skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   15 November [1870]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Nov. 15

My dear Fox

I suppose that you are now settled for the winter (which has come with a vengeance today) in the Isle of Wight.— My wife wrote about Governesses when I got your letter of Oct. 28th & asked you whether you could come down here, but I suppose that was impossible.—2 You are a good-for-nothing man, not to have said something about your health & strength. I am a good deal used up with the excessive labour to me of correcting proofs of my present book in 2 Vols; & now it will not be finished till end of year.3 I owe many facts to you in the larger part viz on sexual differences of Birds.4 I shall be delighted to send you a copy, whenever it is published, though I have sometimes had misgivings that I ought not to do so, as I fear you will disapprove of my main conclusion on the origin of man; but I can most truly say that I have written nothing without deliberate consideration & acquiring all the knowledge which I possibly could.— I will send it, as I know well that you are a charitable man & do not without good evidence believe in bad motives in others.—5 It is very delightful to me to hear that you, my very old friend, like my other books, & you were one of my earliest masters in Nat. History.6

I wish I had got a little more strength. I feel that each job as finished must be my last.—

Farewell | Your’s affectionately | Charles Darwin


The year is established by CD’s reference to correcting the proofs of Descent (see n. 3, below).
CD was correcting the proof-sheets of Descent, which was published early in 1871.
See Descent 1: 270, 2: 46, 102–3, 104, 107 n. 7, 114, and Correspondence vol. 16.
Fox’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for Descent (see DAR 210.11: 32, and Correspondence vol. 19, Appendix IV).


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

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


Discusses his present book [Descent].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.385)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7370,” accessed on 22 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18