Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/128

This page has been validated.


HENRY WALTER BATES is best known to science as the propounder of the doctrine of protective resemblance or mimicry; and to science and the reading public as the author of the book, A Naturalist on the Amazons, which has been accorded by competent critics a place as a scientific book of travels alongside of Darwin's Voyage of a Naturalist, Wallace's Malay Archipelago, and the volume of Hooker.

Mr. Bates was born in Leicester, England, February 8, 1825, and died in London, February 16, 1892. He was the son of a manufacturer of his native town, known as "Honest Harry Bates," and was intended for a business career. After receiving the usual instruction of tradesmen's sons at a boarding school in Billesdon, he was apprenticed to Alderman Gregory, hosiery manufacturer, Leicester, in whose shop his working hours were from 7 A. M. to 8 P. M. With all the laborious character of his duties, it was during the apprenticeship, his brother says, that he laid the foundation of all that he afterward was. He became a member of the Mechanics' Institute of Leicester, which had a good library and numerous evening classes with competent masters; entered the Greek, Latin, French, drawing, and composition classes; "and worked with an energy and perseverance that brought him to the front in all." This he did by studying late into the night and in the early hours of the morning. He was a diligent reader, setting special value upon Gibbon's great history, joined a glee club, learned to play the guitar, and became known as a good barytone singer.

While attending the classes in the Mechanics' Institute he became acquainted with a number of gentlemen who had tastes for natural history. He was specially inclined to entomology, and cultivated first the Lepidoptera and afterward the Coleoptera. Holidays came rarely to the boy, but they were eagerly utilized for collecting excursions, beginning the year's work usually with Good Friday. Young Bates habitually wrote descriptive accounts of his expeditions, and was accustomed to sketch and write out descriptions of all the principal insects captured.

After the death of Alderman Gregory, his master, several years before the expiration of his apprenticeship, Bates managed the business on a small scale for the deceased proprietor's son. He had formed an extensive collection of British beetles and was in correspondence with the chief coleopterists of the time. Probably his first contribution to entomological literature was a Note on Coleopterous Insects frequenting Damp Places, which was published in the first number of The Zoologist, in 1813. A situa-