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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   20 February [1854]

Down Farnborough Kent

Feb. 20th

My dear Henslow

Enclosed is the answer to your query: when complete the work will consist, I believe, of 6 numbers, lately only 4 were published.—1

I am glad to hear that you have been lecturing, as a sign, I trust, that you have been pretty well.2 Your “Museum Notices” if published, would, I should think, make a complete Encyclopædia of all the Sciences!

Have you seen Hooker’s book3 yet: it is most beautifully got up & illustrated, & I feel greatly honoured & very much gratified at the wonderful compliment of its dedication to me.— I have read about a hundred pages, & like it very much.—

I saw a letter a few days ago from Lyell from Madeira:4 he was enjoying the scenery & geology beyond measure & was going to start in a few days for Teneriffe.— Mrs. Bunbury has profited in health wonderfully from her voyage, & been better than she has been for years.—5

Do, I most heartily beg you, keep to your proposal of paying us a visit on your return from Mr. Jenyn’s.6 & we will go to the Crystal Palace.7

We could send to Edenbridge Station (eleven miles) to meet you, sleep here, & go next day or next day but one to the Palace; & thus the great rectangle which the S.E. Railway makes, would be cut off.—8

My dear Henslow, I most sincerely hope that you are well.— | Ever yours | C. Darwin


The work referred to has not been identified.
Henslow, one of the founders in 1848 of the Ipswich Museum and president after 1850, gave frequent public lectures on various aspects of natural history at the museum (Russell-Gebbett 1977, pp. 115–18).
J. D. Hooker 1854a.
K. M. Lyell ed. 1881, 2: 191–3. See letter to Charles Lyell, 18 February [1854].
Frances Bunbury had had a severe illness in September 1852 from which she made only a slow recovery. Initially, while the others toured Madeira on horseback, she was conveyed in a ‘hammock slung to a pole, and carried by two men’. By 27 January 1854, however, Charles James Fox Bunbury reported that ‘Fanny is delightfully well and strong, full of spirit, “up to anything,” is on horseback for several hours a day, and quite a different creature from what she was a year ago. She has made a great number of very characteristic and accurate sketches … and she is indefatigable in making and calculating barometrical observations for Charles Lyell.’ (F. J. Bunbury ed. 1891–3, Middle life 2: 164, 205).
Leonard Jenyns, Henslow’s brother-in-law, had moved to Swainswick, near Bath in 1850.
The Crystal Palace, main hall of the Great Exhibition of 1851, was re-erected in Sydenham, Kent, in 1854. CD evidently planned to visit it in the summer, since it was not opened until 10 June (Annual Register 1854, Chronicle, pp. 97–100, and Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 19, 13 May 1854, p. 311).
The South Eastern Railway took a circuitous route through Kent: from London it went due south to Reigate, then turned east to run to Tonbridge and thence to Ashford and Canterbury. To pick up Henslow at Edenbridge, south of Bromley, and then drop him off at Sydenham, the site of the Crystal Palace, would cut the corner off the railway journey between these points.


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


Honoured and gratified by the dedication [to CD] of Hooker’s book [Himalayan journals].

News of Lyell from Madeira.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
Source of text
Sutro Library, California State Library, San Francisco (Crocker collection: folder #11)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1554,” accessed on 28 June 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5