Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 76, Issue 4, pp 533–541 | Cite as

Charles Darwin (1758–1778) and the history of the early use of digitalis

Reprinted from the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 1934; 10(2):496–506
  • John F. Fulton
Classic Paper


The evidence which I have just summarized establishes priority of publication concerning the action of digitalis for Erasmus Darwin, but on every other ground, Withering deserves full credit for the discovery. Charles Darwin, the medical student, had been informed of its action by his father and had attempted to account for it on the basis of improvement of lymphatic drainage. But the work, accomplished by the first Charles Darwin is less significant than the abundant evidence of his intellectual ability and precocity, and I have ventured to lay the details of his career before you because of their intrinsic interest and in the hope that the information will serve in a small way to clarify the unsolved problem of the relation of nature to nurture in establishing mental traits and capacities.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Fulton

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