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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
The British Library (Add MS 34486 D ff. 56–7)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4911,” accessed on 19 September 2021,

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