This letter, though loose, came into the YCBA with Wright’s notebook (see previous blog post). Written by Erasmus Darwin, it was probably meant for Wright whose poorly eyes and a variety of ailments led him to seek Darwin’s advice on frequent occasions. Whoever the recipient was however, appears to have followed The good doctor’s prescriptions a bit too enthusiastically! It would be interesting to see if his prescription appears in surviving manuscripts…it is perhaps only in this way that we will ever know for sure whether this particular piece of advice was addressed to Wright or someone else entirely.
The letter reads:
Lichfield Augt. 3 -80
I am happy to hear you have found so much benefit from sea-bathing in respect to the small callosites behind your ears, & the inflammation of your eyelids. The canquor you mention consequent to bathing may probably be owing to your continuing too long in the water. I should certainly advise you to persist in your use of bathing as long as it is agreeable to you to remain upon the coast. And afterwards to use a partial bathing in (illegible word) sea water, moistening your face and neck, (and your hair) well with it every night.
And you may at any time make use of the ointment with safety.
I am, Sir,
Your much obliged & obedt. servt
E. Darwin (signed)