skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Lubbock   15 December 1862


15 Dec. 1862

My dear Mr. Darwin

I did not reply to your note at once because I had not then finished reading Bates’ paper.1

It is certainly very good, but as you yourself suggested I can’t see any reason why you should not, & several why you should, write the article for us yourself.2 I have two short articles in our forthcoming number,3 I have to do one on the Swiss lakes for our next,4 besides two papers for the Linnæan & a lecture at the Royal Institution.5 So you see my hands are already too full.

But you have the subject so completely at your fingers end, & have no doubt studied the question of the mimetic resemblances so much & thought out its bearings on Natural Selection, that it would give you very little trouble (comparatively) to write two or three pages about it.

Do see whether you can’t do this for us.

I hope you have all kept well.

Believe me, dear Mr Darwin, always | Yours affectionately | John Lubbock

C Darwin Esq


CD’s letter has not been found; however, he had evidently written to suggest that Lubbock, who was one of the editors of the Natural History Review, might review Bates 1862a in the journal (see the letter to H. W. Bates, 25 November [1862] and n. 8).
CD reviewed Bates 1862a in the April 1863 number of the Natural History Review (‘Review of Bates on mimetic butterflies’).
Lubbock 1863a and [Lubbock] 1863b.
Lubbock visited Switzerland in July and early August 1862, when he made a study of the recently discovered remains of prehistoric lake-dwellings or ‘Pfahlbauten’ (see letter from John Lubbock, 23 August 1862 and nn. 3 and 5). He had previously described these remains from written reports in a paper for the January 1862 number of the Natural History Review (Lubbock 1862b), but did not publish an account of his own observations in the journal. He did, however, present some of his observations in a lecture at the Royal Institution of Great Britain on 27 February 1863 (Lubbock 1863c); see also Lubbock 1865, pp. 119–70.
Lubbock 1863c, 1863d, and 1863e.


Bates, Henry Walter. 1862. Contributions to an insect fauna of the Amazon valley. Coleoptera: Longicornes. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 3d ser. 9: 117–24, 396–405, 446–58.

‘Review of Bates on mimetic butterflies’: [Review of "Contributions to an insect fauna of the Amazon valley", by Henry Walter Bates.] [By Charles Darwin.] Natural History Review n.s. 3 (1863): 219–24. [Collected papers 2: 87–92.]


Thinks Bates’s paper on mimetic butterflies ["Contributions to an insect fauna of the Amazon valley", Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond. 23 (1862): 495–566], is very good; would appreciate an article on it from CD ["On mimetic butterflies", Nat. Hist. Rev. (1863): 219–24; Collected papers 2: 87–92].

Letter details

Letter no.
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 170: 34
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3862,” accessed on 29 November 2022,

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