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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   [11 July 1831]



My dear Sir

I should have written to you sometime ago, only I was determined to wait for the Clinometer: & I am very glad to say I think it will answer admirably: I put all the tables in my bedroom, at every conceivable angle & direction I will venture to say I have measured them as accurately as any Geologist going could do.— It cost 25s. made of wood, but the lid with plate of brass graduated.— Cary1 did not approve of a bar for the plumb: so that I had heavy ball instead.— I have been working at so many things: that I have not got on much with Geology: I suspect, the first expedition I take, clinometer & hammer in hand, will send me back very little wiser & good deal more puzzled than when I started.— As yet I have only indulged in hypotheses; but they are such powerful ones, that I suppose, if they were put into action but for one day, the world would come to an end.— I have not heard from Prof: Sedgwick, so I am afraid he will not pay the Severn formations a visit.— I hope & trust you did your best to urge him:— And now for the Canaries.— I wrote to Mr. Ramsay, the little information which I got in town.— But as perhaps he had left Cam. I will rehearse it.— Passage 20£: ships touch & return, during the months of June to February.— But not seeing myself the Broker, the 2 most important questions remain unanswered, viz. whether it means June inclusive & how often they sail.— I will find this out before very long.— I hope you continue to fan your Canary ardor: I read & reread Humboldt, do you do the same, & I am sure nothing will prevent us seeing the Great Dragon tree.— Would you tell L. Jenyns, that his magnificent present of Diptera has not been wasted on me Would you ask him how he manages Diptera when too small for a pin to go through.— I am very anxious to hear how Mrs. Henslow is.— I am afraid she will wish me at the bottom of the Bay of Biscay, for having been the first to think of the Canaries.— I am going now to trouble you with several questions.— Do you know A. Ways direction? Do you by any chance recollect the name of a fly that Mr. Bird sent through Downes.—2 And now for a troublesome commission, would you be kind enough to exert your wellknow judgment & discretion in choosing for me a Stilton Cheese; fit for eating pretty soon.— Would you have it directed to Shrewsbury & I will pay the man, when I come up in October.—

Excuse all the trouble I am giving you, & Believe me my dear Sir | Yours ever most sincerely | Chas. Darwin

Eyton begs to be most kindly remembered to you.— his mind is in a fine tropical glow.—


George and John Cary, the London instrument makers.


Has been learning to use a clinometer.

Has investigated passage and fares for Canaries trip.

Rereading Humboldt.

Asks JSH to thank Jenyns for present of Diptera.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
Shrewsbury JY 12 1831
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Henslow letters: 1 DAR/1/1/1)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 102,” accessed on 4 March 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1