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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   13 April 1863

Cambridge, [Massachusetts]

April 13, 1863

My Dear Darwin,

Your latest to me is March 20.1 I am very sorry that your health does not hold out as well as it ought.

To my disappointment all my extracts of Bates’ paper on Mimetic Analogy are laid over to July no. of Sill. Journal,2—which you will not wonder at when I tell you that they have put in type at least 16 pages of mine for May no.—the larger part being review of A. DC. on Species derived from Oak-studies.3

⁠⟨⁠half a page excised⁠⟩⁠ am not surprised at his caution about adopting your theory, nor that his opinion about change—i.e. slow & gradual change should “fluctuate”.4

Pray do finish & bring out your book on Variation. I have great expectations of it.5

I have to-day little to write, but cannot resist dropping you a line, though there be nothing in it.

Ever Yours | A. Gray

CD annotations

On cover, recto: ‘(Plantago)6 | angle of leaves | Bells— [Recurrent] angles’7 ink
On cover, verso: ‘Language | Lyell does not act as Judge, & this grieves me.—’8 ink, del ink


Gray refers to his review of Henry Walter Bates’s account of mimetic butterflies (Bates 1861), which eventually appeared in the September 1863 number of the American Journal of Science and Arts (A. Gray 1863a). The journal was commonly known as ‘Silliman’s journal’, after its founder and editor Benjamin Silliman.
Gray’s review of Alphonse de Candolle’s ‘Etude sur l’espèce á l’occasion d’une révision de la famille des Cupulifères’ (A. de Candolle 1862a) appeared in the May 1863 number of the American Journal of Science and Arts (A. Gray 1863d).
Gray refers to Charles Lyell and his discussion of CD’s theory in Antiquity of man (C. Lyell 1863a; see letter to Asa Gray, 20 March [1863]).
Variation was published in 1868.


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.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Hopes CD will finish and bring out his book on variation.

AG will publish extracts of H. W. Bates’s paper on mimetic analogy [Am. J. Sci. 2d ser. 36 (1863): 279–94].

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Cambridge Mass.
Source of text
DAR 165: 133
Physical description
ALS 2pp inc †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4089,” accessed on 20 March 2023,

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