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Darwin Correspondence Project

From H. W. Bates   24 November 1862

King St Leicester

Nov 24 1862

My Dear Mr Darwin

I am now well repaid for the labour of writing the paper in Linn. Trans. having received your warm & discriminating approval.1 Dr Hooker has also written a most friendly letter on the subject valuing the treatise highly.2 Mr Wallace & I discussed the matter last time I was in London & he thinks me entirely right.3 As for the “mob” of Naturalists, I don’t care much about them.4 There is only one man in Europe who will be able to follow my reasonings species by species & variety by variety; this is Dr C. Felder of Vienna & I shall be glad to hear from him upon the subject.5 As to ordinary Entomologists they cannot be considered scientific men but must be ranked with collectors of postage stamps & crockery.

I wish to have more criticisms from you on the subject, when you are quite at leisure (what an idea!).— I am quite sure I could now put the case much more strongly. But you say the argument is quite clear so I must rest contented. I now believe one of the forms of Leptalis (L. argochloe) is not an immediate descendant from L. Theonoe, as the other varieties are, but has originated (in a similar way) somewhere westward in Andean Valleys & has wandered to the Amazons. It would be tedious here to give reasons. Does it occur to you that a great deal may be unexpectedly learnt by thus thoroughly going into one small group of Natural objects? The more I study them the more I am surprised at the wonderful revelations which spring from them: much more than is explained in my treatise. 〈two pages missing

I am vain enough to wish to see the paper noticed in some widely circulated publication, think’g it may introduce my book.6 Do you know anything of Sir J. Herschel or his address?7 I hear he writes those capital monthly summaries of science in the “Cornhill” & would like to send him a copy.8

CD annotations

2.7 Does … objects? 2.8] cross in margin, ink


Joseph Dalton Hooker’s letter to Bates of 13 November 1862 is reproduced in Bates 1892, pp. xlvi–xlvii. See also letter from J. D. Hooker, [15 and] 20 November [1862].
Cajetan von Felder was an authority on Brazilian butterflies (OBL).
Bates was preparing an account of his travels in the Amazon region of South America (Bates 1863).
CD had known John Frederick William Herschel for many years (see Correspondence vol. 2); however, his name is not in CD’s Address book (Down House MS). Herschel lived at Collingwood House, Hawkhurst, Kent (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1862).
Herschel contributed monthly summaries of recent scientific discoveries to the Cornhill Magazine between September 1862 and March 1863 (Wellesley index); however, Bates 1862a was not discussed in any of his notices.


Bates, Henry Walter. 1863. The naturalist on the River Amazons. A record of adventures, habits of animals, sketches of Brazilian and Indian life, and aspects of nature under the equator, during eleven years of travel. 2 vols. London: John Murray.

Bates, Henry Walter. 1892. The naturalist on the River Amazons. A record of adventures, habits of animals, sketches of Brazilian and Indian life, and aspects of nature under the equator, during eleven years of travel. With a memoir of the author by Edward Clodd. Reprint of the first edition. London: John Murray.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

OBL: Österreichisches biographisches Lexikon 1815–1950. Edited by Leo Santifaller et al. 12 vols. and 11 fascicles of vol. 13 (A–Warchalowski August) to date. Vienna: Osterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. 1957–.

Post Office directory of the six home counties: Post Office directory of the six home counties, viz., Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. London: W. Kelly & Co. 1845–78.

Wellesley index: The Wellesley index to Victorian periodicals 1824–1900. Edited by Walter E. Houghton et al. 5 vols. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1966–89.


Gratified by CD’s approval of paper which was also praised by Hooker and Wallace. Only cares for one other opinion, that of C. Felder of Vienna. He finds ordinary entomologists are not scientific men. Asks for more criticisms; desires to publish paper in a widely circulating journal to advertise his book.

Letter details

Letter no.
Henry Walter Bates
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160.1: 72

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3825,” accessed on 19 November 2019,

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