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Darwin Correspondence Project

To H. W. Bates   15 October [1862]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Oct 15th

My dear Mr Bates

I want to hear a little news of you & your Book, & how you & it go on.—2 We have had a wretched summer & have returned home about a fortnight.—3

One of my poor Boys, Leonard, was fearfully ill for two months from effect of Scarlet fever & on our journey to sea-side, Mrs Darwin sickened with the fever & we were detained 3 weeks at Southampton.4 My health has suffered considerably, but I am now slowly at work again.—

When at leisure pray let me have a line, telling me what you have been doing.—

By the way the other day a Mr Edwin Brown of Burton sent me Procs. of N. Ent. Soc. with a letter,5 in which he tells me that he is working at a genealogical classification of genus Carabus.— In answer I told him that you had thought of something of the kind.6

Pray believe me | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship to the letter from H. W. Bates, 17 October 1862.
Bates 1863.
The Darwin family spent September 1862 in Bournemouth, returning to Down House on 30 September (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix II)).
Leonard Darwin became ill with scarlet fever on 12 June 1862 (see Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). Emma Darwin became ill with scarlet fever in Southampton on 13 August, while on the way to Bournemouth with CD and Leonard; they remained in Southampton until 1 September 1862 (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix II)).
Edwin Brown’s letter has not been found. A lightly annotated copy of the Proceedings of the Northern Entomological Society for 28 July 1862, printed lithographically in handwritten script, is preserved in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL; a paper by Brown ‘on the mutability of specific or race forms’ (E. Brown 1862) is printed on pp. 7–18. Brown argued that while CD had ‘dwelt ingeniously and satisfactorily upon one cause for the alteration of forms of life’, namely, natural selection, he had almost lost sight of other causes, including ‘the direct influences of climate and food, and the accumulative effects of those apparently causeless individual variations that take place at every generation’.
CD’s letter to Brown has not been found. CD had been impressed by Bates’s discussion of the distribution of beetles of the genus Carabus in South America, and of its significance for CD’s views respecting the migration of species during the Pleistocene glacial period (see Correspondence vol. 9, letter from H. W. Bates, 28 March 1861, and letter to H. W. Bates, 4 April [1861], and this volume, letter from H. W. Bates, 30 April 1862). In his letter to Bates of 4 May [1862], CD had suggested that this case, supported by another, ‘would be worth a paper’.


Asks for news of HWB and his book.

There has been sickness in CD’s family; one of the boys [and Emma] had scarlet fever.

Has had a letter from Edwin Brown of Burton who is working on classification of Carabi.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henry Walter Bates
Sent from
Source of text
Cleveland Health Sciences Library (Robert M. Stecher collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3764,” accessed on 18 July 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10