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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   [20 June 1837]

My dear Henslow

I am going to make a request, which I do not at all know whether you will like to comply with, but without any preface this is the case. Captain Beaufort told me to direct my letter about government assistance to him asking him for information to what quarter, I ought to apply; he said he would then take it to Ld. Minto or to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and sound them.— Now on a sudden Capt. Beaufort says he has been thinking over the plan, & that it would be infinitely better if either Mr Peacock,1 Prof Henslow or Mr Whewell or any of the Cambridge men, who can say who I am, & who are personally acquainted with Mr Spring Rice, would take the letter in person, make him read it, and state the case and that he (Capt Beaufort) would at the same time back the request. I have enclosed for your inspection my letter, as Capt. B. wished it.— and the signatures of the Presidents.

All this is very annoying, and I wish I had never thought of government, but having lost so much time about the affair, I will carry it through, whatever the answer may be.— Capt Beaufort, has altered his whole plan, solely I believe for my good, but he does not seem to think time and a state of suspense of any consequence.— It is disagreeable to any one to state a case, which nearly amounts to a petition, even for another, and I want to know how you stand with Spring Rice, whether you would much dislike doing so.— Pray have not the slightest scruples about saying no: it is far too disagreeable a thing to hesitate about, without you feel perfectly willing. I myself do not choose to take the liberty of asking Mr Peacock, or Mr Whewell, so that if you dislike it, Capt. Beaufort will, I suppose do, what he at first said was the best plan, sound Ld. Minto & then hand it over to Mr Sp. Rice.— In case this request should not be very disagreeable, I suppose you will be up in town, about your living before very long & then would do it.— I am annoyed at thus giving all my friends so much trouble

Dear Henslow yours most truly | Chas. Darwin

Tuesday 36. Grt. Marlborough Strt.—


George Peacock, who had originally written to Henslow about the opportunity for a naturalist to accompany Robert FitzRoy on the voyage of the Beagle (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter from George Peacock to J. S. Henslow, [6 or 13 August 1831]).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Upon the advice of Captain Beaufort and with embarrassment to himself CD asks JSH whether he would be perfectly willing personally to take the letter requesting government assistance directly to Thomas Spring Rice [Chancellor of the Exchequer].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
London, Gt Marlborough St, 36
Source of text
The National Archives (TNA) (T1/4524 paper 25824)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 361A,” accessed on 26 May 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2