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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   23 March [1863]1

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

March 23d

My dear Fox

I am particularly glad to have the authentic particulars & your own cases; both of which I shall give on your authority.2 In the old note I, no doubt, read 23 for 13 lambs: at the time I supposed that the ewes had bred for two seasons.— The whole case seems a good one for showing preponderance of one colour over other.—3

Many thanks.—

We doubt a little about Malvern, for I am having an attack of Eczema on my face, which does me as much good as Gout does others; & which renders cold water to my face intolerable; so that I could not stand water-cure of any kind, as I found at Ilkley, when I had first attack of this horrid & blessed eczema.—4


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letters from W. D. Fox, 12 March [1863], and to W. D. Fox, 16 [March 1863].
Fox’s letter has not been found; however, see letters to W. D. Fox, 9 March [1863] and 16 [March 1863], and letter from W. D. Fox, 12 March [1863]. CD wrote a draft of the section of Variation dealing with inheritance (Variation 2: 1–84) between 23 January and 1 April 1863 (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix II)); the cases given by Fox are mentioned on his authority in Variation 2: 30–1 and 40.
The letter from Fox to which CD refers has not been found; however, see the letter to W. D. Fox, 9 March [1863] and n. 1.
CD refers to James Manby Gully’s hydropathic establishment in Great Malvern, Worcestershire (see letter to W. D. Fox, 16 [March 1863] and n. 4), and to his visit to a hydropathic establishment in Ilkley, Yorkshire in 1859 (see Correspondence vol. 7). CD often found an attack of eczema to have an energising effect upon him (see, for example, letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 March [1863]).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks WDF for authentic details of number and colour of lambs [Variation 2: 30].

Complains of his eczema.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.292)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4057,” accessed on 4 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11