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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   [24 April 1845]1

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Fox

It is some time since we have had any communication. I write now chiefly to say, that I heard some little time ago from Shrewsbury, in which they said they had wished to have asked you to have come to the Shrewsbury Agricult. Meeting,2 but some invited & more self-offerers have filled the house, more in my opinion than ought to have been allowed. I shall keep out of the way. Mr & Mrs. Wilmot of Nott:3 will be there & Mr & Mrs. Miss Gifford that was G. Holland & E. Holland.4 By the way, was it not an odd & friendly thing, Mrs. Darwin & young Mr D. of Elston5 called on my Brother a few weeks ago; & it seems the young man, whose appearance my Brother liked, has called several times formerly at Grt. Marlborough St. They would not let my Brother return the call.— I have forgotten to add that they desire me to say that they shall be particularly glad to see you at Shrewsbury, if you are inclined to go there any other time either before or after July. My Father has been pretty well lately; but yesterday we heard that his leg has suddenly inflamed & was very painful I hope it will not last; I intend going there for a week very shortly.6

We have had Ellen Tollet staying with us, & heard indirectly much of you: the Tolletts & you seem to have many acquaintances in common.

Our children are very well, notwithstanding this most cold-catching weather: poor Emma is as bad as she always is, when she is, as she is. (this last sentence is quite Shakespearian)7

As for myself, my most important news is that I have agreed with Murray for a second Edition of my Journal in the Colonial Library in three numbers; & thanks to the Geological fates, I have written my S. American volume the first time over.8

The only other piece of news about myself is, that I am turned into a Lincolnshire squire! my Father having invested for me in a Farm of 324 acres of good land near Alford.9

Have you read that strange unphilosophical, but capitally-written book, the Vestiges,10 it has made more talk than any work of late, & has been by some attributed to me.—at which I ought to be much flattered & unflattered.

Ever yours My dear Fox.— | C. Darwin


The date is based on CD’s completion of the first draft of South America (see n. 8, below).
In 1845 the annual meeting of the Royal Agricultural Society took place in Shrewsbury. The principal day of the show was 17 July.
Possibly Edward Woollett Wilmot of Worksop Manor, Nottinghamshire, a governor of the Society, and his wife, Emma Elizabeth née Darwin.
According to his ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 3, Appendix II), CD left for Shrewsbury on 29 April, returning on 10 May.
Emma Darwin was pregnant with her fifth child.
CD completed the first draft of South America on 24 April (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 3, Appendix II). Regarding the agreement with John Murray, see letter to John Murray, 17 [April 1845].
The Beesby farm. CD’s Investment Book (Down House MS) shows that he paid £213 13s. 8d. interest to his father on 10 August 1846. The total amount advanced by his father was £13,592 0s. 712 d. See also Keith 1955, p. 222.


[Chambers, Robert.] 1844. Vestiges of the natural history of creation. London: John Churchill.

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

Keith, Arthur. 1955. Darwin revalued. London: Watts.

South America: Geological observations on South America. Being the third part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1846.


Murray will publish a second edition of the Journal [of researches].

CD has finished first version of South America.

A strange book, The vestiges [of creation (1844)] has appeared and some have attributed it to CD. He is "flattered and unflattered".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 69)
Physical description
ALS 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 859,” accessed on 4 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3