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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   [23 August 1841]


My dear Fox

I was very glad to hear from you— I had thought of writing but purpoosely deferred it, till I learned how your family were.— You must have gone through dredful suspense & suffering— I hope Mrs Fox has not had more than her usual suffering to endure with her wonderful fortitude.— I am glad to hear the poor Baby’s life is at last pretty secure—1 I well remember your letter to me in the Beagle & your request, which I shall be most happy to comply with.— you did not tell me his proposed name— But before I say anymore I conceive myself bound to tell you, that we have not had Godfathers or Godmothers to our children,—not from any objection to their having such—but as we should in that case have been obliged to have stood proxies & we both disliked the statement of believing anything for another. I earnestly trust this will make no difference in your making me your childs Godpapa, but with your deep feelings on religion, I thought possibly you might much dislike having a Godfather who could [not] stand in propriâ personâ as such.— I feel sure you will prefer my having been open on this head.—

We are all well here and our two babies are, I think, strong healthy ones, & it is an unspeakable comfort this— For myself I have steadily been gaining ground & really believe now I shall some day be quite strong— I write daily for a couple of hours on my Coral volume & take a little walk or ride every day— I grow very tired in the evenings & am not able to go out at that time or hardly receive my nearest relations—but my life ceases to be burthensome, now that I can do something. We are taking steps to leave London & live about 20 miles from it on some Railway— we are going in a few days to see house & land 6 miles north of Windsor: we shall not actually be transplanted till next spring2

I had a letter two days since from Henslow, who appears very happy & flourishing —giving lectures, displays of fireworks, initiating agricultural prizes, & I do not know what besides, for his Parishioners— As I tell him, I wish Botanists were his Parishioners, he would then do a little more scientific work—

I presume your wife & children are at Osmaston & that you are by yourself at Delamere, but I direct this there, as I hope it will catch you.— Pray let me hear from you before long about my being Godfather.— You & I will be then, what all Spaniards who hold that relation to each other, delight to call each other “compadre” so my dear old expectant compadre farewell.

Your affect friend | Charles Darwin 12 Upper Gower St


Samuel William Darwin Fox, born 3 July 1841.
The search for a house was finally successful the following summer. The Darwins moved to Down House, Kent, in September 1842.


Consents to be godfather to WDF’s child.

Sends family news.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
London, Upper Gower St, 12
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 61)
Physical description
ALS 8pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 606,” accessed on 12 June 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2