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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Stanley Haynes   [1873?]1

Observations on | The Expression of the Emotions | by Dr. Stanley Haynes. (F.R.G.S.)2 | of Malvern Link

Page 30. Respecting calves sucking: dairy people have made similar remarks to me.3 When the secretion of milk has been retarded and an infant has been spoon-fed until the breasts yield milk I have frequently been told of and have noticed the difficulty in getting the infant to suck.

P. 30. I have known the caterpillar of the privet hawk-moth (Sphinx Ligustri) to starve itself rather than feed upon another plant, devoured by other specimens: e.g. the larva from an almond tree has refused to feed upon the potato or privet, and vice versa. Similarly, the mulberry-reared silk-worm (Bombyx mori) will not eat the lettuce4

P. 34. If a person in a congregation cough during a sermon many others will imitate him.5 A clergyman, disturbed by a person who often originated series of coughs, is said to have stopped speaking and to have sent the offender a cough lozenge, with the effect of the remainder of his sermon being listened to without a sound from any one of his hearers. Shewing (P. 36) coughing can be entirely controlled by mental effort when there is no physical cause for it.6

A relation of mine, now aged 28, used always to arrest her acts of sneezing until two years ago, since when she has sneezed naturally: from long repression of perfect sneezing she used to be unable to complete the act. Irritation of the Schneiderian membrane (lining the nose) by strong light, as a cause of sneezing, is much marked in some families, as in the males of mine.7

P. 41. The contraction of the iris, caused by bright light, is produced by reflex action from the retina, which would be injured by too great stimulation. It is a physiological necessity, independent of habit or of the will.

P. 42. Do not dogs turn round when lying down to sleep, in order to have their hair smooth and comfortable beneath them. I think stiff-haired dogs turn most.8

P. 44. I have noticed dogs shaking food they did not much relish or want, before eating it.

P. 45. Donkeys nibble each other more than horses do.9

P. 67. Healthy contractibilty of muscles, when not in action, constitutes their “tone”. Is not trembling from emotion due to excess of tone, from excited and superabundant nervous energy, with consequent intermittent relaxations? We notice similar trembling when muscles are faradized: if a person receive a strong current of electricity his muscles are convulsed.10 The reason why children, and some women, go into convulsions from emotions, instead of trembling, may be that their nervous systems are unrestrained and energetic. Trembling and convulsions are due to excessive nerve force. Cold to the surface causes trembling of muscles, independent of flow of nerve force, by producing direct contraction: ice applied to the limbs of a newly decapitated frog thus causes reflex motion

P.p. 69–70. Concerning pain. A parturient woman is a good example of the text.11

P. 70. Does not irritation of a nerve cell generate nerve force because such generation is the function of the cell?; in precisely the same way as irritation of a gland causes flow of its secretion.12

P. 71. Mr. Spencer’s and your remarks support the doctrine of correlation of forces, which is as much applicable to vital force as to heat and its modifications.13

P. 73. Perspiration during fear may be due to contraction of the skin squeezing out its moisture, the follicles being suddenly emptied of that which constitutes insensible perspiration in the natural condition. Dilatation of the capillaries from temporary paralysis of the sympathetic or vaso-motor system may be a subsequent cause.14

P. 77. Apprehension causes, inter alia, vesical irritability, well marked in students just expecting important examination. At such times I have experienced decided hot perspiration, limited to the palms.

P. 81 Expectation has decided influence on horses: e.g. when they are about to be saddled or harnessed they generally defæcate.

P. 85–86. Many dogs and cats express very various emotions by their voices.

P. 93. The laughter of man may be a rapidly reiterated series of sounds because it is the antithesis of his prolonged cry of pain or distress.15

P. 93. Some children, and even adults, stamp on the ground when angry or impatient16

P. 99. The “fantail” of New Zealand ruffles out its feathers, droops its wings and expands its tail when not afraid and in winter (therefore, when not actuated sexually): they are very gregarious, tame and playful and remind one of irate miniature turkey-cocks.17 I have seen cock greenfinches, and pigeons, when courting, exhibit their plumage in the same manner.

P. 101. Contraction of the skin and erection of hair or feathers caused by external cold or sensation of cold—as in ague fit—serves to keep the body warm by the interposition of non-conducting cuticular appendages and by the pores being so closed that heat does not escape so rapidly from the blood. It must be for this latter reason that the minute cutaneous hair muscles of man remain (p. 308.)18 The reason why a man, feeling cold, folds his arms to his sides, raises his shoulders and droops his neck may be that such movements may be inherited from the time when his distant progenitors had a dense covering of hair, when such actions would protect him from cold. Do monkeys, when cold, exhibit these movements. Dogs, cats and other animals curl themselves up when cold: so does a man when just got into a cold bed or when shivering during a bilious headache.

