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Darwin Correspondence Project

To H. W. Bates   9 April [1863]1

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

April 9th.

Dear Bates

I have an hour ago received your note & the Book.2 I thank you cordially for your kind present. I have cut the pages & looked at most of the illustrations, & it seems to me one of the best got up books I have ever seen. I shall read it slowly & am sure it will interest me greatly.3 Whether it sells quickly or no, I feel a conviction that this publication will always be herafter a great satisfaction to you, when your severe labour will be forgotten. You will see it often alluded to in other works. I fear the great expence, which is not surprising, will lessen profits.4 It is so clear that it is Murray’s interest to sell the Book largely & as he has had large experience, I think you need not fear he will advertise to right degree.5 Remember how expensive advertisements are. He is never a great advertiser; & I have fancied when he feels sure that the Book will sell he advertises little. I do not think he has advertised Lyell much, & I am sure he advertised the Origin extremely little.6

I cordially congratulate you on publishing such a work.— When settled in London & you have leisure send me a line to say what your prospects are.— Shall you be in Holles St?7 I wrote there some little time since telling you of A. Grays “fascination” at your Butterfly paper.—8

With every good wish.— believe me yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from H. W. Bates, 8 April 1863.
CD’s annotated copy of Bates 1863 is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 35–7).
Bates was concerned that the publisher, John Murray, did not seem to be advertising Bates 1863 very widely (see letter from H. W. Bates, 8 April 1863).
Murray had also published Charles Lyell’s Antiquity of man (C. Lyell 1863a) and Origin.
In January 1863, Bates’s address in London had been 10 Hollis Place (see letters from H. W. Bates, 17 January [1863] and 24 January 1863). After his marriage, Bates and his wife moved to 22 Harmood Street, off Haverstock Hill, Hampstead (Woodcock 1969, p. 255). See also letter from H. W. Bates, 8 April 1863 and n. 1.
Asa Gray’s letter to CD of 9 February 1863, in which he complimented Bates’s paper, has not been found, but see CD’s letter to Bates of 4 March [1863]. See also letter to Asa Gray, 20 March [1863]. Gray published a review of Bates 1861 in the September 1863 number of the American Journal of Science and Arts (A. Gray 1863a).


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.

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.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

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


Thanks HWB for his book [Naturalist on the river Amazons]. Feels sure it will often be alluded to in other works.

Asa Gray is fascinated by the "Butterfly paper" ["Contributions to an insect fauna of the Amazon valley", Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond. 23 (1862): 495–566].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henry Walter Bates
Sent from
Source of text
Yale University: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (GEN MSS MISC Group 1559 F-1)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4080,” accessed on 21 March 2023,

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