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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   18 February [1870]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Feb. 18th

My dear Fox

I was very glad to receive your letter with some news of yourself.2 We hope (but it is not quite certain) to be at 6. Q. Anne St on March 4th & stay a week there, & I shall be very glad to see you there once again.—3 But if not, or indeed in any case, will you not come down here & pay us a visit?— We shall all be heartily glad to see you.— From what I remember of Sandown, I can quite believe it the “temple of the winds”. This horrid cold has made me miserable: nothing will keep me decently warm. I have resumed my rides, & am able to do a good deal of writing every day, but I never pass 6 hours without a fit of extreme discomfort, & so I shall go on to the last of my uncomfortable days. Yet with all my discomfort I am very happy, thanks to my dear wife & good children.

They are all pretty well, but George4 is not strong, & I greatly fear he will find the Bar too severe work. I regret this much for he is such an indomitable worker & has so clear a head that I think he wd be very successful. He dined lately at Mr Bristowe’s,5 who has been very kind to him & advised him.— I hope you will get to know William at Southampton, who flourishes in his business & has got a little House at Basset near the common.—6 Frank, (nor 3) is going to be educated as a Doctor, & is going next year to try for Honours in the Science tripos.7 Leonard is head man, ie, Divisional officer, at Woolwich, & will be sure of his commission as Engineer this time next year.—8 Horace is rather an invalid, at a tutor in Suffolk & has great mathematical aptitude, but is I fear too weak to do much9   Henrietta is staying in S. of France, partly for health & partly for pleasure, & Bessy alone is at home—10

By Heavens I have told you enough about us all! One of Caroline’s daughters is married to a clergyman, son of Judge Williams.11

I hope we shall meet. Farewell my dear old friend. | Yours affectionately | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. D. Fox, 15 February [1870].
CD stayed with his brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin, at 6 Queen Anne Street, London, from 5 to 10 March 1870 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
Probably Henry Fox Bristowe, Fox’s nephew.
William Erasmus Darwin was a banker in Southampton.
Francis Darwin was at Trinity College, Cambridge; he graduated with first class honours in the natural sciences tripos in 1870, and then studied medicine at St George’s Hospital, London (ODNB).
Leonard Darwin was at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, and was commissioned in the Royal Engineers in January 1871 (RMA Gentleman Cadet Register (RMAS archives, Sandhurst collection)).
Henrietta Emma Darwin was by this time in Italy (letter from H. E. Darwin to Emma Darwin, 1 February [1870] (DAR 245: 31)). CD also refers to Elizabeth Darwin.
Caroline Sarah Wedgwood’s daughter Margaret Susan married Arthur Charles Vaughan Williams, the son of Edward Vaughan Williams, first judge of common pleas.


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.


Invites WDF to visit.

Describes activities of his children.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
Isle of Wight Record Office (Ac 2008/79)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7113,” accessed on 21 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18