To H. W. Bates 25 September 
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Sir
Your letter, like every one that I have received from you, has been a mine of wealth & has interested me greatly.1 But first for the most important point, viz your Book of Travels, & I hearily rejoice that you intend publishing.2 I shd. think that you could not have a more respectable or pleasanter publisher than Mr Van Voorst.—3 At the same time, I apprehend, there can be no doubt that Murray has much greater power of getting large distribution. Murray has the character of being a very liberal paymaster & I am sure I have found him most liberal & pleasant to deal with. Of course every publisher will be cautious with a new author. If your Book should turn out popular (& there is some little mere luck in this) it would be a thousand pities that it shd. not be in hands that could press its sale. I cannot remember that Mr V. Voorst has ever had very large sale for any of his Books.— On other hand Mr V. V. would better appreciate your scientific character than Mr Murray.—4 This is all the advice I can give; except that I rejoice I went to Murray with the Origin.—5
By the way here is case in point! Colburn did not value my Journal of Researches & would never, I am sure, have published a second Edit. I took it from Colburn & sold it to Murray & it has long & great sale up to present day.—6 — If you shd. decide on Mr Murray, & if you would so like I shall be most happy to write to Mr. Murray & can most truly tell him how much I appreciate the force of intellect & knowledge & style of your letters to me.—7 What terms he would offer you I cannot conjecture: he would, no doubt, wish to see some M.S.— As an old hackneyed author let me give you a bit of advice, viz to strike out every word, which is not quite necessary to connect subjects & which would not interest a stranger. I constantly asked myself, would a stranger care for this? & struck out or left in accordingly.— I think too much pains cannot be taken in making style transparently clear & throwing eloquence to the dogs. I hope that you will not think these few words impertinent.— (I would sell only 1st. Edition.)—8
Now for a few words on Science.— Many thanks for facts on Neuters. You cannot tell how I rejoice that you do not think what I have said on subject absurd.—9 Only 2 persons have ever noticed it to me!— Viz the bitter sneers of Owen in Eding. Review, & my good friend & supporter Sir C. Lyell, who could only screw up courage to say “well you have manfully faced the difficulty”.—10
What a wonderful case of Volucella, of which I had never heard; I had no idea such a case occurred in nature: I must get & see specimens in Brit. Museum.—11 I hope & suppose you will give a good deal of Nat. History in your Travels; everyone cares about Ants— more notice has been taken of Slave Ants in the Origin that of any other passage.—
I fully expect to delight in your Travels. Keep to simple style as in your excellent letters,—but I beg pardon I am again advising.
What a capital paper yours will be on mimetic resemblances.—12 You will make quite a new subject of it.— I had thought of such cases as a difficulty. & once when corresponding with Dr. Collingwood, I thought of your explanation; but I drove it from my mind, for I felt that I had not knowledge to judge one way or the other. Dr. C., I think, states that the mimetic forms inhabit same country; but I did not know whether to believe him.—13 What wonderful cases yours seem to be.— Could you not give a few woodcuts in your Travels to illustrate this?— I am tired with hard’s day’s work—so no more, except to give my sincere thanks & hearty wishes for the success of your Travels.—
My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin
Recommends publisher for HWB; admires J. van Voorst but suggests Murray.
In reply to HWB’s letter [missing], comments on neuters and mimicry.
- Letter no.
- Charles Robert Darwin
- Henry Walter Bates
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Cleveland Health Sciences Library (Robert M. Stecher collection)
- Physical description