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Squire Charles Waterton the Naturalist
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Rattlesnake Experiment
Jenny the Ape
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Letters - a selection

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Brickbats and Roses for his friends and foes!

1. Heads and Tales: Or Anecdotes and Stories of Quadrupeds and Other Beasts (1870), Adam White.
(Letter from Charles Waterton at Scarborough)

In this letter to Adam White, Charles Waterton mentions the chimpanzee drawn for Adam White, specifically the size of its ears. He also describes how his planned fourth edition of the Essays became instead a 'revised' edition. He does not seem to have been very happy about how this episode was handled by Mrs. Loudon#.

With this letter, Waterton also enclosed a copy of his letter to Mrs. Wombwell* concerning a visit to her gorilla - later known as Jenny the Ape.

Extracts
Main letter (to Adam White)
Walton Hall, February 4th, 1856.

"Pray do not suppose that for one single moment I should be illiberal enough to undervalue a 'closet naturalist'. It does not fall to everyone's lot to range through the forests of Guiana, still, a gentleman given to natural history may do wonders for it in his own apartments on his native soil; and had Audobon, Swainson, Jameson &c., not attacked me in all the pride of pompous self conceit, I should have been the last man in the world to expose their gross ignorance."
....
You ask me 'If we are to have another volume of essays?' I beg to answer no."
------------------

The appended letter (to Mrs. Wombwell)
Scarborough Cliff No. 1, November 1st, 1855.

The subject is Jenny The Ape.
"I am truly sorry that the inclemency of the weather has prevented the inhabitants of this renowned watering place from visiting your gorilla or brown orang-outang. I have passed two hours in its company, and I have been gratified beyond expression. Would that all lovers of natural history could get sight of it, as, possibly, they may never see another of the same species in this country."
------------------
■ Read a copy of the two letters (pdf).





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Letters - a selection of Charles Waterton's correspondence
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