P. 108. I have known an English terrier to spring on grass snakes whenever he could and kill them as he would rats.

In Australia special legislation protects the Australian magpie, because it is a snake killer. I think the “laughing jackass” is another.19

P. 109 The rattle of the rattle snake, from your theory, ought to consist solely of modified cuticular structure.20 Is it so? Maunder’s “Treasury of Natural History”21 describes it as consisting of bones. An assertion therein (Edition 1849, p. 565) made is in favour of your theory—“all the remaining joints are so many extraneous bodies, as it were, or perfectly unconnected to the tail by any other means than their curious insertions into each other. These bony rings increase in number, with the age of the animal, and it is said that it acquires an additional one at each casting of the skin”

P. 111, 139, 144. I have frequently seen a student, during unexciting but interesting lectures, move his ears and scalp without moving the eyebrows: he seemed equally unconscious of the oddity and of the attention it created. I have noticed my left ear moving once or twice, but cannot do so voluntarily.

P. 121. Besides terriers I have seen a retriever grin.

P. 124. Is not the pressure down of the tail when animals fear anything behind them designed (perhaps unconsciously) for the protection of the genitals?.

P. 144. I am able to move my scalp, but not without effort and raising of the eyebrows. Vide ante “p. 111”.

155. In Auckland I have seen two Maori men, who I was told had evidently not met for some time, meet in the middle of a muddy street, sit and rub noses and weep profusely: after a short time they disappeared into a public house!22

P. 200. A slightly amusing cause, when the mind has for some time been kept in a state of tension, as during a sermon, will cause uncontrollable laughter in some persons. In a drama containing pathetic incidents the supervention of a cheerful scene suffices to cause smiles in some, vigorous laughter in others.

P. 206. See reference to p. 93.

P. 213. On paying a deserved compliment to a Maori he straightened himself, smiled, shewed his teeth and his eyes glistened with pleasure.

P. 215. Sexual emotions are excluded from consideration in your work, probably because it is intended for general reading and study.23 The expression of them is characteristic, as a peculiar glitter of the eye and change of voice. No doubt you have observed other expressions.

P. 230. Some microscopists and myopes, who have used one eye too much, get into the habit of using it, more or less habitually; the unused eye is then rotated outwards: it is said this is because the external rectus is stronger than the internal.24

P. 241. See reference to p. 67.

P. 253. Putting the arms “a-kimbo” is a manifestation of defiance.

P. 257. Contempt is also expressed by the application of the extended fingers to the nose, by vulgar English.

P. 261. Some persons quickly protrude and withdraw the tongue as an expression of contempt for the opinion of the person spoken to or of.

P. 271. When under the hands of dentists I have known patients place the open hands, one over the other, on the lower part of the body; and remember doing so myself.25

P. 281. Persons having ptosis (drooping of the eyelids) raise their brows, causing an appearance of surprise.

P. 290. See reference to p. 73.

P. 292. Another symptom of terror is the firm contraction of the skin of the face on the facial bones, causing the face to resemble parchment contracted on a skull.

I have known a young almost unbroken cavalry horse, ridden for the first time with a scabbard, scream sweat, empty his bowels and bladder and soon become exhausted.

P. 294. Hindoos change colour from fear.26

P. 303. Dilatation of my pupils was very marked after I had been frightened by a large dog instantaneously appearing and springing upon me in the dark. I recognized the dog as mine, but was too terrified to speak, although I tried; my mouth was dry and wide open, my teeth chattered for a long time after, preventing me from sleeping. I have seen dilatation of the pupils in a frightened kitten.27

P. 308–309. See reference to p. 101.

P. 311. Blushing is perhaps most marked at puberty: notice the meeting of a boys’ school with a girls’.

P. 343. Headaches are significant of disturbance of the vaso motor system: the dilatation of the capillaries explains the pain, the hyperaesthesia to light and sound and the indisposition for thought: a strong resolution or a necessity for action often arrests or mitigates these symptoms until activity is no longer required, when they recur. Lachrymation and salivation are often troublesome during headaches, and the temporal arteries throb, from the same cause.28

P. 350. See references to pp. 67 and 73.

P. 352. A kitten of mine affords an example of your first principle.29 Its mother was taught, with some little trouble, to “beg” for food: since the birth of the kitten she has not sat up until the past few days. A week ago the kitten, now aged 212 months, begged, without having been taught or having seen the cat do so; and it now sits up better and longer than the mother used to. It has not seen any other indoor animal than its mother. Now, apparently imitating the kitten, the cat has, imperfectly, resumed her old trick.—

