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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hermanus Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen   [before 18 January 1873]1

Translation (abbreviated) of some of my annotations on Darwin’s “Expression in man and animals”2

p. 102, Chapter IV, “I am not aware that there is any evidence in favour of this view”3

I find in Prof. Hartings “Leerboek van de Grondbeginselen der Dierkunde” 1); Deel II, Afdeeling 2, p. 248, that the arrectores, by which the feathers of the birds are erected, are striped muscles, like the voluntary.

1) Learning-book of the Principles of Zoology, vol. II, section 2, p. 2484

p. 104, Chapter IV. Origin of the Words for toad; they certainly in all European languages don’t express the habit of swelling. Professor Juynbol5 in Delft (Holland) informs me, as follows:

The Baskian (Basque) apoa (toad) comes from apal, little, and hoa, to go. The Russian sjaba does not come from a root, signifying to swell   In the Semitic languages I can find no root for toad, signifying to swell; all the words in these languages rather signify, something that springs around. The Javanese and Malaian languages also don’t give words with the root to swell. As to the Romanic languages of Europe Prof. Juynbol quotes Dietz, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der Romanischen Sprachen, who says (in voce crapaud) “Crapaud” franz., provenç crapaut grapaut, catalan. gripan, limousinisch gropal. (für grapal) Kröte. Von crepare, das berstende? d.h. zum bersten sich blähende Thier? Allein warum als dann nicht deutlich crevaud? Richtiger leiten es andere vom Engl. to creep; .... . . zu erwähnen ist auch Picardisch crapeux, als adj. schmutzig .... franz. graisse crasse.

Sapo” Spanisch, Portug. Kröte, nach Span. etymologen vom Griech. σήψ, σηπός art giftiger Schlangen oder Eidechsen, auch Latein. sepsRospo” Italien. Kröte vielleicht zusammen hängend nat. raspo, rauh.

botta” Italien. Altfranz. botte, auch boz Kröte, … scheint aus Deutscher wurzel in bôzen, stoßen, treiben, so das es das aufgetriebene Thier bezeichnete. Auch Span. boto, adj. stümpf6

I find in Webster’s Dictionary of the Engl. language, last Edition that he derivates the English toad (and the names of that animal in Anglo-Saxon, Danish, Swedish) from the Islandian lad, dung.7

page 108, Chapt. IV. footnote 30. Is not Ichneumon the name of the Egyptian species of Herpestes?8

p. 116, Chapt. V. “To have his back up” Is it not rather derivated from the appearance of any angry cat, than from that of a hostile dog?

p. 121 “Grinning” in dogs. Can it not be a bad imitation of human laughter, as barking perhaps of speech?

p. 135 Cynopith. niger. I can, I believe, recognise the expression as one of pleasure   It can be, that it is because I have read in your book it was one of pleasure, at the same time that I saw the engraving.9 It seems to me a bad kind of voluptuous laughter.

p. 202. Laughter Conferatur the speech of Dr Ewald Hecker 16 Aug. 72 in the meeting of German naturalists and physicians. You can find it in “Naturforscher” of October or Nov. 187210

p. 216. Origin of kissing. I have read but don’t remember where, the origin of kissing was in the Roman women being not allowed to drink wine, and the husbands coming home ascertaining by kissing them, if they had not done so. Cannot be true because Homer mentions kissing, and he is older than the foundation of Rome.11

p. 221 The Egyptians (old), when praying stretched their arms benched before them palms of hand above (see bad drawing here)


expressing so the action of giving something to a person placed above us. I saw them in that position engraved on the walls of the old Temples in Egypt long the Nile. Remarked also that Arabs in Upper Egypt did not understand my shaking no and very little my nodding yes.

