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Letter 1055

Darwin, C. R. to Jenyns, Leonard

21 [Jan 1847]

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    Acknowledges receipt of [The naturalist's pocket] almanack edited by LJ. Suggests some improvements.

Transcription

Down Farnborough | Kent

21st

Dear Jenyns

I am very much obliged for the capital little almanack; it so happened that I was wishing for one to keep in my portfolio. I had never seen this kind before & shall certainly get one pro futuro. I think it is very amusing to have a list before one's eyes, of the order of appearance of the plants & animals around one: it gives a fresh interest to each fine day.— There is one point, I shd like to see a little improved, viz the correction for the clock at shorter intervals: most people, I suspect, who like myself, have dials, will wish to be more precise,, than with a margin of three minutes. I always buy a 1s almanack for this sole end.—

By the way your ie. V. Vorst almanack's is very dear; it ought, at least, to be advertised post-free for the 1s— Do you not think a table, (not rules) of conversion of French into English measures & perhaps weights wd be exceedingly useful.—also centi-grade into Fahr.—magnifying powers according to focal distances— in fact you might make it the most useful publication of the age.—

I know what I shd like best of all, namely current metereolog. remarks for each month, with statement of average course of winds & prediction of weather in accordance with movements of the Barometer. People, I think, are always amused at knowing the extremes & means of temp. for corresponding times in other years.—

I hope you will go on with it another year.—

With many thanks, my dear Jenyns. | Yours very truly | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 1055.f1
    Jenyns ed. 1847. In LL 1: 353 n., Francis Darwin cited the following quotation from a letter written to him by Leonard Blomefield (as Jenyns later called himself): This letter relates to a small Almanack first published in 1843, under the name of ‘The Naturalists' Pocket Almanack,’ by Mr. Van Voorst, and which I edited for him. It was intended especially for those who interest themselves in the periodic phenomena of animals and plants, of which a select list was given under each month of the year. The Pocket Almanack contained, moreover, miscellaneous information relating to Zoology and Botany; to Natural History and other scientific societies; to public Museums and Gardens, in addition to the ordinary celestial phenomena found in most other Almanacks. It continued to be issued till 1847, after which year the publication was abandoned.
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    f2 1055.f2
    Robert Waring Darwin kept a record of the flowering and fruiting times of plants in his garden at The Mount in Shrewsbury. A ‘Garden book’ (private collection) contains these details and is arranged so that the family would have known, day by day, what to have expected from their garden, based on the experience of previous years.
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    f3 1055.f3
    Probably the British Almanack, issued annually at a price of one shilling by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.
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    f4 1055.f4
    John Van Voorst, publisher of many natural history works.
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