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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. S. Henslow   16 December 1838


16 Decr. 1838

My dear Darwin,

This day 15 yrs ago I entered on that state which, it rejoices my pericardium to think that, you are about to enter— I have been remiss in not telling you so sooner, but I am sure you will not think me unmindful of your happiness from having added one more specimen of my carelessness to the many you have witnessed before— All I can wish you is, that you may experience as great content in the marriage state as I have done myself—& all the advice, which I need not give you, is, to remember that as you take your wife for better for worse, be careful to value the better & care nothing for the worse— Of course it is impossible for a lover to suppose for an instant that there can be any worse in the matter, but it is the prudent part of a husband, to provide that there shall be none— It is the neglect of this little particular which makes the marriage state of so many men worse than their single blessedness—if there is such a thing—for it is now so long since I have enjoyed my double blessedness that I cannot fancy myself in my Bachelor days— One piece of more kindly advice I shall just venture to hint at—that we do well to remember daily that our greatest earthly blessings may be taken from us in a moment. So far from this reflection annoying us & preventing our happiness from being as complete as earthly happiness can be—I have my own experience to assure you that it encreases happiness, & removes many an a⁠⟨⁠n⁠⟩⁠xious mental care— But I am afraid you will think I am writing a sermon— Only take it in good part, & believe that I most heartily wish you all joy & prosperity— Is there a chance of your coming here this X mas Mrs H. is anxious to know & bids me ask you—

Yrs ever affectly | J. S. Henslow


On his 15th wedding anniversary JSH writes to CD wishing him happiness as great as JSH has had in his marriage, and adds some advice.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Stevens Henslow
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 204: 166
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 456,” accessed on 22 January 2022,

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