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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   16 August [1837]

[36 Great Marlborough Street]

August 16th

My dear Henslow

I have delayed writing to you, to thank you most sincerely, for having so effectually managed my affair.

I waited till I had had an interview, with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.— He appointed to see me this morning, & I had a long conversation with him, Mr Peacocke being present. Nothing could be more thoroughly obliging & kind that his whole manners.— He made no sort of restriction, but only told me to make the most of money, which of course I am right willing to do.1

I expected rather an awful interview, but I never found anything less so in my life. It will be my fault if I do not make a good work; but I sometimes take awful fright I have not materials enough.— It will be excessively satisfactory at the end of some two years to find all materials made the most they were capable of.—

I received the box with the fungus & peat plant.— I could find out nothing about the latter at the Linnæan Society but Mr Bennett at the British Museum,2 soon made it out. It is Astelia (?) pumila of Brown.— Anthericum trifarium of Solander.— I really hope in the course of a week to have some proof sheets, but there has been an unavoidable delay on the part of the printers.

I saw Leonard Jenyns on Monday and had a walk about the streets with him, & had a great deal of talk about all sorts of things. I wish I may be able to go to Liverpool;3 there will be so many there, whom I should like to meet. But if it delays my book a week nothing shall induce me to go, for I do long to see it printed & done for.—

The next time you hear from me, probably it will be with a proof sheet.— I must once again thank you my dear Henslow. You have been the making of me, from the first. I never should cared much for Natural History if it had not been for your friendship, when I was at Cambridge. You helped to keep me up to the mark all the yoyage, & now you have completed the whole, by helping me to make the most of the results.— If it had not been for you alone I should never have got the 1000£. My dear Henslow, I am most truly obliged.

Chas. Darwin


CD’s interview concerned his application to the Treasury for a grant of £1000 towards the cost of printing Zoology (see letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer, 3 August 1837).
The British Association for the Advancement of Science met in Liverpool in 1837.


Zoology: The zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. 5 pts. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1838–43.


Reports his successful interview with the Chancellor of the Exchequer [Thomas Spring Rice] about a grant for publishing [Zoology]. Thanks JSH for help with this; "you have been the making of me from the first".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
London, Gt Marlborough St, 36
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Henslow letters: 39 DAR/1/1/39)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 373,” accessed on 2 April 2023,

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