Charles Darwin started writing to W.D.Fox, he had been taking advantage of the good weather "for the few last days I have been very busy in taking sundry long walks" he also reports "I have been seeing a good deal lately of Prof: Henslow; I took a long walk with him the other day: I like him most exceedingly, he is so very goodnatured & agreeable". Darwin also reports that "Mr Stephens has been ill with a fever, which is the reason he has not been publishing lately".
"The first week in April presented a striking contrast to the last
week in March. On the 2nd of that month, being only four days after
the temperature of the air had risen to 69degrees, the thermometer was never
higher than 34degrees; and snow and sleet together, accompanied by a keen
wind from the north-east, continued falling without interruption the
Since the night of the 2nd, there had been severe frosts "insomuch that, in one instance, the morning of the 5th, the thermometer, exactly at sunrise, [about 5.26 a.m.] stood as low as 25degrees; whilst another on the grass, placed as on the occasion before mentioned, was depressed to 20". Darwin who had finished his letter to W.D.Fox said "this cold and rainy weather has driven all the beetles back to their homes". Soon after this the weather became "more seasonable".
Jenyns was out in the Bottisham plantations collecting the fruit of
Ulmus campestris, (Common Elm).
The Rev G.H.Vachell was now in Canton and wrote a long and
cross-ways written letter to Jenyns. He is sending in a despatch box,
two drawings by an artist and descriptions by the Senior Medical
Surgeon at Macao of some "extraordinary cases of Elephantitus" for
Jenyns or for any of his Cambridge Medical friends who might be
"I think you mentioned in your last letter that you are fond of maxims, phrases Etc. We leave Canton tomorrow for our "Summer Residence by The Sea Side" [Macao].
The lack of rain prompted one of the "Principal Local Authorities" to command everyone to stop killing certain animals for a certain time to "propitiate The Deity !! Supplications have been offered up to the "Queen of Heaven" for rain".
Vachell had been to see the apartments of young man who holds an office at the "Military Board" and is occasionally "engaged about the Imperial Court" The young man's father's apartment "are very numerous, and extremely elegant, containing many valuable articles, they are very fond of shew". He did catch sight of some ladies who were supposed to have be hidden as well as daughters and grand-daughters who appeared to abound. The wives peeping through lattices and from behind doors "reminded me of rabbits in a warren, I got a good look at one lady, apparently about 20, [her] features were pleasing, but disfigured by the quantity of white and pink paint which Chinese females (in the Southern parts especially) use to set off their" [faces].
"I saw some highly interesting people a week ago, "Mountaineers" a race of persons, who do not acknowledge the present Tartar Dynasty, as a proof of which I observed they did not shave their heads at all but wore their hair turned up like a women's with combs.. they speak a dialect of their own" it seems that while they have one wife, the chinese have a "bevy". Some of these persons were shown around the apartments of the British Factory and were amused by a ceiling to floor mirror and were "exceedingly well behaved". Their visits to Canton were so rare that the oldest living European inhabitant had not seen them before.
Vachell was enjoying excellent health. This letter would not arrive at Swaffham Bulbeck for several months and was sent by the ship H.C.S.Larkins.
Jenyns finished the experiments on solar and terrestrial radiation
started on the 26th March.
"Found the nest of a long-tailed titmouse, in a red cedar, about five
feet from the ground; of a curious and singular form, long and oval,
about the size of a smallish melon, with a small hole in the side,
through which the parent bird enters; constructed chiefly of mosses,
wool, and dry grass, having the outside beautifully studded with
lichens, and the inside thickly lined with a profusion of down and
soft feathers. The nest contained ten eggs, about the size of a bean,
of a white colour, thinly sprinkled with rusty dots at the larger
Jenyns turned his attention to the species of Lumbricus, he examined
them under a microscope "one of which appears to be new". First he
described L.variegatus of which he later wrote "This worm has often
astonished me by its powers of reproduction and multiplication, when
divided into the smallest pieces... what has most struck me, is the
readiness with which a severed portion will acquire a fresh growth of
new parts, both anteriorly and posteriorly" even when kept in pump
water, renewed every day. "Such water, when quite fresh, rarely, if
ever, is found to contain the smallest animalculae, still less
anything of a vegetable matter...how great must be its powers of
assimilation to elaborate a new head and tail from the purest water in
the course of a few days".
The second species was L.fontinalis this
was "longer and narrower than the preceding, of a delicate transparent
white: thro' the skin is discernible with the microscope a number of
oblong spots of a somewhat darker tint from the rest of the body,
arranged like beads of a necklace & extending from head to tail...
