skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Leonard Jenyns   [14 or 21 August 1846]1

Down Farnborough Kent


Dear Jenyns

I am much obliged for your note & kind intended present of your volume, which I value much.—2 As the Athenæum Club is near Yarrell’s,3 perhaps you could send it there, (but do not, if it happens to be inconvenient) for I invariably call there when in town, & occasionally send for parcels when they have accumulated. I feel sure I shall like it, for all discussions & observations on what the world would call trifling points in Natural History, always, appear to me very interesting.4 In such foreign periodicals, as I have seen, there are no such papers, as White, or Waterton;5 or some few other naturalists in Loudon’s & Charlesworth’s Journal,6 would have written, & a great loss it has always appeared to me.—

I shd. have much liked to have met you in London, but I cannot leave home, as my wife is recovering from a rather sharp fever attack & I am myself slaving to finish my S. American Geology, of which, thanks to all Plutonic powers, two-thirds are through the press, & then I shall feel a comparatively free man.

Have you any thoughts of Southampton? I have some vague idea of going there, & shd. much enjoy meeting you.—7

My health continues pretty well; never right & seldom very wrong, as long as I live quite quietly.

The little d’s, of whom you enquire, now number four, two of each gender.8

Believe me, dear Jenyns with very many thanks for your kind present | Ever yours truly | C. Darwin


The dates are based on the publication date of Jenyns 1846 (between 29 July and 14 August according to The Publisher’s Circular of 15 August 1846) and CD’s return from Shrewsbury on 9 August (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 3, Appendix II).
Jenyns 1846 was written using material that he had collected while working on his edition of Gilbert White’s The natural history and antiquities of Selborne (Jenyns 1843). See Correspondence vol. 2, letter to Leonard Jenyns, [May–September 1842]. CD’s annotated copy of Jenyns 1846 is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
The Magazine of Natural History, and Journal of Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, Geology and Meteorology, first series, volumes 1–9 (1829–36), was edited by John Claudius Loudon. The second series, volumes 1–4 (1837–40), was edited by Edward Charlesworth. Both series are complete and extensively annotated in the Darwin Library–CUL.
Both CD and Jenyns attended the British Association meeting in Southampton from 10 to 16 September 1846 (see letters to J. S. Henslow, [5 October 1846], and to Leonard Jenyns, 17 October [1846]).
An allusion to CD’s children.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Jenyns, Leonard. 1846. Observations in natural history: with an introduction on habits of observing, as connected with the study of that science. Also a calendar of periodic phenomena in natural history; with remarks on the importance of such registers. London: John Van Voorst.

Jenyns, Leonard, ed. 1843. The natural history of Selbourne by the late Rev. Gilbert White, M.A. A new edition, with notes. London.


Looks forward to LJ’s volume [Observations in natural history (1846)].

Observations on what the world would call trifling points in natural history are always very interesting to him. Deplores their absence in foreign periodicals.

Is slaving away to finish S. American geology.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Leonard Jenyns/Leonard Blomefield
Sent from
Source of text
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 987,” accessed on 23 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3