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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. S. Henslow   29 June 1855

Hitcham | Bildeston | Suffolk

29 June 1855

My dear Darwin,

I have just got home from a 3 days tour among the Clay-pits1 — where I have been with Fisher (Tutor of Jesus) & George.2 I had no idea of the extent to which the workings have been carried— Many thousands of tons are now raised regularly per annum & some of the good folks have cleared many thousands of pounds— I am horrid correction of the Press—3 I had lately twice labelled Pollicipes mitella, & yet allowed it to stand as Pilliceps! Phillip’s also saw the proof sheet—4 Again, in my Hitcham list, in introducing the dark lines & dimensions on the proof sheet I have placed one below instead of above ln 53. Ilicanths which are corollifloral. Hooker has just observed this, tho’ he had the proof sheets— It is very absurd to make such blunders—but they will happen— diag Lychnis dioica Lin

———sylvestris Dodaeus =Red or white Campion

α. (red)=diurna, Sibthorpe—rarely hermaphrodite

β. (white)=vespertina, Sibt.—not always dioecious

γ. (flesh) often hermaphrodite—

turns white when transplanted—Engl. Flora ramme

The above is the information in Smiths English Flora5 I do now regard them as distinct—but races—6 In Cambridgeshire I never found red— In Suffolk the great majority are red in the hedges— white in the fields— The flesh (or intermediate) not uncommon— It is a question of experiment.

It would be well to try seeds of red in open places, & of white in shady situations— The permanence of colour is often remarkable— I have white

CD annotations

crossed pencil
1.5 Press—] cross added pencil
1.11 Lychnis… Campion] ‘Ask to procure a Plant.’ added brown crayon
Top of first page: ‘Ch. 9’brown crayon


The workings for phosphatic nodules (‘coprolites’) on the Suffolk coast near Felixstowe and Snape (Victoria county history of Suffolk 2: 285–6). Henslow had been instrumental in the discovery of the nodules and recommended their use as an agricultural fertiliser (Correspondence vol. 2, letter to J. S. Henslow, [22 January 1843], n. 1). Henslow visited the ‘crag’ beds on 18 June 1855 (Russell-Gebbett 1977, p. 114).
Francis Fisher, fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and Henslow’s second son George, who was an undergraduate at Christ’s College.
Proofs of Henslow’s report on the collections of provincial museums (Henslow 1855b).
John Phillips was also on the committee established by the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1854 to draw up a report on museums (see Report of the 24th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at Liverpool in 1854, p. xlvi).
J. E. Smith 1824–6, 2: 328–9.
CD cited Henslow’s opinion that these are varieties rather than species in Natural selection, p. 404.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.

Page, William, ed. 1975. A history of the county of Suffolk vol. 2. London: Victoria County History.

Russell-Gebbett, Jean. 1977. Henslow of Hitcham: botanist, educationalist and clergyman. Lavenham, Suffolk: Terence Dalton.


Red and white campions: JSH regards them as races, not species; a flesh-coloured intermediate exists.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Stevens Henslow
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 166: 177
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1706,” accessed on 6 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5