From Leonard Jenyns   26 July 1824

Sussex Hotel | Tunbridge Wells

26 July 1824

My dear Henslow,

I should think by this time you are perhaps expecting to hear something of what I have done, and as I have just been driven in by the rain (of which however I must not complain—till now not a drop has fallen since I left London) I cannot find a better opportunity for giving you some detail of my proceedings. If I were asked in a general way whether I gotten many new plants I should say I had, & that I should be able to add a great many things to my own collection, perhaps quite as many as I ever expected to do this time when I cannot be said to have hardly begun botanizing yet here which is the chief place I ever had in view:— But whether I shall add anything to your collection already so extensive compared with mine is a very doubtful point. I trust however that I shall do even this in one or two instances.— The following are a few things which I remember amongst others:— the word new means that I never had or found before.— ….

  • A new Scirpus or Schoenus.—
  • Veronica montana — very scantily at Hastings
  • Beta maritima — I believe but am not certain
  • A new Umbellif. — most probably Oenanthe croc
  • A new Linum.—
  • Two or three new Arenarias
  • A new Thlaspi— a nice thing.—
  • Genista tinctoria— I rather think
  • A new Cardamine — most prob ly hirsuta
  • A new Hieracium - seems to answer to sylvaticum
  • Carduus tenuiflorus — I am almost certain — rare
  • Prenanthes muralis - several very nice specimens
  • Ornithopus perpusillus - I had none before...."

Besides these I have no doubt there are a few which I have forgotten.– also a lot of grasses, all new to me, some of them probably maritime.– 3 or 4 new ferns.– a tolerably sized packet. of nice conferva, ulva from Hastings, amongst which are some nice ones: – I did them all up separately as carefully as I could & the time would allow, but they were all very wet & it is very doubtful what state they will be in when I open them again.– Considering however the short stay I made at Hastings it was impossible to procure them on any other terms so that if they all spoil before I get home to open them, – we must suppose I never got them at all. – also a small packet of lichens from the rocks by the sea coast – also 3 or 4 new Diadelphia plants which I cannot name , one of which puzzles me exceedingly. – I trust however that my best Botanizing is yet to come – I arrived here on Saturday evening– yesterday (Sunday) did nothing. – This morning I went out at 10 intending to go to Frant across Waterdown forest, but had not got a mile before the rain turned me back, so that this will be a blank day, with the exception of what I got in this mile, which I don’t dispise – viz: Galium saxatile, -Senecio sylvaticus, a nice moss decidedly new to me, & a beautiful little waterplant growing in boggy places by the side of the road, which I don’t know at all unless it is Peplis portula.--- On the whole my tour has turned out ten times better than my best expectations, & I have been very much pleased with all I have seen: To say the truth, before I started I was rather uncertain about the result as I have never tried anything of the sort before, & was going all alone;- but everything has turned out so well – the weather has been so fine - & my health & spirits so good that I never enjoyed myself more in my life.– If I have been diss disappointed in anything I think it is in my not having found more maritime plants at Hastings: tho spent one of the most laborious days in clambering over the cliffs & rocks for some distance both above & below the town, I could find no traces of the Eryngium, or anything else of consequence except this thing which I suppose to be Beta marit. & also a plant (which by the by I forgot to mention before) that I cannot help fancying to be Crithmum marit.– None of it however was in flower though in pale bud.– It grew on the steepest declivities hanging over the sea, & very little of it was accessible; I bought away a couple of specimens.–

The last letter I wrote to Ely was from Hastings, & I shall not write again there perhaps for some days; so that by next communication send them word that you have heard of me at Tunbridge Wells.– Oh what [a] nice place this is, – so beautiful at this time of year, that I forget that I [page torn] & cannot hold my tongue – I certainly am rather in want of somebody [page torn] out to every minute.– I came by your orders to the Sussex Hotel, where [every] thing is very nice certainly, but things are so magnificent, that I shall be [page torn} [frighten]ened out of my wits when I ask for my bill.– the coffee room is quite [page torn] – I am not however much in it. – The place seems full, & the people [page torn] very gay.– a band of music plays 4 times a day just opposite [page torn] for an hour at a time which is delightful.– The theatre is open and I have some thoughts of going to it tonight, as I shall have no plants today, & not much else to do.– But the roads are so abominably sandy & dusty that they are scarcely walkable: they beat everything I ever saw in my life, really every step one takes raises such a cloud, that it is like walking in a box of pounce.–I shall stay here till Friday, on which day I intend to be off for Rochester, & have written them word to say so, under the idea that you have already said something about it before, as you promised.– whilst there I should be glad to hear from one of you as I have not had a line from a soul since I left home.–When my departure for Cambridge is finally fixed, you will hear from me again as I shall dine with you on that day, & sleep in your spare bed if empty, if not at the Sun: on which occasion all further particulars relating to my extensive travels shall be full revealed to you both.–

Believe me, your’s very affectionly

L. Jenyns

P.S. All the plants which I had gotten up to Saturday last, together with the marine algae, I sent off from Tunbridge town to London at which place I spent one night.– I hope they will arrive safe.– Love to Harriet; & tell her my hands are quite nutty brown.–

Please cite as “HENSLOW-20,” in Ɛpsilon: The Correspondence of John Stevens Henslow accessed on 8 August 2022,