This species I have occasionally met with in clear pump water, but not
in any other situation.- It appears to be new, I made drawings of both
the above animals". Next he looked at the species of Limax Linn "it is
not easy to ascertain those which are to be found in this country,
still less to reconcile them with the descriptions &synonyms of the
different authors who have written on this species of molluscous
animals. I lately met with one in some abundance in the cellar of
Professor Henslow's house at Cambridge which may be referred to the
L.cinereus of Fleming (Brit. An. p256) but I think it very
questionable whether under that name he has not included two or three
species of the individual which I found as above mentioned" he
describes the colour and shape variations he found and "the above
animals were much infested by a minute parasitical mite which
traversed the surface of their bodies with great velocity" he
submerged them in water and found that they ran with equal ease in the
surface of the water.
The Rev.Richard Thomas Lowe (1802 - 1874) wrote to Jenyns from Madeira
where he was the British Chaplain
"I owe you a letter, & if I did not [I] flatter myself some tidings of my plans & designs may not be acceptable to you. Moreover I know not whether Henslow be alive or dead (I wrote to him in Dec.r & have sent some boxes &c. to him since, but not a syllable can I get in exchange); therefore I turn to you for some explanation of this silence...".
Lowe sent two large boxes by the ship "The Comet" one containing birds "& from their perishable nature have been particularly anxious to hear of their arrival in good condition".
The "Comet" had a long passage to England "the effects of
which I much fear upon the birds" the ship was now back in Madeira
again "but not a word from our friend Henslow". He had sent Henslow
his prospectus in December "tell him that if he can meet with all
these sins upon his head of mal-correspondence, he has a kinder
conscience than his friend, who hitherto considered himself as callous
as most people on these points. But I hope shortly to bring him to his
confessions in person. I am looking out every day for a vessel to
convey my mother& myself to England, & I shall try to get down to
Cambridge as soon as possible after landing.
My mother's health does
not permit us to think of encountering English North-easters before
the end of May or June. Yet I hope to reach Cam; in time for
Commencement, to take my M.A. Degree. Whether my Prospectus be
published or not you have probably seen it". His plan was to produce a
sort of pamphlet containing the species and characters of his new
species of plants and land mollusca "40 new plants at least and 70
species of land mollusca...
I have had a great loss in the death of my poor friend Heineken. The whole of the insects are now upon my shoulders; for what he had done (to which I alluded in the aforesaid prospectus) is in such an imperfect state that I shall have to take up the whole business all over".
He wanted Jenyns to provide him with specimens of insects that "may be allied to or identical to our Madeira species" Lowe had also sent another box to Henslow via "The Comet"of Caryophylla and fish care of Henslow's brother, at Clements Inn. Lowe finishes the letter "My kind regards to Henslow as well as to other friends if there be any in whom remembrance I still live". The letter is marked "Shipletter Lymington" and arrived at Cambridge to be stamped on May 23rd 1830.
The start of two weeks of "Extremely fine & hot" weather, though April
had been "changeable, with rain towards the middle of the month"
At Cambridge, "The Professor of Botany will commence his course of
lectures in the Museum of the Botanical Garden on Monday April 26, at
one o'clock. Terms of attendance One Guinea". as well as the daily
lectures "During the course three to four herborising excursions will
Charles Darwin writing to W.D.Fox reports that "the weather is so fine
and the beetles so numerous, our zeal so ardent [that if Fox had come]
that the Science would have received a benefit never to be forgotten".
At the end of the letter "I have seen a good deal of Henslow lately &
the more I see of him the more I like him I have some thoughts of
reading divinity with him the summer after next".
Henry Hasted had written a short memoir of the late Dr William
Wollaston, though he had started this for "only my eye" Mrs Henslow
(Jenyns' sister) had read it. Wollaston was her "cousin" and she
suggested to Hasted that Jenyns might be able to add to it. Jenyns
may have kept his notes made on Wollaston, for later in 1887, he wrote
of Wollaston in his autobiography.
Jenyns set off on a fishing trip "with the assistance of a couple of
fishermen we dragged Reche Lode this morning in several places between
Reche and Upware, our object was to ascertain what species of fish are
produced in that water". He doesn't say who he went with so it may
have been his brother Charles or Professor Henslow. The fish caught
they compared with the descriptions in "Fleming's British Animals",
ten species were identified, and Jenyns wrote down some remarks in his
notebook on: Pike, Gudgeon, Bream, Roach, Red Eye, Minnow, Groundling,
Burbot or Eelpout, Ruffe or Pope and Perch, and that "the freshwater
sponge abounds in Reche Lode".
