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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Samuel Butler   6 October [1865]1

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

Oct 6

My dear Sir

I thank you sincerely for your kind & frank letter which has interested me greatly.2

What a singular & varied career you have already run. Did you keep any journal or notes in N. Zealand for it strikes me that with your rare powers of writing you might make a very interesting work descriptive of a colonist’s life in N. Zealand.3

I return your printed letter which you might like to keep.4 It has amused me, especially the part in which you criticize yourself.5 To appreciate the latter part fully I ought to have read the Bishop’s letter which seems to have been very rich.6 You tell me not to answer your note but I cd not resist the wish to thank you for your letter.

With every good wish | believe me my dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Samuel Butler, 1 October 1865.
In 1863, Butler’s father, Thomas Butler, published A first year in Canterbury settlement (reprinted in Butler 1923), a book compiled from Samuel Butler’s journal and letters to his father (see Butler 1923, p. xxi).
Butler had sent CD a copy of his letter to the Press, Christchurch, New Zealand (see enclosure to letter from Samuel Butler, 1 October 1865).
Butler had written a previous letter to the Press, which had received a critical reply; Butler then wrote again as though he were a third party, commenting on both letters (see enclosure to letter from Samuel Butler, 1 October 1865 and n. 7).
CD refers to Charles John Abraham, the bishop of Wellington, and to the letter signed ‘Barrel-organs’, written as a response to Butler’s original article of 20 December 1862 (see letter from Samuel Butler, 1 October 1865 and n. 5).


Butler, Samuel. 1923. A first year in Canterbury Settlement and other early essays. Vol. 1 of The Shrewsbury edition of the works of Samuel Butler, edited by Henry Festing Jones and Augustus Theodore Bartholomew. London: Jonathan Cape. New York: E. P. Dutton & Company.


Thanks SB for letter of 1 October.

Returns the printed letter in which SB replied to the Bishop [of Wellington, N. Z.]; it amused him.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Samuel Butler
Sent from
Source of text
British Library (Add. MS 34486, f. 56)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4911,” accessed on 29 January 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13