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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Leonard Jenyns   [27 February 1840]

12 Upper Gower St


Dear Jenyns

I have been intending for some time to write to you to ask some fishy questions, & to tell you that there has been a delay of a month in the publication of the present number, but I have been for the last month so uncomfortable from unwellness, that I have thought of nothing & done nothing, which I ought to have done.— Owen was unable to complete the last no of fossil Mammal: by the end of this month & I too unwell to bring out a number of birds so that it has been delayed till 1st. of April—& the next will be 1st of June;— then August &c &c.— Shall you have a number ready by 1st of June?— I really forget whether you agreed to be ready— everything has been driven out of my head.—

It will be a great convenience to me if you are able; & then the last of birds shall appear on 1st. of August.—1

Pray send me a single line.— How have you been this winter.— What detestable cold weather it has been of late— it has been killing me by inches.— I saw Henslow a few days since.— He was looking very well & growing fat.—

Believe me dear Jenyns | Yours most truly | Chas. Darwin—

P.S. I hope you received your extra copies of the Fish—2 I think the number looks uncommonly well. — Several people have approved of it much—& amongst the rest Owen.— It is good work & will stand its ground, which I wish I could say for my confounded pretty birds


The final number of Birds did not appear until March 1841. The original plan was to issue a number of the Zoology every other month. After a slow start, this schedule was maintained from May 1838 through January 1840. Then Owen’s final number, which should have appeared in March, appeared in April, and the second number of Fish appeared in June. Thereafter publication was irregular, with frequent delays (see Freeman 1977, pp. 28–31).
The first number of Fish had appeared in January 1840.


Birds: Pt 3 of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. By John Gould. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1839–41.

Fish: Pt IV of The zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle. By Leonard Jenyns. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London. 1840–2. [Vols. 2,3,4,9]

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

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.


Has been unwell. Publication of two numbers [of Zoology] has been delayed. Thought first Fish number good.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Leonard Jenyns/Leonard Blomefield
Sent from
London, Upper Gower St, 12
Source of text
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 558,” accessed on 17 September 2023,

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