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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   [1 August 1837]

My dear Henslow

I am going to plague you about the thistles. I verily believe no rider in the Pampas was ever more tormented by the living plants, that you have been by the dead ones.— I send my MSS to the press the day after tomorrow, but not the part with the thistles, which will go a few days afterwards— My question is this as D’Orbigny says that both the Cynara cardunculus and artichoke are wild, I had better, I should think merely speak of the genus Cynara.—1 D’Orbigny says the third kind of thistles is allied Eryngium bromelifolium: now can you tell me,—would this plant resemble an overgrown sow thistle,—prickly green leaves, veined with white.—

I am very glad the election went off well.2 I am afraid amidst all the turmoil, you would have hardly been able to have looked at my plants.—

Pray write soon & tell me whether you can answer me any of the questions, so that I may know.— I should want first, the two or three about America.

I do not think I added to the list whether it was from Port Desire that the radishes turnips & carrots came.— You will see I have been impertinent enoug to pay the postage.— But otherwise I could not with a good conscience have made any man pay eight pence for telling me whether an Eryngium would by common mortals be called a giant sow thistle.—

In less than a fortnight I hope to send you my first proof sheet, for you to skim your eye over.— Mr Colburn to save expence, has got one of his hacks to read over my MSS; & he has pointed out some trifling inaccuracies; So I hope it wont be much more trouble to you than reading it, & which as you sent me out, you know you are bound to do.—

Pray tell me whether you expect to be living tranquilly at Hitcham during the next month.—

My dear Henslow | Ever yours | C. Darwin 36 Grt Marlboroug Stt.— then Tuesday


Orbigny 1835–47, 1: 471. This is the ‘cardoon’ mentioned in the letter to J. S. Henslow, 28 March [1837].
In the 1837 General Election (27 July 1837) the Borough of Cambridge re-elected two liberal candidates, Thomas Spring Rice and George Pryme (McCalmont 1971). Henslow was an active campaigner for both.


McCalmont, Frederick Haynes. 1971. McCalmont’s parliamentary poll book: British election results, 1832-1918. 8th ed., with introduction and additional material by J. Vincent and M. Stenton. Brighton: Harvester Press.

Orbigny, Alcide Charles Victor Dessalines d’. 1835–47. Voyage dans l’Amérique Méridionale (le Brésil, la République orientale de l’Uruguay, la République Argentine, la Patagonie, la République du Chili, la République de Bolivia, la République du Pérou), exécuté pendant les années 1826 … 1833. 6 vols. in 7 and 4 atlases. Paris and Strasbourg: Pitois-Levrault et Cie, P. Bertrand.


Botanical queries for Journal of researches, which is about to go to press.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
London, Gt Marlborough St, 36
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Henslow letters: 38 DAR/1/1/38)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 368,” accessed on 21 February 2024,

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