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Darwin Correspondence Project

To C. V. Riley   1 June [1871]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

June 1st

My dear Sir

I received some little time ago your Report on Noxious Insects, & have now read the whole with the greatest interest.2 There are a vast number of facts & generalizations of value to me, & I am struck with admiration at your powers of observation. The discussion on mimetic insects seems to me particularly good & original.—3 Pray accept my cordial thanks for the instruction & interest which I have received.

What a loss to natural science our poor mutual friend, Walsh, has been; it is a loss ever to be deplored.4

Pray believe me with much respect | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

Your country is far ahead of ours in some respects; our Parliament would think any man mad who should propose to appoint a State Entomologist.5


The year is established by the reference to Riley 1869–77 (see nn. 2 and 3, below).
CD refers to the third volume of Annual reports on the noxious, beneficial and other insects in the state of Missouri (Riley 1869–77), published in 1871. CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 710–12).
See Riley 1869–77, 3: 148–51.
CD refers to Benjamin Dann Walsh, who died following an accident in 1869. Riley and Walsh met in 1864 and founded the American Entomologist: an illustrated magazine of popular and practical entomology in 1868 (ANB).
Riley was appointed state entomologist of Missouri in 1868. Walsh had been state entomologist of Illinois from 1867 (ANB).


ANB: American national biography. Edited by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes. 24 vols. and supplement. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1999–2002.

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.

Riley, Charles Valentine. 1869–77. Annual reports on the noxious, beneficial, and other, insects of the State of Missouri. Jefferson City, Mo.: Regan & Edwards, public printer [and others].


Comments on CVR’s book [Third annual report on the noxious, beneficial, and other insects of the State of Missouri (1871)].

Discusses mimetic insects.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Valentine Riley
Sent from
Source of text
Profiles in History (dealers) (December 1996)
Physical description
ALS 3pp and C 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7794,” accessed on 24 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19