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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. S. Henslow   20 November 1831


20 Novr 1831

My dear Darwin,

As I have received the plates to Lowe’s paper,1 I thought it wd be a pity not to forward them to you, & so shall entrust them to L. Jenyns who goes to Town tomorrow to send by some Plymouth Coach— They may be of service in directing your attention whilst collecting land shells— In working your Surds remember that you are operating merely on quantities with fractional indices & a little practice will enable you to see nothing so formidable in them as you seem to anticipate. Dress them up in this way & then compare them with the symbol


I have long since seen that the noble expedition upon which you are entering would have been no way fitted for L. Jenyns. With a little self denial on your part I am quite satisfied you must reap an abundant harvest of future satisfaction— If I may say so, one of your foibles is to take offence at rudeness of manners & any thing bordering upon ungentlemanlike behavior, & I have observed such conduct often wound your feelings far more deeply than you ought to allow it— I am no advocate for rudeness God forbid, & still less for any thing dishonorable, but we must make abundant allowances for mal-education, early contamination, & vulgar feelings, if we really intend to pass smoothly through life— & I therefore exhort you most sincerely & affectionately never to feel offended at any of the coarse or vulgar behavior you will infallibly be subjected to among your comrades— Take St James’s advice & bridle your tongue when in burns with some merited rebuke, & the impatient feelings which these evils must generate in your own polished mind will gradually subside & you will be satisfied with the real & stirling worth you will not fail to find beneath many a rough surface. I have all along preached to you on the necessity of submitting to evils of various descriptions & when you come back I hope to have my lessons repeated to myself (if I should appear to need them) under the positive advanges of long & experienced trial. I am quite sure that you are the right man for the expedition you have undertaken, & that there is in you every thing that is wanted to make it turn out favorably— I am not yet very old, but I have a few more years experience over my head, & I have ever found the advantage of accommodating myself to circumstances. It is wonderful how soon a little submission conquers an evil & then all goes on smoothly.

Believe me ever Yrs. affecty. J. S. Henslow (Write again)


Lowe 1833. There are six plates: 1–4 of Flora by Miles Joseph Berkeley; 5–6 of Shells by George Brettingham Sowerby Jr.


Lowe, Richard Thomas. 1833. Primitiae faunae et florae Maderae et Portus Sancti. [Read 15 November 1830.] Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 4: 1-70.


Is sending plates for R. T. Lowe’s paper [Trans. Cambridge Philos. Soc. 4 (1833): 1–70].

Adds advice on working the surd.

Agrees with CD that Beagle voyage would have been wrong for Jenyns, but assures him he (CD) is the right man. Warns CD against his "foible" of taking offence at rudeness or ungentlemanlike behaviour.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Stevens Henslow
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 109
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 150,” accessed on 26 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1