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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   [19 November 1837]1

[36 Great Marlborough Street]

My dear Henslow

Will you oblige me by looking over the enclosed prospectus.2 My publisher has almost entirely altered the one I wrote; perhaps he has improved some parts, but I do not like others.— He has asked me to get some one to read it over.— The sentence written at the bottom, appears to me better than the three short printed ones.— Will you return it with any one of the proofs with any marginal observations on it.—

My journal, I am very glad to be able to tell you is very near its end.— One more chapter, & that not a very long one, will complete the task, which I fear must have been a heavier one, than you could have anticipated.— My journal, I suspect, will not be published for several months,—but it is a great satisfaction to me to feel my hands nearly clear for other work.—

I am going tomorrow morning to the Isle of Wight & shall return on Wednesday night.— I heard yesterday from Fox, who told me he intended paying me a visit, as we have never seen each other since my return.— But as Fox is so delicate a person, I thought it a shame to allow him to travel in this cold weather, so I am going to anticipate him, though just at present I can ill spare the time. I called on Mr Spring Rice, about a fortnight since, to thank him for his very considerate kindness in writing to me himself about the Grant.— As long as he remains in office, I am sure I shall have no trouble from government. He was congratulating himself, that the country m〈igh〉t support even the misfortune of h〈aving〉 a whig ministry, when they were occasiona〈lly〉 able to do such good acts as give you a living.— I never saw a man look more pleased as he said so.—

I find London at this time of the year, most delightfully tranquil, especially as I never call on anyone.—

Good bye | Most truly yrs. | Chas. Darwin

Thank you for doing my servants’ business.— I forwarded Prof. Don’s3 parcel.—


The date is derived from CD’s reference in the letter to his intention to visit William Darwin Fox. In the ‘Journal’ entries for 1837 (Correspondence vol. 2, Appendix II) he recorded: ‘Novemb. 20th: Two days Isle of Wight to see Fox.—’
See letter to A. Y. Spearman, 20 September 1837, n. 2, for a possible draft of this prospectus. R. B. Freeman has found a loose, printed copy of a prospectus for Zoology, which may be the one referred to here. It was issued by Smith, Elder & Co., Cornhill, and announced the Treasury grant, with a list of the collections to be described by Richard Owen, George Robert Waterhouse, John Gould, Thomas Bell, and Leonard Jenyns. Twenty numbers were projected (nineteen were published) to appear on the first day of every alternate month. Descriptions of ‘some of the invertebrate animals’ were also to be included, but no such number was published, nor was ‘a general sketch of the Zoology of the southern parts of South America’ by CD. See Freeman 1977, p. 26. The date of the printed prospectus cannot be identified with certainty.
David Don.


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

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.


Asks JSH to look over the prospectus [for Zoology]. Has one more chapter of Journal of researches to finish.

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: 44 DAR/1/1/44)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 388,” accessed on 22 September 2021,

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