skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   [7 October 1849]1

Down Farnborough Kent


My dear Henslow

I am extremely much obliged to you for your long letter on Benefit Clubs, which appears to me full of the most valuable suggestions: I have just sent it off to Mr Innes.—2 Possibly either he or I may have to trouble you with a few further queries, but I hope not. The rules sent are considerably different from some of our adjoining clubs.—

Many thanks also for the fossil cirripedes—which I am very glad to have, as I can now open & break as many as I require: do not be insulted at my returning the postage of the parcel.— I really do not know who can help you with regard to Secondary fossils, but I will not forget your wish.—3

I was ungrateful not to have thanked you for your Engraving,4 which I value much & shall have framed: it is very like, but I am not quite satisfied with it: I like in some respect the Photograph better.—

I enclose a letter just received from Hooker;5 I fear the greater part will be too Geolog. for Miss Henslow, but she will probably like to see parts of it.— When she returns it to me, will she be so good as to tell me how I ought to address a letter to him.— His thanks for my dull & few letters, I have most truly felt like burning coals on my head: my conscience acquits me of forgetting him, but it makes me feel very guilty of idleness & stupidity

Yours most truly obliged | C. Darwin


Dated from the reference to the letter from JD. Hooker, 24 June 1849, which CD received on or around 4 October as mentioned in letter to J. D. Hooker, 12 October 1849. The conjectured date is the Monday following 4 October.
CD was treasurer of the Down Coal Club and may have been investigating ways in which he and John Innes, the vicar of Down, could establish a local club that would enable villagers who were members to save and accumulate insurance benefits. After March 1850, CD’s Account Book (Down House MS) shows entries for subscriptions to the Down Friendly Club, which was apparently established in that year and of which CD also became treasurer.
Henslow was gathering fossils to illustrate a lecture to the Hadleigh Farmers’ Club (Russell-Gebbett 1977, p. 96).
The engraving was probably a copy of Thomas Herbert Maguire’s lithographic portrait of Henslow, taken from the series of ‘Portraits of Honorary Members of the Ipswich Museum’, financed and published by George Ransome. The issue of the first 14 portraits, which included Henslow’s, was announced in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 42, 20 October 1849, pp. 662–3.


Russell-Gebbett, Jean. 1977. Henslow of Hitcham: botanist, educationalist and clergyman. Lavenham, Suffolk: Terence Dalton.


Thanks JSH for information and suggestions on benefit clubs,

and for a shipment of fossil cirripedes.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 93: A89–A90
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1283,” accessed on 4 March 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4