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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Julius von Haast   4 December 1867

Glückauf Christchurch

Decb 4. 1867

My dear Mr. Darwin

One of the Gentlemen to whom I submitted your Queries about expression,1 the Revd J Stack, Maori Missionary Kaipoi has sent me his answers, but they were written on such thick foolscap & so wide apart, that it would have made quite a thick letter.2 I therefore took the liberty to have them copied & beg to enclose them, trusting that they will be of interest to you. I have no doubt that the other Gentlemen in the North Island have forwarded their answers directly to you.3

I heard with great pleasure from our mutual friend Dr Hooker,4 that you enjoy now much better health & trust that this will continue, both to your comfort and in the interest of Science. Some few months ago, I had the pleasure to forward to you one of my reports on the headwaters of the Rakaia, which will make you acquainted with some of our glacier period phenomena.—5 I have been busy lately with articulating 6 skeletons of Dinornis for our Museum & they form a really curious group & as I believe unique.6 I enclose you a small photograph of them.7 I have numbered the different species for your guidance.

No 1. Dinornis giganteus—9 10

" 2 " Robustus 8 5

" 3 " Elephantopus 5 3

" 4 " Crassus — 4 4

" 5 " casuarinus 5 2

" 6 " didiformis 4 3

I have introduced the skeletons of a Kiwi (Apterix Owenii) & a human figure for comparison.—8

Wishing you further restoration to health believe me my dear Mr Darwin | Yours most faithfully | Julius Haast

Chs. Darwin Esqre FRS.

Down, Bromley | Kent—


Dr. Darwins Queries about expression.

1. “Is astonishment expressed by the eyes and mouth being opened wide and by the eyebrows being raised?

It is, but the action is more observable in some individuals than in others. The habitual endeavour of the maori is to conceal the workings of internal feeling and it is only when an individual is off his guard or the force of passion breaks through the habitual restraint put upon the feelings that any outward manifestations are noticeable either in the expression of the face or the attitude of the person.9

2. “Does shame excite a blush when the color of the skin allows it to be visible?

It does. Hundreds of instances have come under my observation   An amusing one occurred only a few days ago. An old man partly tatooed and rather darker than the average of his people, let a section of land (his all) to an Englishman for a term of years for a small rental just sufficient to keep him in clothes.—For some time there has been quite a mania among the Kaiapoi maoris for the possession of gigs and dog carts, and this seized my old friend who came to me to know whether he could not draw the rent for four years in one lump sum, to enable him to buy a gig that he had set his heart upon. The idea of this poor old clumsey ragged fellow driving in his private carriage was so absurd, that I burst out laughing; the old man blushed to the roots of his hair.10

3. “When a man is indignant or defiant, does he frown hold his body and head erect, square his shoulders, and clench his fists?

He does. But immediately he begins to speak he loses the stiff set and tries to express his rage by the violent action of every part of his body.

I watched a man and woman quarrelling a few days ago and set down in my note-book the following particulars.—11

—Eyes dilated.— body swayed violently backwards and forwards. Head inclined forward toward the antagonist— fists clenched, now thrown behind the body, now brought forward and directed toward eachothers faces.

6. “When in good spirits do the eyes sparkle with the skin round and under them a little wrinkled and with the mouth a little drawn back?

I took the following notes whilst watching a group of maoris who were much amused by something that was being told them.

—Eyes sparkling, half closed. Teeth exposed. Flesh drawn into a round lump on the cheeks.— Corners of the eyes all gathered up.12

14. “Do children when sulky pout, or greatly protrude the lips?

Yes. I have seen them constantly do so.— Man sometimes and woman very frequently.13

I could have answered more of Dr. Darwin’s questions but as he so particularly requests that memory may not be trusted to in doing so, I forbear till I can do so from actual observation of persons not likely to have copied their mode of expressing their feelings from Europeans.14

signed | James Stack

CD annotations

11.1 —Eyes … up. 11.2] scored red crayon; scored pencil; ‘I ought to quote this’ pencil
Top of enclosure:New Zealandink; ‘32 | N. Zealand’ red crayon


CD sent Haast queries about expression with his letter to Haast of 27 February [1867]. For the names of those who received copies of CD’s queries on expression from Haast, see the letter from Julius von Haast, 12 May – 2 June 1867 and nn. 2–4.
Haast refers to James West Stack and to Kaiapoi, near Christchurch, on South Island, New Zealand (Columbia gazetteer of the world). For more on Stack and his view of CD’s transmutation theory, see H. F. von Haast 1948, especially pp. 514–15, and Reed ed. 1935, pp. 61–7.
No replies from the other recipients have been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL. See also letter from Julius von Haast, 12 May – 2 June 1867, n. 5.
Haast refers to Dinornis, the extinct genus of moas of New Zealand, and to the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, New Zealand, which he founded (H. F. von Haast 1948, pp. 113, 123). The museum had opened to the public on 3 December 1867 (ibid., p. 504). Haast first described the bones in J. F. J. von Haast 1868. Haast was assisted in articulating the skeletons by Frederick Richardson Fuller (H. F. von Haast 1948, p. 482). For more on the discovery of the moa bones in December 1866, see H. F. von Haast 1948, pp. 481–6.
The enclosed photograph has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL. The Canterbury Museum has two photographs of the articulated Dinornis skeletons, taken by Daniel Louis Mundy. One, which may be the same as that sent to CD, is reproduced facing p. 118. An engraving after one of the photographs appeared in the Illustrated London News, 8 February 1868, p. 144; the accompanying text named the species and gave their heights in feet and inches as in this letter.
The male figure in the photograph reproduced facing p. 118 is probably Haast; the smallest skeleton could be that of the kiwi, Apterix owenii, a bird related to the moas. For an overview of subsequent taxonomic changes affecting species assigned by Haast to Dinornis, see, for example, Anderson 1989, pp. 17–38.
See Expression, p. 279.
See Expression, pp. 317–18.
See Expression, p. 248.
CD concluded that all human races expressed good spirits similarly, referring to observations made in New Zealand, among other places, but without naming Stack (Expression, p. 213).
See Expression, p. 233.
CD wrote at the end of the questionnaire, ‘Memory is so deceptive on subjects like these that I hope it may not be trusted to’ (enclosure to letter to Julius von Haast, 27 February [1867]). Only the five answers given here are recorded under Stack’s name in CD’s records of responses to his queries on expression (DAR 186: 1–29).


Columbia gazetteer of the world: The Columbia gazetteer of the world. Edited by Saul B. Cohen. 3 vols. New York: Columbia University Press. 1998.

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Haast, Heinrich Ferdinand von. 1948. The life and times of Sir Julius von Haast, explorer, geologist, museum builder. Wellington, New Zealand: privately published.

Haast, John Francis Julius von. 1866. Report on the head-waters of the Rakaia. Christchurch: government of Canterbury province.

Haast, John Francis Julius von. 1868. On the measurements of Dinornis bones, obtained from excavations in a swamp, situated at Glenmark, on the property of Messrs. Kermode and Co., up to February 15, 1868. [Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 28 July 1868.] Transactions of the New Zealand Institute 1: 80–9.


JvH forwards J. Stack’s replies to CD’s queries about expression [see Expression, p. 20].

Sends photos of skeletons of six species of Dinornis he is assembling for the Museum.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Francis Julius (Julius) von Haast
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 166: 12; DAR 177: 243
Physical description
ALS 3pp, encl 5pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5705,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15