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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Henry Walter Bates   12 January [1863]1

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

Jan 12th

Dear Bates

One line to say that I have just heard from Asa Gray, that if he had a copy of your paper he would endeavour to get Prof. Haldeman to review in Sillimans Journal of Science.2 If you have a spare copy & think it worth chance, post by Book Post it to

Prof. Asa Gray



U. States

I may as well tell you, as you will be sure to find out from resemblance to my letter that I have sent little Review of your Paper to N. Hist. Review.—3 But I have reason to believe Editors will modify some part.—

If you send copy to Asa Gray, tell me; otherwise do not trouble yourself to write.—

By the way here is question sometime for you to answer, if you can, do Bees or Lepidoptera visit flowers of Melastomatads; if you shd. remember what genera of plants, please state;4 all a mere chance. whether you can answer, I know, I hope Book progresses5

In Haste | Yours | C. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to the reviews of Bates 1861 (see nn. 2 and 3, below).
The letter from Asa Gray has not been found; the information referred to by CD was probably contained in the missing section of the letter from Asa Gray, 29 December 1862 (Correspondence vol. 10). Bates’s paper appeared in the Transactions of the Linnean Society of London in November 1862 (Bates 1861). CD had asked Gray to find a colleague to review Bates 1861, an account of mimetic resemblances in species of Amazonian Lepidoptera, which CD thought ‘well worth some labour in studying’ (see Correspondence vol. 10, letters to Asa Gray, 23 November [1862] and 26[–7] November [1862]). The review of Bates 1861 published in the September 1863 number of the American Journal of Science and Arts (commonly referred to as ‘Silliman’s journal’, after its founder, Benjamin Silliman) was written by Gray himself (A. Gray 1863a), and not by Samuel Steman Haldeman, professor of natural sciences at Delaware College (DAB).
CD refers to the letter to H. W. Bates, 20 November [1862] (Correspondence vol. 10). CD’s review of Bates 1861 (‘Review of Bates on mimetic butterflies’) appeared in the April 1863 number of the Natural History Review.
CD suspected that some species of Melastomataceae might exhibit a novel form of flower dimorphism; he had been experimenting with the family since 1861 (see letter to Hugh Falconer, 5 [and 6] January [1863] and n. 22). Melastomataceae are very common in South America, where Bates had spent eleven years as a collector.
Bates’s account of his eleven years in the Amazon region of South America (Bates 1863) was published in April 1863 (Publishers’ Circular 26: 193). See also letter from H. W. Bates, 17 January [1863].


Bates, Henry Walter. 1861. Contributions to an insect fauna of the Amazon valley. Lepidoptera: Heliconidæ. [Read 21 November 1861.] Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 23 (1860–2): 495–566.

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.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

DAB: Dictionary of American biography. Under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies. 20 vols., index, and 10 supplements. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons; Simon & Schuster Macmillan. London: Oxford University Press; Humphrey Milford. 1928–95.

‘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.]


Asa Gray will try to get HWB’s paper reviewed.

Also mentions that he (CD) wrote a short review of it for Natural History Review [Collected papers 2: 87–92].

Asks whether bees or Lepidoptera visit flowers of Melastomataceae.

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
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3911,” accessed on 23 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11