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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Leonard Jenyns   [May–September 1842]

12 Upper Gower St


Dear Jenyns.—

I am very glad to hear the notes to White are only the forerunner of a separate work— I hope you will repeat in it any original matter of your own, that first appears in Whites Selbourne1 —so that one may have all your’s in one vol. together.

Your note on the Furnarius appears to me just the thing.— it is Furn. cunicularius of G. R. Gray,2 although according to my notions, he has no more right to append his name to this couplet than the Great Mogul has.— Stricklands laws will I think be useful in checking the egoism of some authors.—3

Yours most truly | Charles Darwin


Jenyns was editing Gilbert White’s Natural history of Selborne (Jenyns, ed. 1843).
A species allied to the oven bird, described by Gray and named ‘F. cunicularius G. R. Gray’ in Birds, pp. 65–6. CD underlined ‘G. R.’ to distinguish him from his older brother, J. E. Gray, zoological keeper at the British Museum. The note quoting CD’s description in Journal of researches, pp. 112–13, appears on p. 216 of Jenyns’ edition. Furnarius cunicularius is a synonym of Geositta cunicularia, the common miner.
The forthcoming British Association report on zoological nomenclature. See letter to H. E. Strickland, 31 May [1842], for CD’s comment on Gray’s nomenclatural practice.


Jenyns, Leonard, ed. 1843. The natural history of Selbourne by the late Rev. Gilbert White, M.A. A new edition, with notes. London.


Glad to hear that LJ will repeat his notes to Gilbert White’s [Natural history of] Selborne [1843] in a separate work.

Critical of G. R. Gray’s attaching his own name to Furnarius cunicularius [in Birds, pp. 65–6]. Strickland’s nomenclature laws are needed to check egoism.

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 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 627,” accessed on 26 March 2023,

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