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Darwin Correspondence Project

From St George Jackson Mivart   6 April 1868

7 North Bank | N.W.

April 6th 1868

My dear Sir.

The paper you left with me I handed to one of my colleagues—1 I was much surprised to see the paragraph in last week’s British Medical Journal & hasten to assure you it was inserted without my consent or approval being asked—2 Nevertheless I trust it may be the means of obtaining you information & the gentlemen who administer chloroform at St Mary’s have been specially requested to observe the matter in which you are interested.3

Believe me | My dear Sir | Your’s very truly | St Geo Mivart.

C. Darwin Esq.


CD evidently met Mivart during his stay in London from 3 March to 1 April 1868 (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix II)). The note he gave Mivart has not been found, but CD’s question was published in the British Medical Journal (see n. 2, below).
The following notice appeared on 4 April 1868 in the British Medical Journal 1 (1868): 332: Mr. Darwin has asked the surgeons of St. Mary’s Hospital to assist him in the solution of the following questions. No doubt other surgeons will also kindly give the results of their experience and observation on the subject. “When a person screams very violently, and is not suffering conscious pain—as under chloroform—in certain brain-injuries, mania, etc., does the platysma myoides contract strongly, drawing the sides of the cheeks downwards, and causing the neck to be transversely wrinkled?”
Mivart was lecturer in comparative anatomy at St Mary’s Hospital medical school in London (ODNB).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Has asked gentlemen who administer chloroform to make observations [on expression?] for CD.

Letter details

Letter no.
St George Jackson Mivart
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, North Bank, 7
Source of text
DAR 171: 184
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6098,” accessed on 29 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16