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Darwin Correspondence Project

To James Crichton-Browne   7 September [1873]1


Sept. 7,

My dear Sir

I must write one line to thank you again for the Vol. of Reports which I have at last read—nearly the whole of. I have been profoundly interested. It seems clear that the physiology of the Brain will soon be largely understood. What a step it is. You have reason to be very proud of the volume.2 I have read also with great interest your paper on Epilepsy: what a blessing it will be to many if your means can be largely applied.3

With the greatest respect | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from James Crichton-Browne, 16 April 1873.
Crichton-Browne had evidently sent CD the third volume of the West Riding Lunatic Asylum Medical Reports; its subject was cerebral physiology and it had been published in July 1873 (see letter from James Crichton-Browne, 16 April 1873 and n. 2). He was the founder and editor of the West Riding Lunatic Asylum Medical Reports, and published six volumes between 1871 and 1876. CD’s annotated copies of the first, second, and fifth volumes are in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 94).
CD refers to Crichton-Browne’s paper on the use of nitrite of amyl in epilepsy (Crichton-Browne 1873), also in the third volume of the West Riding Lunatic Asylum Medical Reports.


Crichton-Browne, James. 1873. Nitrite of amyl in epilepsy. West Riding Lunatic Asylum Medical Reports 3: 153–74.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.


Thanks JC-B for volume of Asylum reports and paper on epilepsy. Seems clear from reports that physiology of brain will soon be largely understood.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Crichton-Browne
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 345
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9045,” accessed on 18 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21