CD annotations

5.3 Irritation … mine. 5.5] double scored blue crayon
7.1 P. 42 … it. 8.2] ‘Not w/ they stand up & [scratching]margin, blue crayon
15.1 P. 77.... palms. 15.3] scored blue crayon
21.7 such movements … headache. 21.11] scored blue crayon
23.1 In Australia … another. 23.2] double scored blue crayon
24.3 bones] ‘No’ in margin, blue crayon
26.1 P. 121.... P. 124. 27.1] cross in margin blue crayon
27.2 (perhaps unconsciously)] question mark in margin blue crayon
29.2 weep profusely: 29.3] underlined blue crayon; cross in margin blue crayon
30.1 when … others. 30.4] scored blue crayon
34.2 the unused … internal. 34.3] scored blue crayon
38.1 P. 261.... of. 38.2] scored blue crayon
39.1 P. 271.... myself. 39.3] scored blue crayon
40.1 P. 281.... surprise. 40.2] scored blue crayon
43.1 ridden … exhausted. 43.3] scored blue crayon
44.1 P. 294.... fear.] mark in margin blue crayon
45.1 P. 303.... kitten. 45.5] scored blue crayon
50.1 Its mother … trick.— 50.7] scored blue crayon


The year is conjectured from the reference to Expression, which was published in November 1872 (Freeman 1977).
FRGS: Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
In Expression, p. 30, CD wrote that once a calf had been allowed to suckle from its mother, it was difficult to rear it by hand. In Expression 2d ed., p. 31 n. 3, a note was added that CD’s impression was confirmed by Haynes.
In Expression, p. 30, CD wrote, ‘Caterpillars which have been fed on the leaves of one kind of tree, have been known to perish from hunger rather than to eat the leaves of another tree, although this afforded them their proper food, under a state of nature.’
In Expression, pp. 34–5, CD wrote that when a singer became hoarse, many of the audience cleared their throats.
In Expression, p. 36, CD wrote that sneezing and coughing could be controlled by the will only partially or not at all.
See Expression, p. 41.
In Expression, pp. 42–3, CD suggested that dogs turned round several times when lying down to sleep because of an inherited habit of trampling down the grass.
In Expression, p. 45, CD described horses nibbling at each other instead of scratching.
In Expression, pp. 67–8, CD wrote that trembling served no purpose, and suggested that it might be caused by an interruption of the steady flow of nerve-force to the muscles. Faradize: stimulate by induced electrical currents.
Expression, p. 69: ‘When animals suffer from an agony of pain, they generally writhe about with fearful contortions; and those which habitually use their voices utter piercing cries and groans.’
In Expression, pp. 70–1, CD wrote, ‘Why the irritation of a nerve-cell should generate or liberate nerve-force is not known.’
In Expression, p. 71, CD cited Herbert Spencer’s remark that liberated nerve-force ‘must generate an equivalent manifestation of force somewhere’. Correlation of forces: the principle that heat, electricity, light, and all other physical forces are interconvertible (see Strick 2000, pp. 110–14).
In Expression, p. 73, CD wrote that the cause of perspiration from fear was obscure, but was thought to be connected with the failure of capillary circulation.
In Expression, p. 93, CD wrote that the reason why the laughter of humans was a rapidly reiterated sound was unknown.
In Expression, p. 93, CD mentioned rabbits and porcupines stamping when angry.
In Expression, p. 99, CD discussed birds ruffling their feathers when angry. Fantails are small-bodied birds with long tails in the genus Rhipidura. Haynes had spent two weeks in the New Zealand bush near Auckland (Haynes [1865]).
In Expression, p. 308, CD suggested that the raising of the hair was now useless in humans.
Australian magpie: Gymnorhina tibicen. Laughing jackass: now known as the laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae).
In Expression, p. 109, CD suggested that the rattle of the rattlesnake evolved as a result of the retention and enlargement of scales on the tail. The rattle is composed of keratin; some early naturalists had noted that the material was the same as that which made up the scales (Klauber 1997, 1: 292).
Maunder 1849 (by Samuel Maunder).
CD had written, ‘savages weep copiously from very slight causes’ (Expression, p. 155).
In Expression, p. 215, CD discussed ‘Love, tender feelings, &c.’
In Expression, p. 230, CD mentioned Frans Cornelis Donders’s remark that a blind eye almost always deviated outwards after a time.
In Expression, p. 271, CD wrote that resignation was sometimes shown by the open hands being placed, one over the other, on the lower part of the body.
Haynes was cited for this information in Expression 2d ed., p. 311 n. 29.
In Expression, pp. 303–4, CD wrote that he knew of only one confirmed case of pupils dilating with terror.
In Expression, p. 343, CD discussed the effects of attention on organs that were not under the control of the will, including the salivary and lachrymal glands.
In Expression, p. 352, CD discussed the inheritance of emotional expressions.


Notes headed "Observations on the expression of the emotions".

Letter details

Letter no.
Stanley Haynes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Malvern Link
Source of text
DAR 166: 125
Physical description
Amem 13pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8708,” accessed on 20 June 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21