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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   7 [July 1849]1

Down Farnborough Kent

Saturday 7th.

My dear Fox

You will see by this that we have returned home, having staid 16 instead of 6 weeks. We got home last Saturday.— I go on with the Treatment here, just the same as at Malvern, though in a somewhat relaxed degree, so as to avoid bringing on a crisis.—2 I am building a douche, for Dr. Gully tells me I shall have to follow treatment for a year. I consider the sickness as absolutely cured. And about 3 weeks since I had 12 hours without any flatulence, which showed me that it was possible that even that can be cured, as Dr. G. has always said he could.—

The Water Cure is assuredly a grand discovery & how sorry I am I did not hear of it, or rather that I was not somehow compelled to try it some five or six years ago.— Much I owe you for your large share in making me go this Spring.

Remember your promise of coming here this summer, & if possible I hope you will bring Mrs. Fox.—3

If able I shall be at Birmingham for Brit. Assoc, for I am honoured with being appointed one of the Vice Presidents,4 & Dr Gully said he shd. like to know in autumn, how I shd. stand leaving off treatment with some mental excitement.—

Till then I mean to remain slave to treatment. How I have prosed about myself!.

Yours affectionately | C. Darwin


Dated by Fox’s endorsement and by CD’s reference to having just returned to Down from Malvern. He arrived home on Saturday, 30 June 1849 (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix I).
In James Manby Gully’s usage, a ‘crisis’ was brought about by the transfer of morbid action from the original seat of the disorder to some less important part where it was eliminated by secretions (Gully 1846, p. 2).
There is no record of Fox visiting CD until 2 November (Emma Darwin’s diary).
In the Report of the meeting of the British Association it is stated that CD was also requested ‘to collect and receive observations’ on ‘the subject of Luminosity in Living Animals … with a view to determine the causes of such luminosity, the circumstances, the species of animals which possess it, and the state of knowledge on the subject’ (Report of the 19th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at Birmingham in 1849, p. xxi).


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

Gully, James Manby. 1846. The water cure in chronic disease: an exposition of the causes, progress, & terminations of various chronic diseases of the digestive organs, lungs, nerves, limbs, & skin; and of their treatment by water, and other hygienic means. London: J. Churchill.


Continues water-cure treatment at home and must do so for a year. Considers himself absolutely cured.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 74)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1249,” accessed on 4 June 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4