London: John Murray, 1863.
First Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. Two volumes, pp. xiii, 351, 32 (publisher's ads); 423, with 9 full-page plates, additional illustrations in the text, and a folding map. Bound in three-quarter blue leather over blue cloth, with red spine label, spine decorated in gilt, marbled endpapers. Some minor scuffing to the leather, else fine. Bates and his friend and fellow naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace traveled to the Amazon together in 1848. "Wallace returned to England in 1852, but Bates was to remain in Amazonia for eleven years, collecting around bases at Belém, Ega (1850–51 and 1855–9), and Santarém and Villa Nova (1851–5); along the Amazon; and on expeditions up the Tapajos (1852) and as far west as São Paulo on the Solimões in 1857. He worked alone, using local river craft, and, after their introduction in 1853, steamboats. Although his main interest was in insects, particularly butterflies and beetles, he also collected animals, birds, reptiles, plants, shells, and Indian artefacts....In total he dispatched some 14,700 species back to England, 8000 of them new to science (DNB). Upon his return to England, Bates wrote several papers that offered support for Darwin's theory of natural selection, and it was Darwin who urged him to write an account of his years in the Amazon. The Naturalist on the River Amazons was not only a highly important work for science, but an accessible and engaging book with interesting details of local people, places, and customs as well as plants and animals. It was an immediate success and has since become a classic of travel writing. Borba de Moraes p. 77, Sabin 3932a.