Thanks HWB for references.
Praises his paper ["Contributions to an insect fauna of the Amazon valley", read before Linnean Society, 21 Nov 1861, Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond. 23 (1862) : 495–566] which solves "one of the most perplexing problems which could be given to solve".
Discusses the difficulties of writing and expresses disappointment at Wallace's book [Travels on the Amazon (1861)].
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Sir
I thank you for your extremely interesting letter, & valuable
references,—though God knows when I shall come again to this part of my
subject.— One cannot of course judge of style when
one merely hears a paper, but yours seemed to me very clear &
good.— Believe me that I estimate its value most
highly. Under a general point of view, I am quite convinced (Hooker & Huxley
took same view some months ago) that a philosophic view of nature can solely be driven
into naturalists by treating special subjects as you have here done.— Under a
special point of view I think you have solved one of the most perplexing problems which
could be given to solve. I am glad to hear from Hooker that
Linn. Soc. will give Plates, if you can get drawings; but I suppose they might be drawn
on to stone or copper.— Pray excuse me for again saying if ever you
Do not complain of want of advice during your Travels; I daresay part of your great originality of views may be due to the necessity of self exertion of thought. I can understand that your reception at B. Museum would damp you; they are a very good set of men, but not the sort to appreciate your work. In fact I have long thought that too much systematic work of description somehow blunts the faculties. The general public appreciates a good dose of reasoning, or generalisation with new & curious remarks on habits, final causes &c &c, far more than do the regular naturalists.—
I am extremely glad to hear that you have begun your Travels. (I thought your Glacial
Letter admirably written); I am very busy, but I shall be
truly glad to render any aid which I can by reading your 1
I fear that you will hardly read my vile handwriting, but I cannot without killing trouble, write better.—
You shall have my candid opinion on your M.S., but remember it is hard to judge from M.S.—one reads slowly & heavy parts seem much heavier.— A first rate judge thought my Journal very poor; now that it is in print, I happen to know, he likes it.— I am sure you will understand why I am so egotistical.—
I was a little disappointed in Wallace's Book on the Amazon; hardly factsenough.— On other hand in Gosse's books there is not reasoning enough to my taste.— Heaven knows whether you will care to read all this scribbling—
M.S. can be sent by Book Post, if marked to be printed.— Had you not better register it?
Many thanks for Wallace's letter; he rates me much too highly & himself much
too lowly.— That was an admirable paper of his in Linn.
Journal.— But what strikes me most about
With cordial good wishes & thanks | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin
I am glad you had pleasant day with Hooker: he is an admirably good man in every sense.
- f1 3338.f1Letter from H. W. Bates, [1 December] 1861.
- f2 3338.f2Bates's paper on the butterflies of the Amazon River basin (Bates 1861b) had been read at a meeting of the Linnean Society of London on 21 November 1861. At the same meeting CD had also read a paper, which described his study of dimorphism in Primula (see Collected papers 2: 45--63).
- f3 3338.f3Bates's paper described mimetic resemblances in Amazonian butterflies that could not be explained as the result purely of adaptation to similar conditions. Invoking the theory of natural selection, Bates suggested that the `selecting agents' were insectivorous animals that destroyed those varieties of edible species that did not sufficiently resemble the inedible analogical form (Bates 1861b, pp. 511--12).
- f4 3338.f4See letter to J. D. Hooker, 1 December  and letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 November .
- f5 3338.f5Members of the staff of the zoological department of the British Museum, under the direction of John Edward Gray, included the entomologist Frederick Smith, George Robert Gray (an expert on insects and birds), and Adam White (a specialist on Coleoptera and Crustacea) (British Museum (Natural History) 1904--6).
- f6 3338.f6Letter from H. W. Bates, 28 March 1861. Bates's account of his travels, The naturalist on the river Amazons, was published by John Murray in 1863.
- f7 3338.f7Henry Holland read CD's Beagle journal in manuscript and thought that it did not merit being published separately from Robert FitzRoy's general account of the voyage. See Correspondence vol. 1, letter to Caroline Darwin, [7 December 1836]; see also ibid., letters from Emma Wedgwood to F. M. Wedgwood, 17 December 1836, and from Hensleigh Wedgwood, [20 December 1836].
- f8 3338.f8CD read Wallace 1853 in February 1854 (see Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 128: 8). There is a brief abstract of the work in DAR 205.3: 156--7.
- f9 3338.f9CD had read several works by Philip Henry Gosse, including Gosse 1851 and Gosse 1853 (see Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 128: 2 and 128: 10). There is a copy of Gosse 1851 in the Darwin Library--CUL.
- f10 3338.f10Alfred Russel Wallace had sent CD the manuscript of Wallace 1860, which CD communicated to the Linnean Society of London for publication (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to A. R. Wallace, 9 August 1859).
- f11 3338.f11The reference is to Wallace's positive reaction to the arrangements made to publish his paper, which outlined the theory of natural selection, jointly with a statement of CD's theory (Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Zoology) 3 (1859): 45--62). For the circumstances that led to the publication, see Correspondence vol. 7.
- f12 3338.f12Bates's description of his meeting with Joseph Dalton Hooker was presumably given in the part of his letter of [1 December] 1861 that is now missing.