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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   25–6 October [1865]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Oct. 25

My dear Fox

It is a long time since we have had any communication & I should like much to hear how you are yourself as well as Mrs Fox1 & all your family.

I know you will wish to hear about me. I have had a bad time for the last 6 months & have been able to do no scientific work. I have put myself under Dr Bence Jones’s care & he has stopped my vomiting by a scanty diet of toast & meat; but I cannot recover my strength.2 I know you are half a Doctor therefore I thought you wd like to hear these details.

My Sister Susan’s health has lately been much failing & I fear from the last accounts that her state is becoming serious.3 As for the rest of us we are pretty well, at least for Darwins, & that is not saying much. My children however are all well I am thankful to say

Oct 26. I had dictated thus far yesterday, & now by an odd chance your kind & welcome letter has arrived.4 I heartily rejoice at the good account you give of yourself, patriarch as you are with your half dozen grandchildren   I congratulate you most sincerely on the brilliant success of your son & my Godson.5 My eldest son6 is established as a banker at Southampton & is fairly well contented with his lot. My second son George has just passed his Little go at Trin. Coll.7 He has a turn for mathematics, & means to try for a scholarship there this Easter.8 As for myself I have not gone out of my grounds for the last 12 months; but on Nov. 7. we go for a week to Erasmus’s in order that Dr Bence Jones may see me two or three times.9 I hope this may coincide with part of your visit, as I shd like extremely to see you again for a few minutes,—more than that I fear I cd not stand.

My wife desires to join in very kind remembrances to Mrs Fox | My dear old friend | Yours affectionately | C. Darwin


According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), CD began his diet under the supervision of Henry Bence Jones on 24 July 1865. See also letters to Asa Gray, 15 August [1865], n. 12, and 19 October [1865] and n. 6.
Susan Elizabeth Darwin lived at the Mount, the Darwin family residence in Shrewsbury.
‘Little-go’: ‘the popular name … for the first examination for the degree of B.A., officially called … “The Previous Examination” at Cambridge’ (OED). George Howard Darwin matriculated at Trinity College in October 1864.
George received a prize for achieving first class in the Easter term examination, 1866 (Cambridge University calendar 1867, p. 397).


Cambridge University calendar: The Cambridge University calendar. Cambridge: W. Page [and others]. 1796–1950.

OED: The Oxford English dictionary. Being a corrected re-issue with an introduction, supplement and bibliography of a new English dictionary. Edited by James A. H. Murray, et al. 12 vols. and supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1970. A supplement to the Oxford English dictionary. 4 vols. Edited by R. W. Burchfield. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1972–86. The Oxford English dictionary. 2d edition. 20 vols. Prepared by J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989. Oxford English dictionary additional series. 3 vols. Edited by John Simpson et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993–7.


Bad health during last six months has prevented scientific work.

News of family.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
OC 27 65
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 146)
Physical description
LS(A) 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4924,” accessed on 29 March 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13