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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   5 November [1830]


My dear Fox

I have so little time at present, & am so disgusted by reading, that I have not the heart to write to any body. I have only written once home, since I came up.— This must excuse me for not having answered your three letters, for which I am really very much obliged.— In the last I received a 5£ note. I have not yet heard the end of the negotiations between Mrs. Field & Graham.— I send your things per waggon as the box is very large, it would cost a fortune per coach.— In your insect box Henslow has put in a Cassida & Donacia.— I have taken out of your bottle 2 or 3 specimens of a black Cryptocephalus which you took in profusion.—

I have not stuck an insect this term & scarcely opened a case: if I had time I would have sent you the insects which I have so long promised, but really I have not spirits or time to do any thing. Reading makes me quite desperate, the plague of getting up all my subjects is next thing to intolerable.— Henslowe is my tutor, & a most admirable one he makes. the hour with him is the pleasantest in the whole day. I think he is quite the most perfect man I ever met with.— I have been to some very pleasant parties there this term.— his good nature is unbounded.—

I saw your friend Mr. Hey once or twice & liked him very much he appears to be a very sinsible man.— I have called on the young one,1 but in this term our communication will go no further.—

I am sure you will be sorry to hear poor old Whitleys father is dead: in a worldly point of view it is of great consequence to him, as it will prevent him going to the Bar for some time.—

(Be sure answer this) What did you pay for the iron hoop you had made in Shrewsbury? Because I do not mean to pay the whole of the Cambridge mans bill.— You need not trouble yourself about the Phallus, as I have brought up both species.—

I have heard men say that Henslowe has some curious religious opinions; I never perceived anything of it. Have you?2

I am very glad to hear, after all your delays, that you have at last heard of a Curacey, where you may read all the commandments, without endangering your throat.— I am also still more glad to hear that your mother continues steadily to improve. I do trust you will have no further cause for uneasiness about her.—

with every wish your your happiness my dear old Fox | believe me Yours Most Sincerely | Chas Darwin *S 2

Friday Nov. 5th.—

I heard from old Simpson the other day, he is going on very prosperously, & sends numerous kind speeches to you.— Do you in one of your letters call Mr. G. Jenyns3 a good or a grand fellow? I am curious to know.—


William Hey.
Apparently the rumour was groundless. In the Autobiography, pp. 64–5, CD’s memory of John Stevens Henslow is that he was ‘deeply religious, and so orthodox, that he told me one day, he should be grieved if a single word of the Thirty-nine Articles were altered.’
The Rev. George Leonard Jenyns of Bottisham Hall, Cambridgeshire, father of Harriet Henslow and Leonard Jenyns.


Autobiography: The autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809–1882. With original omissions restored. Edited with appendix and notes by Nora Barlow. London: Collins. 1958.


CD finds the reading involved in "getting up all my subjects" almost "intolerable"; has had no time to write, or send insects, or catch any.

Glad WDF has heard of a curacy where he may "read all the commandments without endangering [his] throat".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 34)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 87,” accessed on 26 September 2020,

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