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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   2 July [1858]


July 2d

My dear Fox

Our poor Baby died on 28th at night.—1 One of his nurses has caught Fever. We had resolved not to move the others, after consultation & taking all sorts of precautions; but your letter has been turning point & this very day they all go to Sussex to their Aunt, who is here & takes them.2 We stay till Etty can move & I of course stay till nurse is out of all danger whatever.

You may believe we are terribly anxious, but fear has almost driven away grief.— What a miserable fortnight we have had.—

Many thanks my dear Fox for your most kind & affectionate letter | Yours | C. Darwin

We have all had slight sore-throats, but I often have, & my wife thought it might be in some degree fancy in all.—


Charles Waring Darwin died of scarlet fever on 28 June 1858 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
Fox, having experienced the death of several children in his own household from scarlet fever, had evidently advised CD to move his children out of danger as soon as possible (Correspondence vol. 5, letters to W. D. Fox, 17 July [1853], and 29 [July 1853]). Sarah Elizabeth (Elizabeth) Wedgwood, Emma Darwin’s sister, had arrived at Down House on 25 June 1858. She took the children to her home in Hartfield, Sussex, on 2 July (Emma Darwin’s diary). CD and Emma stayed at Down until9 July.


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


Baby [Charles Waring Darwin] died of scarlet fever on 28 June. "Fear has almost driven away grief."

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 116)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2300,” accessed on 29 January 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7