In Tour du monde some years ago I remarked an engraving representing praying Bouddhists in India. All had palms of the hands joined like we and fingers of one hand through interstices of fingers of other hand like we.12

I read in Lucretius, Lib. V. v. 1199—“Nec procumbere humi prostratum et pandere palmas

Ante Deum delubra” (se pietas est)13

Can this not be kneeling with upturned hands and joined palms? In Catholicism there is much of the old Roman religion in the forms, see beautiful novel of Charles Reade “the Cloister and the Hearth”.14

In “Album der Natuur” 1856, p. 15 I find an engraving of a Babylonian basrelief, discovered by Layard, representing Jewish prisoners of War from Lachish (II Kings XVIII), found in the palace of Sennacherib in Kouyunjik.15 One of them is completely in our position of devotion and occupied in dare manus16 to signify his submission.

p. 249 “In such cases etc.”17 The negro fights with his hard head, like a he-goat with his horns. I saw this summer in New York a white actor, who played for a negro, and made this gesture so comically, that the auditorium laughed and applauded violently. Can this not be origin of protrusion of head in fighting, like clenching fists only common to races who fight with fists.

p. 252 exposition of canine. I myself can expose voluntarily my left canine very strongly and involuntarily and unconsciously do so under very trifling emotions. On the right side, I cannot do it, but both canines together I can.

p. 256 Derivation of the word scorn in Websters dict. last ed.18 it is derivated from French écorner, escorner, escorne, deprive some one of his horns

p. 257 “Smear of soup on a man’s beard” I believe it looks dirty because it remembers us saliva or mucus from the nose in a man’s beard.

p. 259 Vomiting. The old director of the Gardens of acclimatation” of the Hague19 told me that a young giraffe, having broken his leg was killed and a peace of the meat sent to a family, saying it was meat of a stag. They eat it and find it very excellent, in the evening our director comes on a visit and tells the meat was not of a stag but of a giraffe. What is that asked a lady. The director explicates. “What that ugly yellow beast! exclaims the lady and begins vomiting very violently.

disgust of unusual food to be seen in the disgust of our Dutch people for horse-meat.

p. 266 The rubbing of the thumb against the fingers as an expression of impatience, does not seem to me so very peculiar. I often in myself remarked it, but chiefly the fifth, fourth (annular) and third (middle) finger, being rubbed against thumb with somewhat snapping movement. I explain it thus: under impatience there exists a desire of doing something, for that you must wait, and that you will do, when waiting is over. By this desire nerve force is already liberated and flows, not yet being used for the intended action, along accustomed channels and causes some useless movement. Now fingers are of the most used of all parts of body; channels to fingers are thus very accustomed channels   In the same manner impatience is often expressed by drumming with the fingers on the table, trampling with the feet etc. Under impatience of hearing (not of doing) something association works and the gesture is still performed.

p. 277. Question at the end of Chapt XI. In the Far West of United States I repeatedly observed (1872) Indian women bearing her child on her back, bound on a peace of wood, making every movement very difficult. In some parts of the world the heads of the children are deformed by binding them between peaces of lumber20   In how far can such habits, as impeaching movement, influence the signs of negation and affirmation, when they have realy the origin suspected by Darwin?

p 251 (Chapt X). Sardonic smile. Some derivate this expression from the Greek σαίρεω, to grin like a dog21 (Webster). By this is proved, that you are not the first, who remarked the resemblance between a Sardonic smile, discovering the canine in sneering (In Dutch we call it “den neus ophalen” to draw up the nose) and the snarling of a dog. This is prooved also by the French expressions rire canin and spasme cynique (Engl. cynic spasm” Italian spasimo cinica, Spanish espasmo cinico) and the German Hundskrampf. Rire canin is synonimous with rire sardonique ou moqueur22 (Dict. de Médécine, Littré et Robin).23 Spasme cynique and the German Hundskrampf signify a spasmodic movement of the muscles of the cheek, by which the lips are drawn from another in such a manner, that the teeth are discovered (Littré et Robin ibid.) The muscle, by which sneering is effected (snarling muscle) has also the name of cynic muscle (musculus caninus). All from Latin canis a dog, Greek κυων a dog.

