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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   [after 6 December 1856]1


You can tear off the first page & send it to Fisher & you will have no more trouble on subject.—2

I was very glad to have your letter & hear a little news of you.— Your success with your village girls strikes me as nothing less than marvellous.3 I am delighted to hear how well your son is going on,4 & that the by me truly honoured name of Henslow will have a Botanical successor.— We are all pretty well, & my Boys are now d.65 Is it not awful? I am working away steadily & very hard at my work on Variation; & I find the whole subject deeply interesting, but horribly perplexed.—

My dear Henslow | Your affectionate old Pupil | C. Darwin


The letter could have been written at any time after the birth of Charles Waring Darwin, but CD’s reference implies that this is the first that Henslow knew of the baby (see n. 5, below).
Francis Fisher was a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge (see Correspondence vol. 5, letter from J. S. Henslow, 29 June 1855).
Henslow offered a course in botany for the school children of his parish in Hitcham. In 1856 the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette carried a series of his ‘Practical lessons for beginners in botany’. (See also Correspondence vol. 5, letter to J. S. Henslow, 28 July [1855]).
George Henslow, aged 21, was an undergraduate at Christ’s College, Cambridge.
Henslow referred to CD’s children as little ‘d’s’ (see Correspondence vol. 2, letter from J. S. Henslow, 9 October 1843). Charles Waring Darwin, born 6 December, was CD’s sixth son.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


He is steadily and very hard at work on "Variation" [Natural selection] and finds the whole subject "deeply interesting but horribly perplexed".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 93: A115
Physical description
ALS 2pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2006,” accessed on 21 February 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6