skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   [4 November 1837]

My dear Henslow

Will you have the kindness to give a message to Prof. Miller from me, & another to L. Jenyns.— I write to you because I do not want to trouble either of them with a letter for a single word,—and you will probably soon see them & give it vivâ voce.— I left with Miller, last winter some geological specimens.— I should be very much obliged if he would make soon a list of the numbers (specifying the colour of the paper) for otherwise I might be hunting in vain for hours.1 I ought at the time to have made a list, but neglected doing so. When I know which he has got, I will ask him to tell me something about those which I may want, & which he had the kindness to say he would do.—

My message to L. Jenyns, is simply that I expect T. Eyton to pay me a visit before long, when he comes up to town, & that the fish had better be sent soon by waggon to 36 Great Marlborough St.—2

Pray tell Leonard, that my government work is going on smoothly & I hope will be prosperous.— He will see in the prospectus his name attached to the fish. I set my shoulder to the work with a good heart.— I am very much better than I was during the last month before my Shrewsbury visit— I fear the geology will take me a great deal of time, I was looking over one set of notes, & the quantity I found I had to read, for that one place was frightful— If I live till I am eighty years old I shall not cease to marvel at finding myself an author: in the summer, before I started, if anyone had told me I should have been an angel by this time, I should have thought it an equal improbability. This marvellous transformation is all owing to you.—

I am sorry to find, that a good many errata are left in the part of my volume, which is printed: During my absence Mr Colburn employed some goose to revise, & he has multiplied, instead of diminishing my oversights:3 but for all that, the smooth paper and clear type has a charming appearance, and I sat the other evening gazing in silent admiration at the first page of my own volume, when I received it from the printers!

Good bye My dear Henslow.—pray remember me to Mrs Henslow and all your family, by whom I shall be quite forgotten, if I do not pay Cambridge a visit before very long, but when that is to be, “Quien sabe?” as the Spaniard says | C. Darwin Saturday


CD’s ‘Diary of observations on the geology of the places visited during the voyage’ (DAR 32.1, 32.2, and 33) has the number for each specimen in the margin; CD used paper of different colours for different ranges of numbers. In his notebooks listing geological specimens CD wrote the following code: Red = 1000 + &c Green = 2000 + &c Yellow = 3000 + &c Thus 378 yellow = 3378. The specimens are now in the Mineralogical Collection of the Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge University. The notebooks are in the Darwin Archive, University Library, Cambridge, on deposit from the Department of Earth Sciences. Other lists of numbered specimens are in DAR 39.1.
It is not clear how Eyton’s visit was connected with the work on Fish. His main interest was ornithology. For Zoology he prepared an anatomical appendix to Part III, Birds, No. 5 (1841).
Before publication CD added an appendix to the first edition containing corrections and some new material. See Journal and remarks, Preface and Addenda.


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.


CD’s work [on Zoology] is going smoothly. Marvels at finding himself an author [of Journal of researches]. Part so far printed has a good many errata.

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: 43 DAR/1/1/43)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 384,” accessed on 24 April 2024,

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