p. 333., 334. Consciousness of a fault before God does not excite blushing. Conferatur Ezra as quoted p. 32224

p. 336 Shakespeare may be defended because in darkness there exists no colour, because colour is not something inherent to the objects, but only vibrations of aether of a determined amplitude.25 Where no aether is vibrating, there also is absolutely no colour. The blush of Julia could exist but hardly bepaint her cheek in darkness. The case is the same, as it appears to me, as in very dark-coloured races. I confess, my defence of Shakespeare is very spesious, but I say only S. might be defended   I could say also: vibrating aether is not yet colour, colour is the impression, that the human of animal mind receives, from beams of vibrating aether broken in the eye.26 Where no eye is present, that perceives, or where the present eye cannot perceive (for darkness or some other cause) there also is absolutely no colour

p. 365 “If man had breathed water by ext. branch”. No animal breathes water, but only the air dissolved in the water

p. 367 specific or sub-specific unity of the several races. This would mean, as it appears to me, that all races together were one species or even one sub-species. You will apparently say: the belief, that the several varieties of man are races or sub-species, belonging altogether to one and the same species, and therefore not different species.

Three first chapters

p. 36. Reflex actions in decapitated frog. Conferantur the experiences of Brown Seq. and Charles Robin on decapitated men, Revue des deux Mondes 15 Janvier 1870 p. 399–402 and Fecquier, l’Année scientifique, 1869 p. 469; also on goose-skin as a reflex-action27

p. 47, picking up of chickens started into action by the sense of hearing”28

Conferantur experiences of D. A Spalding communicated by him in the British Association f. t. adv. of science.29

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Dr. Hartogh Heys van Zouteveen’


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Hermanus Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen, 28 January [1873] (Correspondence vol. 30, Supplement).
Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen translated Expression into Dutch (Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen trans. 1873).
Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen refers to the view that the involuntary arrectores pili (hair-erecting) muscles had originally been voluntary (Expression, pp. 102–3).
Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen refers to Pieter Harting and Harting 1862–74.
A. W. T. Juynbol.
Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen refers to Friedrich Christian Diez and cites Diez 1869–70, 2: 267, 177, 59; 1: 78. In voce: evidently here means ‘under the headword’ (literally, ‘in voice’). The text quoted may be translated: Crapaud” French, Provençal crapaut grapaut, Catalan gripan, Limousin gropal. (for grapal): toad. From crepare, the bursting, i.e. the animal that swells itself to bursting? Only then why not clearly crevaud? More properly it comes from the English to creep; … also the Picard crapeux ought to be considered, as the adjective filthy … French. graisse crasse. “Sapo” Spanish, Portug. toad, according to Spanish etymologists from the Greek. σήψ, σηπός a type of poisonous snake or lizard, also Latin. sepsRospo” Italian. Toad perhaps naturally going together with raspo, roughbotta” Italian. Old French botte, also boz Toad, … apparently from the German root bôzen, push, drive, so that it expresses the swollen animal. Also Span. boto, adj. blunt
The derivation that Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen quotes is in Webster 1865. Islandian: i.e. Icelandic.
In Expression, p. 108 n. 30, CD cited Albert Günther’s Reptiles of British India (Günther 1864, p. 340) on the destruction of cobras by ‘the ichneumon or herpestes’. The common name ichneumon is usually applied to the Egyptian mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon).
In Expression, p. 135, CD commented that the expression of the Cynopithecus niger in the second figure on page 136 ‘would never be recognised by a stranger as one of pleasure’. Cynopithecus niger is now Macaca nigra, the Celebes crested macaque.
A meeting of the German society of naturalists and physicians was held in Leipzig from 12 to 18 August 1872 (Tageblatt der 45. Versammlung deutscher Naturforscher und Aerzte in Leipzig). Hecker’s remarks on laughter are reported in Der Naturforscher, 26 October 1872, p. 352. In Expression, p. 202, CD wrote, ‘The sound of laughter is produced by a deep inspiration followed by short, interrupted, spasmodic contractions of the chest, and especially of the diaphragm.’ Hecker suggested that the spasmodic expirations of laughter were a reflexive compensatory mechanism to decrease the pressure on the brain resulting from the spasmodic stimulation of the nerves caused by tickling or comedy.
See Aulus Gellius, Attic nights, 10: 23, and Homer, Odyssey, 16: 15, 17: 39, 13: 354.
Tour du monde was an illustrated journal of travel published in Paris.
Lucretius, De rerum natura, 5.5.1199–202: ‘and it is not piety to bow prostrate to the ground and spread out the hands before the temples of the gods.’
Album der Natuur (Album of nature) was a Dutch periodical. Austen Henry Layard excavated Nineveh, an ancient Assyrian city whose ruins are now near Mosul in Iraq (ODNB); Kouyunjik is one of the mound-ruins of Nineveh. Lachish was an ancient city in Canaan (now Israel).
Dare manus: literally, to give the hands, i.e. to submit (Latin).
‘This protrusion of the head and body seems a common gesture with the enraged; and I have noticed it with degraded English women whilst quarrelling violently in the streets. In such cases it may be presumed that neither party expects to receive a blow from the other’ (Expression, pp. 248–9).
The Koninklijk Zoölogisch Botanisch Genootschap van Acclamatie (Royal Zoological–Botanical Society for Acclimatisation) founded the Koninklijke Zoölogisch-Botanische Tuin (Royal Zoological–Botanical Garden) in the Hague in 1863 (Baarsel 1998).
Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen may refer to the practice of head-binding among the Chinook people near the Columbia river in North America (see Greenwood 1865, 1: 14–15).
σαίρω: part the lips and show the closed teeth (Liddell and Scott comps. 1996).
Rire sardonique ou moqueur: sardonic or mocking laughter.
Littré and Robin 1865 s.v. canin.
In Expression, pp. 333–4, CD wrote, ‘a man may be convinced that God witnesses all his actions, and he may feel deeply conscious of some fault and pray for forgiveness; but this will not, as a lady who is a great blusher believes, ever excite a blush.’ On p. 322, he had cited Ezra 9.6: ‘O, my God! I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my head to thee, my God.’ Conferatur: is to be compared with (Latin).
In Expression, p. 336, CD had quoted from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 2: 2: ‘Thou know’st the mask of night is on my face; | Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek, | For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night.’
For more on theories of colour perception involving vibrations of the aether, see Cahan ed. 1993, pp. 224ff.
Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen cites pages from Lemattre 1870, where the experiments of Charles Édouard Brown-Séquard in irrigating with blood the muscles of the hand of a decapitated man, and the head of a decapitated dog, are discussed. Robin’s observations of recently dead bodies, and attempt to repeat Brown-Séquard’s experiment on a human head, are described in L’Année scientifique et industrielle (1869): 469–71. L’Année scientifique was published by Louis Figuier. Brown-Séquard and Robin had both noticed goose-flesh on revivified or recently dead corpses.
In Expression, p. 47, CD wrote, ‘the wonderful power which a chicken possesses only a few hours after being hatched, of picking up small particles of food, seems to be started into action through the sense of hearing; for with chickens hatched by artificial heat, a good observer found that “making a noise with the finger-nail against a board, in imitation of the hen-mother, first taught them to peck at their meat.’”
Douglas Alexander Spalding had described his observations on the faculties of newly hatched chickens at the 1872 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (see Spalding 1872). He thought that his observations showed that much of their behaviour was instinctive.


