To Leonard Jenyns   26 January 1860


26 January 1860

My dear Leonard,

I have been an unconscionably long time in replying to your letter, but one thing and another has prevented me doing so till now. I am unexpectedly summoned at this unbotanical season to examine in Botany tomorrow.

I suppose I must give them red snow. I met Broome at the Linnean last week and he has perhaps told you I asked him to let you know I had not quite finished Darwin but would write when I had. My views correspond with yours. The Book is a marvellous assemblage of facts and observations – and no doubt contains much legitimate inference, but it pushes hypothesis (for it is not real theory) too far. It reminds me of the age in Astronomy when much was explained by Epicycles, and for every fresh difficulty a fresh epicycle was invented. I have placed a D opposite to unexplained convictions without demonstrations, and I fancy when summed up these will amount to rather more than the usual allowance which goes to the adage "Exceptions prove the rule". The fact I believe to be, that Darwin attempts more than is granted to Man, just as people used to try to account for the origin of Evil – a question past our finding out. However his book is a wonderful book and will do good. This Celt question is another curious difficulty. I have now no doubt of their being found in undisturbed Drift – but I am inclined to believe the geological phenomena do not require such immense lapses of time as some would have us believe. I hope to visit the French localities in Spring.

Fanny bids me add her kind regards to mine to your wife and self. | Ever affectionately yrs | J.S. Henslow

Please cite as “HENSLOW-291,” in Ɛpsilon: The Correspondence of John Stevens Henslow accessed on 23 October 2021,