RECORD: Darwin, C. R. [Letter on wine and tobacco as stimulants]. 1883. In Reade, Alfred Arthur ed. Study and stimulants: or the use of intoxicants and narcotics in relation to intellectual life as illustrated by personal communications on the subject, from men of letters and of science. Manchester: A. Heywood and Son, p. 38.
REVISION HISTORY: Scanned and transcribed by Angus Carroll, edited by John van Wyhe. RN1
NOTE: The copy scanned is from the collection of Angus Carroll. With thanks to Alison Pearn for assistance with the correspondence.
I drink a glass of wine daily, and believe I should be better without any, though all doctors urge me to drink wine, as I suffer much from giddiness. I have taken snuff all my life, and regret that I ever acquired the habit, which I have often tried to leave off, and have succeeded for a time. I feel sure that it is a great stimulus and aid in my work. I also daily smoke two little paper cigarettes of Turkish tobacco. This is not a stimulus, but rests me after I have been compelled to talk, with tired memory, more than anything else.2 I am 73 years old.
February 9, 1882.
1 Alfred Arthur Reade (b. 1851), journalist and popular writer. A copy of the original letter is now in CUL-DAR147.292, Calendar 13685. The letter was marked private by Darwin as he felt the details were too personal to be published. This did not stop Reade from publishing the letter after Darwin's death. Reade's transcription is not always accurate.
2 'with tired memory' is a misreading of 'which tires me'. With thanks to the editors of the Correspondence for assistance with unpublished correspondence.
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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
File last updated 2 July, 2012