From Leonard Jenyns 1856


July 15.—

My dear Henslow,

Are you going to the meeting of the Brit. Assoc.—? I should like to know your plans. We go into Gloucestersh— next week, and my present intention is to leave my wife with her family at Ampney the week of the meeting, & attend it myself, for at least two or three days. I am even meditating a paper to be read in the Nat. Hist. Section (if you do not think me too bold) on the subject of species & races, when I sh d like you to be present if you visit Cheltenham at all.— I have nothing original to communicate but would simply draw more attention to the subject, by bringing together a few facts & observations already on record, w. h tend, I think, along with many others I have not had time to hunt out, and probably many more unknown to me, to confirm the idea (now, as I am inclined to hope, every day gaining more ground) that the limit within which species, at least a large no., vary, are much wider than have been hitherto supposed,— & that many of the so-called species are merely local races derived originally from one stock. This is of course a large field to enter upon, but I have no intention of illustrating what I want to say, except in reference to birds: just tell me, however, whether I am right in saying that the Herbert Experiments, showing the primrose, cowslip, &c— to be all on species,— have never been disproved. —And if you have anything at hand of equal importance with this, in the botanical departm t,— worth communicating, make a note of it, & bring it with you. If there should be a lack of matter in our section, its time would not be more profitably filled up than with a discussion on species & varieties abstractedly considered.—

I suppose Harriet is still at Brighton, & I have accordingly written to her there; I hope she will return to Hitcham all the better & stronger for Brighton air.—

I was sorry to hear from D r Hooker when I saw him at Kew the end of May, that he had been obliged to give up the Flora Indica for want of support & funds to carry it on; I was greatly interested with his views on species, & the geographical distribution of plants, in the Introduction.—

I had a very capital day’s botanizing with Broome a short time back in the neighbourhood of Glastonbury: gathered Vicia lutea on Glastonbury Tor, & in the moors about there Andromeda polifolia, Rhyncospora fusca, Cicuta virosa, besides several other species that I never met with before; those moors are also quite full of Epilobium angustifolium, evidently quite wild & having a different habit from the specimens one sometimes finds escaped from gardens;— but it was not yet in fl. Fitz & his bride are staying in Bath, & we expect them here to call this very day;— after we are gone, they take possession of our house for a time, which we have lent then in our absence.—

Give my love to Louisa & Anne; I suppose they are the only ones with you just now.

Yrs affect ly | L. Jenyns.

P.S. Let me hear from you soon: after Tuesday the 22 nd, my address is—Ampney, Gloucester.

Date of letter inferred from the date of the Cheltenham meeting of the British Association

Please cite as “HENSLOW-605,” in Ɛpsilon: The Correspondence of John Stevens Henslow accessed on 16 October 2021,