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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hermanus Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen   3 November 1871


3 November 1871

Dear Sir!

I have very much satisfaction from my translation of your “Descent of Man”, of which already more then six hundred have been sold, what is immense for so little a country, as Holland is.1 The translation and my annotations on your work have been criticized in a very benevolent manner in some of our Reviews and Periodic papers.2 Now I hear, that in England a new work of your hand is printed and I should be very glad to translate also your new work in our language.3 Therefore I beg you to sent me the first 16 pages, the last sixteen pages and the printed title, because it is necessary in this country to show them to a special commission in order to obtain the right of translation. If you will not do this, every bookseller or editor, who can show your work to this commission when it is printed, obtains the right of translation and can give it to every translator he wishes, and in this manner it would be very possible that this translator would not be the same as the translator of your “Descent of man”.

I propose myself to make this winter or in the spring of 1872 an excursion to the United States of N. A. and if I could obtain there employment in a museum or elsewhere as naturalist, I would be very inclined to emigrate and to remain there.4 I will try to receive some introductions for Mr Agassiz5 and other American professors from my Dutch friends and acquaintances, but I believe that an introduction from your part would be still more profitable for me. If you would be so very kind to give me an introduction to some of the American naturalists you would very much oblige me. I think to go also to California, where a university is established in Oakland, not far from S. Francisco.6 I think that, when I lived in a country, where nothing as English was spoken, I soon would learn to speak and to understand it (when spoken, this being quite an other affair as when written) much better than I now do.

Believe me, Dear Sir! | Yours sincerely | H Hartogh Heijs v. Zouteveen


Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen refers to the Dutch translation of Descent (Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen trans. 1871–2).
The Dutch translation of Descent contained notes by the translator at the end of each chapter (letter from Hermanus Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen, 28 February 1874, Calendar no. 9323). The Dutch translation of Descent and its reception in the Netherlands are discussed in Leeuwenburgh and Heide 2008, pp. 181–3.
Expression was not published until November 1872 (Freeman 1977).
Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen had apparently failed to obtain a professorship in zoology at the University of Leiden because of his support for Darwinism (Leeuwenburgh and Heide 2008, p. 182).
Louis Agassiz.
The University of California, Berkeley, was founded in Oakland, California, in 1868, and was later expanded into the adjoining town of Berkeley (Helfand 2002).


Wishes to translate Expression into Dutch.

Letter details

Letter no.
Hermanus Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 184: 16
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8049,” accessed on 21 July 2019,

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