skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Hermanus Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen   21 February 1871

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Feb 21 1871

Dear Sir

I am greatly obliged for the copy from the Révue & for your interesting remarks. If M. Reclus is trustworthy the case is extremely curious, & I think it wd be worth while to enquire in Paris whether he is to be trusted.1 I have also received your Dutch memoir with the wonderful drawings of elephant’s heads. May this not be a record of an extinct animal like the drawing of the Mastodon said to have been found in France?2 The argument in the voyage of the Novara & elsewhere, led me to the conclusion of the independent civilisation of Peru &c.3

I have already despatched to you the erroneous sheet,4 & I enclose answers to your queries. I wish I knew where the word, Larynx was. I think I follow Häckel in his use of the word Phylum.5 Pray correct in Ch. 6 the word kingdom into sub-kingdom. In vol 1. p 321 I would add, after “classes”, or “sub kingdoms”   I am very much obliged for these suggestions.6

I hope soon to send a few more sheets reprinted with slight corrections.

Believe me | dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

P.S. I much wish I cd read Dutch; for yr memoir judging from the wood-cuts must be very interesting.—


See letter from Hermanus Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen, [before 21 February 1871]. CD refers to the quotation from an article by Elisée Reclus in Revue des deux mondes (Reclus 1859–60).
CD’s copy of Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen’s article, ‘De voorhistorische mensch in Amerika’ (Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen 1870b) is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL; it is not annotated. It includes drawings of elephant-head sculptures or hieroglyphs.
CD refers to Friedrich Müller 1868; there is an annotated copy in the Darwin Library–CUL (Marginalia 1: 608–9). On p. 127, CD wrote: ‘He discusses & disputes whether the civilisation of W. coast of S. America is due to immigration from Asia— I wd remark if so, the aborigines must have already been somewhat advanced, for while not nec with our inference, it is very unlikely that a few shipwrecked men from some less civilised nation cd have produced any permanent effect on savages.—’
See letter from Hermanus Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen, [before 21 February 1871]. Ernst Haeckel, in his book Generelle Morphologie der Organismen (Haeckel 1866, 1: 29), coined the term ‘phylon’ to describe a group or tribe of organisms descended from a common form. The term was later given a Latin rather than a Greek ending and became ‘phylum’. For Haeckel’s use of the term phylum or phylon, see Valentine 2004, p. 8.


Haeckel, Ernst. 1866. Generelle Morphologie der Organismen. Allgemeine Grundzüge der organischen Formen-Wissenschaft, mechanisch begründet durch die von Charles Darwin reformirte Descendenz-Theorie. 2 vols. Berlin: Georg Reimer.

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.

Reclus, Elisée. 1859–60. La Nouvelle-Grenade: paysages de la nature tropicale. I. Les côtes Néo-Grenadines. II. Sainte-Marthe et la Horqueta. III. Rio-Hacha, les indiens Goajires et la Sierra-Negra. IV. Les Aruaques et la Sierra Nevada. Revue des Deux Mondes 24: 624–61, 25: 609–35, 26: 419–52, 27: 50–83.

Valentine, James W. 2004. On the origin of phyla. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Thanks HHHvZ for a memoir

and answers some queries;

mentions some corrections for his Dutch translation of Descent.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7500,” accessed on 22 November 2019,

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