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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   23 May [1863]

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

May 23d

My dear Fox

Many thanks for your kind note of enquiry.1 I cannot say much for myself. We have lately been staying at Hartfield & Leith Hill Place (& I gave to Caroline your kind messages) for a fortnight;2 but the change did me no good & I have been mostly in bed for the last week from my old enemy sickness. We gave up Malvern on account of my Eczema;3 but it is all gone & perhaps after the holidays we may go there, unless I improve. Gully will be a great loss & I hardly know whom to consult there. I must be under some experienced man, for I could not stand much hard treatment. All this everlasting illness has stopped my work much.— I am glad you told me about Gully, for I had heard only a rumour.—4

Thanks about Illustrated Times, but I have seen it.5 There has been a much better squib, on Owen & Huxley about the Brain; part of which appeared in Public Opinion.—6

I hope the world goes pretty well with you my old friend. I cannot say it does with me. Our youngest Boy is a regular invalid with severe indigestion, clearly inherited from me.7

Farewell | Yours ever truly | C. Darwin


See letters from W. D. Fox, 6 February [1863] and 12 March [1863]. According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), the Darwin family visited Hartfield Grove, Hartfield, Sussex, and Leith Hill Place, near Dorking, Surrey, the homes of Charles Langton and Joshiah Wedgwood III, respectively, from 27 April to 13 May 1863. Caroline Sarah Wedgwood was CD’s sister and Fox’s second cousin.
CD had recently had a recurrence of eczema; during eczema attacks, CD’s general health improved (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 March [1863] and n. 6).
James Manby Gully was the proprietor of a hydropathic establishment in Malvern, Worcestershire (see letter from W. D. Fox, [16–22 May 1863] and n. 4). In the event, CD consulted James Smith Ayerst (see letter to W. D. Fox, 4 [September 1863]).
See letter from W. D. Fox, [16–22 May 1863] and n. 3. The reference is to the Illustrated Times, 2 May 1863, p. 317, 9 May 1863, p. 333, and 16 May 1863, p. 348.
The references are to Anon. 1863a, part of which was published in Public Opinion 3 (1863): 497–8, and to Richard Owen and Thomas Henry Huxley (see Correspondence vol.11, Appendix VIII).
Horace Darwin had been ill since January 1862 (see Correspondence vol. 10), and CD’s health had been poor since the end of February 1863.


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


Health has been poor but eczema is improved.

A "squib" about Owen and Huxley on the brain has appeared in Public Opinion [3 (1863): 497–8].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
MY 24 63
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 139)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4181,” accessed on 5 December 2021,

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