RECORD: Blomefield, L. Jenyns. 1882.05.01. [Recollections of Darwin.] CUL-DAR112.A67-A68 (Darwin Online, http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker 8.2008. Corrections by John van Wyhe. RN1
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Reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.
[in another handwriting] L. Jenyns
Extract of letter from
the Rev. L. Blomefield FLS to J.D. Hooker, dated Bath May 1/82.
You are quite right in the idea that I had been asked to go out with Fitzroy in the Beagle, & I will state the exact circumstances of the case. capt. F. was a great Friend of Peacock, Fellow of Trin. & eminent mathematician, — & said to him — "Can't you find me a man in your University to go out with me in my voyage as a Naturalist? I shd. like to take one with me." Whereupon Peacock came & applied to Henslow & myself, he being intimate with both of us; — & Henslow would have doubtless much liked
to go & been very fit for the place. But being a married man with a family & holding university appointments he declined. — He & peacock then pressed me to go; — I was not at all inclined to it. — tho' Henslow was very anxious I should consent. I took a day to consider of it; — at the end of which I quite determined against going — thinking it not quite right to give up my parish & clerical work for such a purpose, — even had I felt myself to be — what I did not consider myself to be — exactly the right man to engage in an undertaking of that kind. Henslow & myself then both thought of Darwin, as a man in every way suited for the appointment, & Henslow probably was the first to mention
it to him. — I was not aware that the offer was ever made to Berkeley, but it may have been mentioned without my knowing it. — I did not know that Darwin ever read for the church, or had any thought of entering it.
Entomology was his chief — if not his only Nat. Hist. pursuit — when first I became acquainted with him. He occasionally came over to me at my Vicarage, & we entomologized together in the woods of Bootisham Hall, — he sweeping the long grass & weeds with a great canvas bag net in a most vigorous way — an implement I had not been in the habit of using myself, & convincing me by the success he met with, how much more was got in that way. Picking out afterwards from the lot of things just what you wanted, instead of looking about for particular insects — I cannot say whether he got his
taste for Nat. Hist. entirely from Henslow, I should have thought not; — but that having some leaning that way, the interest he took in it was greatly increased by associating with other naturalists & various scientific men who met together at Henslow's soirees; — & still more by always joining in Henslow's herborizing excursions. — I never heard of — have quite forgotten — what you say as to the project of his going with Henslow to the Canaries. — I have, I daresay, from 20? letters of Darwin to myself, perhaps more, but I have not time to speak of these now. That subject may perhaps be deferred till we meet.
Signed L. Blomefield
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