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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   16 May [1845]

Down Bromley Kent

May 16th

My dear Henslow

The Lyells have been staying here & we have just heard from them that Mrs. Henslow has lately been much out of health. Their account referred to some little time ago, & I sincerely hope it does not now apply: do pray sometime before very long let me have a line to say how she is.

I am at work with a second edition of my Journal for Murray to bring out cheap, viz at 7s’6d in his Colonial Library: I find a good deal to alter in the scientific part: doing this work reminds me regularly of your great kindness in undergoing the wearisome labour of looking through all the proof-sheets. I hope, also, this autumn to get out my last Geological part & right glad shall I be, for I am wearied with S. America; your words’, which at first astounded me, viz that it wd take me twice the number of years of the voyage to publish its results, will be more than verifyed.

I heard lately from Hooker,1 who gives me a wonderful account of the Galapagos plants—12 new genera of the Compositæ, all confined to the group & no one species found on two islands!

I was telling my Father at Shrewsbury (where I have lately been) that you had gone into the Barberry versus corn-question & that you were a disbeliever:2 on which he told me he had once had his attention called by a farmer to a very large field of corn, in the one of the hedges of which there were at almost regular intervals Barberry bushes, & my Father declares, that from each of them a wedge, pointing obliquely into the field, of discoloured corn, was most conspicuous. Next year the Barberries were all grubbed up.

When at Shrewsbury I read an article in the last Edinburgh Review on the Claims of Labour,3 which interested me but I do not know how far you would agree with the writer.— I have often thought that I was foolish to trouble you with my remarks on this subject; but your letter set me thinking, & thoughts whether right or wrong, new or very old, like to make their escape.

Believe me my dear Henslow, ever yours | C. Darwin


Barberry is a second host to the wheat rust fungus. CD had sent specimens of wheat rust to Henslow the previous year (see letter to J. S. Henslow, [25 July 1844]).
Mill 1845. Henslow was actively concerned with the problems of agricultural labourers in the parish of Hitcham (see Jenyns 1862, pp. 84–93).


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.

Mill, John Stuart. 1845. The claims of labour: an essay on the duties of the employers to the employed. Edinburgh Review 81: 498–525.


Is at work on second edition of Journal of researches.

Hopes to finish geology of the Beagle by autumn.

Hooker gives "a wonderful account" of Galapagos plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 868,” accessed on 27 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3