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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   28 March [1837]

36 Great Marlborought Stt.—

March 28th.—

My dear Henslow

I have been very idle in not writing to you sooner, but I have been waiting to see, if anything particular should occur to write about. But such has not been the case.— I am living very quietly in nice comfortable lodgings, and though I sadly miss a good walk in the country I am pretty well resigned to my fate. Till within the few last days, I have been to as many dinner parties, as at your riotous place of Cambridge, but now I am in the way of being left alone. I do no think when I last saw you, that our plans about publication were settled. Now the scheme that the Captain makes a plum pudding out of his own journal and that of Capt. King’s kept during the last yoyage, which together will make two volumes, and the third I am to have to myself. I intend making it in a journal form, but following the order of places rather than that of time, giving results of my geology and habits of animals where interesting.— I have been going steadily, and have already made a hole in the work, which I fear is more than the Captain can say. We intend to publish on the first of November, but I doubt it will not be ready. As soon as I have gone straight through the journal I shall continue adding what I can, by studying the geographical range and other such subjects of the different branches. I daresay, by the middle of the summer you will have time to give me, some general remarks, which will much add to the value of the whole.— I met Mr Brown a few days after you had called on him;1 he asked me in rather an ominous manner, what I meant to do with my plants.— In the course of conversation, Mr Broderip2 who was present remarked to him, “you forget how long it is since Capt: King’s expedition.” He answered, “Indeed I have something, in the shape of Capt: Kings undescribed plants to make me recollect it.” Could a better reason be given if I had been asked by me, for not giving the plants to the Brit. Museum.— Mr Brown also said that you must recollect that there are plants from the Galapagos Isls. at the Brit. Museum.— It would be well to find out what they are.—

How goes on the new University?.3 I hear the examiners, are to be paid, I trust you will be one, & will thus pay the great city more frequent visits.— Pray remember me most kindly to Leonard J.,4 tell him he will be glad for my sake to hear that Mr Bell is willing to undertake my reptiles and the higher orders of the Crustacea.5 Will you ask Leonard if he will look at the few Galapagos fish first, that it is if it does not quite break through the order, in which the whole will be examined. The dried fish, I believe nearly all come from those islands.— Will you keep a page in a memorandum book for queries from me? I will begin with two or three.— Name of plant ( )6 from Fernando Noronha. The name of the Cardoon?.— I found it out in Isabelle’s voyages,7 but have forgotten it, He calls it also the Cardoon of Spain.— Do you know what is the giant thistle of the Pampas?— At some future time I shall want to know number species of plants at Galapagos and Keeling, and at the latter whether seeds could probably endure floating on salt water.8 I suppose, after a little more examination you would be able to say, what was the general character of the vegetation of the Galapagos.—? Pray take in hand as soon as your lectures are over, the potato from the Chonos Islds.— When you next meet Prof. Miller,9 pray remember me to him and tell him, I shall not look at any more geological specimens, for a few months, so that there is not the slightest hurry, about the specimens which he has of mine.— Will you give my direction, in case he ever should have a spare half hour, when in town.— Have you ever had an opportunity of sounding any of the great Cambridge Dons about the publication of my geology. I hope they will prove gracious, for it would be a great bore to be half killed with sea sickness, and then in reward half starved with poverty. The postman’s bell is ringings, so I must close the letter; with my best thanks for all your kindness

Dear Henslow | Yours ever most truly | Chas Darwin

Pray remember me very kindly to Mrs Henslow

CD annotations

On cover: ‘Ph. Gore now Ld Arran’10


Robert Brown.
The University of London, incorporating King’s College and University College, received a Royal Charter on 28 November 1836.
Leonard Jenyns, Henslow’s brother-in-law. CD’s entomological pursuits while an undergraduate had brought him into contact with Jenyns, who held a living at Swaffham Bulbeck, near Cambridge.
Thomas Bell (see Reptiles, Part V of the Zoology). The Crustacea were not described, but for a history and an account of the surviving specimens see Chancellor et al. 1987.
Left blank in manuscript. CD probably had intended to supply the specimen number from his list of plants collected during the voyage. A copy of the list had been sent to Henslow. Of four specimens from Fernando Noronha, no. 384 is without a name. It is described as ‘A leafless tree bearing beautiful pink flowers at Fernando Noronha, an essential character in landscapes’ (Botanical notes, Darwin Archive, CUL; on deposit from the Cambridge University Herbarium). See also Journal and remarks, p. 11.
Isabelle 1835. The cardoon is described on p. 138 of Journal and remarks.
The capacity of seeds to survive immersion in sea-water was to become an important subject of experimentation by CD in the 1850s (see Collected papers 1: 255–8, 261–3, 264–73).
Philip Yorke Gore, Chargé d’affaires in Buenos Aires, 1832–4, became the 6th Earl of Arran on 20 January 1837.


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

Isabelle, Arsène. 1835. Voyage à Buénos-Ayres et à Porto-Alègre, par la Banda- Oriental, les Missions d’Uruguay et la province de Rio-Grande-do-Sul (de 1830 à 1834). Havre.

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.


Publication plans for the account of the Beagle expedition – CD to have the third volume for his journal.

News of naturalists and their interest in his specimens. Queries about plant specimens, including one on whether seeds from Keeling Island would endure salt water.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
London, Gt Marlborough St, 36
MR 28 1837
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Henslow letters: 34 DAR/1/1/34)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 353,” accessed on 6 February 2023,

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