


Sends a diet for CD’s flatulence.

Letter details

Letter no.
Henry Bence Jones
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Royal Institution
Source of text
DAR 168: 77
Physical description
ALS 3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5003,” accessed on 13 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14