Baarsel, G. J. M. van. 1998. De Haagse Dierentuin. Holland. Regionaal historisch tijdschrift 20: 238–50.

Diez, Friedrich. 1869–70. Etymologisches Wörterbuch der romanischen Sprachen. 3d edition. 2 vols. Bonn: Adolph Marcus.

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

Greenwood, James. 1865. Curiosities of savage life. 3d edition. 2 vols. London: S. O. Beeton.

Günther, Albert Charles Lewis Gotthilf. 1864. The reptiles of British India. London: Ray Society.

Harting, Pieter. 1862–74. Leerboek van de grondbeginselen der dierkunde in haren geheelen omvang. 3 parts in 14 vols. Tiel: H. C. A. Campagne.

Lemattre, Gustave. 1870. La transfusion du sang et la vie des élémens de l’organisme. Revue des deux mondes 85: 387–406.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.

Reade, Charles. 1861. The cloister and the hearth. 4 vols. London: Trübner & Co.

Webster, Noah. 1865. An American dictionary of the English language. Revised by Chauncey A. Goodrich and Noah Porter. Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam.


Translation of some of his annotations in Dutch edition of Expression.

Letter details

Letter no.
Hermanus Hartogh Heijs van Zouteveen
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 53.1: B44–9
Physical description
Amem 12pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8712,” accessed on 10 June 2023,

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