Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/129

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

tion was procured for him in the offices of Messrs. Alsopp, Burtonon-Trent, where he remained, in an uncongenial atmosphere, till arrangements were made for his starting with Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace on their scientific expedition to the Amazons.

He first became acquainted with Mr. Wallace in 1844, when Wallace was a master in the English Collegiate School, and began a correspondence with him. Three years later, or in 1847, Mr. Wallace suggested a joint expedition to the Amazons for the purpose of exploring the natural history of its banks, and of gathering facts, as he said, "toward solving the origin of species." The two friends, after spending some time in studying South American plants and animals in the principal collections in London, embarked in a small trading vessel April 26, 1848, and arrived at Pará May 28th. They set to work forthwith, sending home from time to time duplicates of their collections to defray expenses. Though zoölogy was the primary object of their expedition, they also acquired much geographical and ethnographical information. Pará continued to be the headquarters of the two, and of Bates after the separation, from which their excursions were made and to which they returned, and after the departure of Wallace, till November 6, 1851, when Bates started on his voyage of seven years and a half to the Tapajos and the upper Amazons. One of their excursions was down the Tocantins River and to the town of Cametá, and furnished much information on the subject of the complicated river geography. In September, 1849, Bates started on his first voyage up the Amazons in a small sailing vessel (for steamers were not established until the year 1853) and reached Santarem, which he subsequently made his headquarters for a period of three years, but on this journey he pushed on to Obydos, about fifty miles farther. Here a trader was found who was proceeding in a cubesta laden with merchandise to the Rio Negro, which was arranged to stop frequently on the way, and Bates, securing a passage, once more increased his knowledge of the Amazons. The destination of the boat was Manaos, or the Barra of the Rio Negro, a spot rendered memorable by the visit of Spix and Martius in 1820. After a short stay Bates proceeded to Ega, the first town of any importance on the Solimoens River, which he reached on the 26th of March, 1850. Here he spent nearly two months before returning to Pará, and thus finished what may be considered as his preliminary survey of the vast collecting ground to be almost called his own. In November, 1851, he again arrived at Santarem, on a second journey, where, after a residence of six months, he commenced arrangements for an excursion up the little-known Tapajos River, which in magnitude stands sixth among the tributaries of the Amazons. A stay was made at the small settlement of Aveyros, and from this spot