2 vols., 9 wood-engraved plates, one folding map, illustrations in the text, advertisements (dated January 1863) in volume one, dark red endpapers, publisher’s pictorial brown cloth gilt., a bright sound copy.
In 1847 Wallace and Bates discussed the idea of an expedition to the Amazon rainforest, the plan being to cover expenses by sending specimens back to London. There an agent would sell them for a commission. (The often repeated statement that the main purpose was for the travellers to “gather facts towards solving the problem of the origin of species”, and that Wallace put this in a letter to Bates, is almost certainly a myth, originating in a convenient adjustment of history by Bates in The Naturalist on the River Amazons of 1863.) The two friends, who were both by now experienced amateur entomologists, met in London to prepare themselves. They did this by viewing South American plants and animals in the main collections. Also they collected “wants lists” of the desires of museums and collectors. All known letters exchanged between Wallace and Bates are available in Wallace Letters Online.
Bates and Wallace sailed from Liverpool in April 1848, arriving in Pará (now Belém) at the end of May. For the first year they settled in a villa near the city, collecting birds and insects. After that they agreed to collect independently, Bates travelling to Cametá on the Tocantins River. He then moved up the Amazon to Óbidos,Manaus and finally to the Upper Amazon (Solimões). Tefé was his base camp for four and a half years. His health eventually deteriorated and he returned to Britain in 1859, after spending nearly eleven years on the Amazon. He sent his collection on three different ships to avoid the fate of his colleague Wallace, who lost his entire collection when his ship sank. Bates spent the next three years writing his account of the trip, The Naturalist on the River Amazons, widely regarded as one of the finest reports of natural history travels.
[Borba de Moraes, p.91], 8vo, John Murray, 1863