skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   [12 or 13 July 1837]1

My dear Henslow

I returned a few days since from my Shrewsbury visit, which I enjoyed most thoroughly. I am now hard at work, cramming up learning to ornament my journal with, you may guess the object of this letter is to beg, a few hard names, respecting my plants.— I believe I shall really begin printing in beginning of August, so that there is no time to lose.— Will you look over the list of questions, & try to answer me some of them.— For instance it will not take you long just to count the number of species in my collection from the Keeling Isls:—2 You can tell me something about the Galapagos plants, without any further examination:— You can tell me what genus of fungi the edible one from T. del Fuego comes nearest to; Mr Brown of course has not only never looked at it a second time, but cannot even lay his hand on the specimens.— I fear I must trouble you to send me one more good dried specimens, for I am thinking of having a wood cut.— To examine The potatoe from Chonos would not take you long; & it is probable you already know the name of some insignificant little plants, (the numbers of which are in the list of questions) which go to form the peat of that country.— Pray remember to day is the 12th.— I know if possible you will answer the questions.— Will you ask Leonard Jenyns whether he can tell me the genus of little fish, which I believe is a Diodon (132 ).—3 It is the only fish I care about the name; but I am far from certain, whether it is one of those preserved or whether it was thrown away.

I suppose all your business about the living is settled,4 & that you will not have occasion to come up to London again.— I am getting heartily sick of my journal, & wish it was finished that I might set to w⁠⟨⁠or⁠⟩⁠k at the geology.— You d⁠⟨⁠o⁠⟩⁠ not known, what a comfort it is to me to known that the proof sheets will pass under your eye, before they are published

Ever yours most truly | Chas. Darwin 36 Grt Marlbro’ St then Thursday.


In the letter, CD refers to the 12th as the date of writing, but Thursday was the 13th—which is also the date of the postmark.
Henslow later described the Keeling Island plants (see Henslow 1838).
Diodon is described by CD in Journal and remarks, pp. 13–14, and by Leonard Jenyns in Fish, p. 151. Jenyns identified it as ‘either the young of the D. antennatus of Cuvier or else new’.
The Crown Living at Hitcham, Bildeston, Suffolk, worth £1000 per annum, was given to Henslow early in 1837, but he did not reside in Hitcham permanently until 1839 (Jenyns 1862, pp. 65–6).


Henslow, John Stevens. 1838. Florula Keelingensis. An account of the native plants of the Keeling Islands. Annals of Natural History 1: 337–47.

Jenyns, Leonard. 1862. Memoir of the Rev. John Stevens Henslow, late rector of Hitcham, and professor of botany in the University of Cambridge. London: John Van Voorst.


Has been "cramming up learning to ornament my journal with".

Sends a list of questions on his botanical specimens. Needs answers for Journal of researches, which he expects to go to press in August.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
London, Gt Marlborough St, 36
JY 13 1837
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Henslow letters: 37 DAR/1/1/37)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 366,” accessed on 15 September 2023,

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