To Leonard Jenyns 1 April 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Jenyns
I was heartily glad to receive your note & receive some news of you.— I thank you very sincerely for your present:2 it seems to me exactly what I have long wished to read (& it is a most useful book to have as reference); namely a general account of the weather. Of the more purely scientific aspect of the work, I am utterly incapable of judging, for it is years since I attended in the least degree to the subject. But the weather, as weather always interests me, & I daily draw a line on ruled paper to show movement of Barometer.
I have only read a score or so of pages yet; nor shall I be able to finish it for some time, for I have two borrowed Books in hand, which must be finished first.3 Owing, also, to my continued weak health, I am able after my mornings work to do extraordinary little; the least attention to anything quite upsetting me. If I have anything to say, beyond general approbation, which I am sure from what little I have seen, it will have from me, it will be a pleasure to me to write.
You enquire about my family I have now six Boys!! & two girls; & it is the great drawback to my happiness, that they are not very robust; some of them seem to have inherited my detestable constitution.—
I have myself been for the last two years & suppose I shall be two more, very hard, (too hard) at work on my species Book, getting it ready for press. By the way I lately found some of your Observations very useful to me.4 You ask what my Book is about, I fear it is almost de rebus omnibus: my attempt is to look at all facts in Nat. Hist & Geology under the two points of view,—has each species been created independently or have species, like varieties, descended from other species? And the upshot is, that I have become dreadfully heteredox about the immutability of species.—5 I have attended especially to Pigeons & kept all the breeds alive, as the best type of variation under domestication, which I believe throws the greatest light on variation in a state of nature. I am sure I have now given you a long prose about my doings, & most heartily do I wish that my doings were done.—
I hope your own health is pretty good: I sincerely sympathise with you in Mrs Jenyns being an invalid.6
Farewell, dear Jenyns; I often remember the pleasant hours which I have spent with you at Bottisham or rather Swaffham.7 Believe me | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
Thanks LJ for his book [Observations in meteorology (1858)].
CD has been working on his species book [Natural selection].
Has become dreadfully heterodox on immutability of species.
His work on pigeons: variation under domestication throws the greatest light on variation in a state of nature.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2251,” accessed on 29 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2251