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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. C. Costerus and N. D. Doedes   18 March 1873


18/3 73.

Most venerated Sir,

We, the subsigned, both Students on the University of Utrecht, might express to you our thanks and gratitude.

The first of us, who studies, like you, the History of plants and animals, is much indebted to you regarding to his insight into the Origin of Species; while the other, who is now studying the History of Man and Geografy, owes very much especially to your highly interesting investigations on the Descent of Man.1

Both of us are charmed with your beautiful last work on the Expression of the emotions, and hope in time to profit still more by the lecture of your other books.2

This letter also means to tell you, that there are in Holland many among the younger generation, who love and estimate you with their whole heart, though not having the honour of knowing you in person. Your name is for many of us a watchword in the battle of science. You are for us in several regards a personification of Natural Filosofy.3

We hope, though you don’t before even have heard of our names, that it may be a little flower on your path to perceive our admiration and affection, though uttered in bad English.

One thing we might ask from you. Your precious works are so in double sense; and the second sense causes that they are not so much promulgated, at least in Holland, as we should wish. Pray, give to the world a cheap edition of them. Surely it could not be but most profitable for the good sake of truth.

Wishing to you a good health, | We are, | Most venerated Sir, | With the utmost respect, | J. C. Costerus. | N. D. Doedes.


Costerus was a botanist; Doedes had originally studied theology at Utrecht, but had recently changed to history (Heide 2006, p. 104).
Expression had been published in November 1872.
For the reception of Darwinism in the Netherlands, see Leeuwenburgh and Heide 2008. CD had been elected a fellow of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen in 1872 (Correspondence vol. 20, letter to F. C. Donders, 29 April 1872), and had been sent an album of photographs of Dutch scientists (letter from Emma Darwin to W. E. Darwin, [12 February 1872], DAR 219.1: 86). For CD’s influence on Costerus and Doedes and for more on their correspondence with him, see Heide 2006.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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

Heide, Janneke van der. 2006. Darwin’s young admirers. Endeavour 30: 103–7.


Two students express their gratitude and admiration.

Letter details

Letter no.
Nicolaas Dirk Doedes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 162: 200
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8815,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

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