The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

VIII. The Literature of Science

§ 36. J. S. Henslow

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, men of science specialised less than now. Each branch of science was smaller, and more than one branch could be grasped and studied by the same observer. Among such men were J. S. Henslow and Adam Sedgwick, the prime movers in the founding of the Cambridge Philosophical society. Henslow, at first, devoted especial attention to conchology, entomology and geology. He was a professor of mineralogy at twenty-six, and with that power of quick change of chair, once more prevalent than now, he became professor of botany the following year. He was succeeded in the chair of mineralogy by Whewell, which recalls the fact that Whewell’s History of the Inductive Sciences, one of the well-known Bridgewater treatises, played a large part in the thought of our great-grandparents. Henslow was among the first to insist upon practical work in his botanical classes. His class dissected living plants, and investigated and recorded such structure as they could make out. He provided them with proper apparatus for dissections, and he saw that they studied the physiology and the minute anatomy of plants as well as external features.