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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   23 March [1842]

12 Upper Gower St

March. 23d

My dear Fox.

Your affecting account of the loss of your poor wife1 was forwarded to me yesterday by Susan.— The cessation of her sufferings, which she seems to have borne with such noble, & devoted patience, must be a great relief to all.— I truly sympathise with you, though never in my life, having lost one near relation,2 I daresay I cannot imagine, how severe grief, such as yours, must be, & how little the longest expectation can resign one to the blow, when it falls. Few, I am sure will bear it better than you, although from your most affectionate disposition I cannot fancy anyone feeling it more deeply.— How fortunate Miss Fletcher’s arrival was.3

Your children must be now an infinite comfort to you; I trust they are well & again cheerful, for it is their peculiar blessing to love sweetly & yet not to mourn long.—

—Do write to me, my dear old friend, as soon as you have leisure & some degree of inclination & tell me how you are in health & how your children are— believe me my dear Fox | Your sincere friend | Charles Darwin


Harriet Fox died in childbirth on 19 March 1842 (Darwin Pedigree).
CD’s mother, Susannah Darwin, died on 15 July 1817 (Darwin Pedigree), when CD was eight years old. In later years he could ‘remember hardly anything about her’ (Autobiography, p. 22). See also Correspondence vol. 2, Appendix III.
Harriet Fox’s older sister.


Autobiography: The autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809–1882. With original omissions restored. Edited with appendix and notes by Nora Barlow. London: Collins. 1958.

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

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.]


Letter of condolence on the death of WDF’s wife [Harriet Fletcher Fox].

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 57)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 624,” accessed on 18 July 2024,

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