Charles Darwin had met with William Yarrell for he reports in a letter
to W.D.Fox "Of course you have heard of the new species of wild Swan,
discovered in England, by Mr.Yarrell. I have bad stuffed specimen of
it, for 10s. - bad as it is, you may think yourself, lucky in getting.
Yarrell himself, has pronounced it to be the new sort, so there can be
Professor Henslow spent the day at Bottisham Fen, probably visiting
the Jenyns' family. He collected Thalictrum flavum (Common Meadow Rue)
a plant that grows in such moist spots, and pressed it for his
"A bat was brought to me today alive" it was probably a "variety of
the Noctule"... "its chief peculiarity consisting of the hairiness of
the underside of the flying membrane along the forearm, & in the
colour of the fur which was fine chestnut brown throughout the whole
length of the hairs, or perhaps somewhat paler at the bases, silky and
moderately long. The extent of wing was fourteen and a half inches
long. I fancied that the scent of this animal was not so strong as
that of the Noctule usually is".
"I am very much obliged by your long and agreeable letter, and shall
always be happy to exchange communications with you and assist in
satisfying ourselves of the identity of such species as come under our
observation, particularly those about which there appears to be any
confusion among authors".
Jenyns had pointed out the similarity of the Rudd and the Red-eye and the Shallow. Yarrell wanted to consult "Bloch" but as the British Museum was closed for Whitsuntide holidays, and they had the only copy of "Bloch" available, Yarrell's answer was delayed.
Yarrell had a Rudd from the Thames in spirit "but I believe with you, [it] will prove to be the Red eye. It appears to be very similar to the fish you describe as the Shallow..." Jenyns' suggestion was correct for in "Yarrell's Fishes" (vol 1. p412) The Red-eye or the Rudd "is a very common fish in Europe, as well as in various localities in this country. It is found in the Thames...Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. It is the Shallow of the Cam in Cambridgeshire".
Jenyns brought up the question of two sorts of Bream reported by the
Rev. Revett Sheppard in the Transactions of the Linnean Society for
1824 (vol. xiv. page 587). Yarrell knew about the report, but had
not yet sorted it out, though he thought they may be small river Bream
that had been transferred to larger ponds or lakes "where they attain
great size, but breed no more or very little".
Yarrell has "fish from Kent and also from the Thames and if I do not trouble you too much, compare the fish of your rivers with the description of mine". He asks Jenyns "You are kind enough to offer me specimens of your fish and I confess I should like to have 2 examples of the Shallow, Dace and Bream". It is interesting to note that in Yarrell's Fishes Vol.1 p.388 under the heading of White Bream or Breamflat "While investigating the natural history of the county of Cambridge, the Rev.L.Jenyns has discovered that this second species of Bream inhabits the Cam; and I am indebted to that gentleman for a specimen of the fish".
Yarrell was obviously impressed by Jenyns' letters that he offered
"I hope that whenever you feel inclined to come to London you will do me the pleasure of visiting me, I have a knife and fork perfectly at your service, to which you are most welcome, and I shall be most happy to see you and have the pleasure of your society, we shall find plenty of time for our Nat: Hist: without interfering with either of our more important avocations...I am not going out of London 'till the middle of August...but I should say the sooner you come the better, giving me two or three days notice.
All our exhibitions are now open. The
Linnean Society its last meeting for the season on Tuesday next, Sir
Wm.Jardine and Mr Selby are in town, the latter on the lookout for
rare or new British birds for his last number and Sir Wm.J - who is
his Brother-in-law is about to commence a History of British Fishes
with illustrations on the scale and as a companion to Mr Selby's
B.Birds" also George Ord, "an American naturalist the friend and
biographer of Wilson, and Burchell, who is just returned from
S.America will be present at the next meeting of the Linnean Society".
Yarrell offers all his spare duplicate fishes for Jenyns or the
Cambridge Philosophical Society and tries to tempt Jenyns further with
Montague's British Shells which are considered fine and just put out
at the British Museum in the room formerly devoted to the general
collection of shells. Yarrell finishes the letter with "Pray remember
me to Professor Henslow when you see him" The letter arrived at
Cambridge on the 10th June 1830 cost 8d.
Jenyns had a very large black Water-vole (or Water-rat) brought to him
from the next village "I am still further convinced upon examination
that it is not specifically distinct from our common Arvicola" this
was a female with young, "length of body 7 inches, tail 5 inches. We
opened it, & extracted 8 young perfectly formed & apparently of a
sufficient size to be soon excluded from the womb". Most of the local
Water-voles were reddish brown and Jenyns had to convince himself that
this black form was not a separate species.