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Darwin Correspondence Project

From H. W. Bates   8 April 1863

King Street | Leicester

8 April 1863

My Dear Mr Darwin

I have been very busy for the last 10 days with all the little details connected with a change of residence & am now in Leicester packing up my collections & library for removal to London.1 This will account for my not writing before to thank you for the very beautiful review of my essay in the “Natural History review”.2 By this days post I send a copy of my book of travels for your acceptance.3 I finished all my work connected with it 6 weeks ago & am now quite tired of it, the delays having been so numerous & tedious.4 I found I had written for about 200 pages more than was necessary & so was obliged to leave out much matter including a long, unfinished account of origin of species by segregation of races in support of yr theory.

Mr Murray seems very slow to push my book, friends here complaining that it has never been properly advertised.5 The expenses were very great (over 700£) & the price in consequence is fixed high.6 Very few copies will be sent to reviewers so that there will be slow progress. Your most well-timed remarks at the end of your little review will be the best advertisement I have had or expect to have.7

Yours sincerely | H W Bates

I remain here till the 14th.


On his return from South America in 1859, Bates had joined his brothers in the family hosiery business in Leicester, often visiting London for the sake of his scientific work. Bates and his wife, Sarah Ann, moved to London in April 1863 (Woodcock 1969, pp. 240, 255). See also letters from H. W. Bates, 24 January 1863 and 20 April 1863.
Bates refers to CD’s anonymous review of Bates 1861, which appeared in the April 1863 number of the Natural History Review (‘Review of Bates on mimetic butterflies’).
Bates refers to his account of his travels in the Amazon River basin (Bates 1863). CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 35–7). CD helped and encouraged Bates to write Bates 1863 (see Correspondence vols. 9 and 10, and Bates 1863, p. iv.)
The naturalist on the river Amazons (Bates 1863) was announced in John Murray’s list of new works for April 1863 (Publishers’ Circular 26 (1863): 172, 193). CD had encouraged Bates to publish with Murray, and had written to the latter in support of Bates’s work (see, for example, Correspondence vol. 9, letter to H. W. Bates, 25 September [1861], and Correspondence vol. 10, letter to John Murray, 28 January [1862]).
Bates 1863 was published in two volumes and sold at 28s. (Publishers’ Circular 26 (1863): 172, 193).
Concluding his review of Bates 1861 (‘Review of Bates on mimetic butterflies’, p. 224; Collected papers 2: 92) CD had written: We think so highly of the powers of observation and reasoning shown in this Memoir, that we rejoice to see by the advertisements that Mr. Bates will soon publish an account of his adventures and his observations in natural history, during his long sojourn in the magnificent valley of the Amazon. We believe that this work will be full of interest to every admirer of Nature.


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.

Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

‘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.]

Woodcock, George. 1969. Henry Walter Bates, naturalist of the Amazons. London: Faber & Faber.


Preparations under way to move to London account for delay in thanking CD for his review [Collected papers 2: 87–92].

His book is finished, and he is sending a copy to CD; owing to the great expense few copies will be sent to reviewers.

Letter details

Letter no.
Henry Walter Bates
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 74
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4079,” accessed on 24 November 2020,

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