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Darwin Correspondence Project

To ?   19 May [1871]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

May 19th

Dear Sir

You have been wonderfully kind to have taken so much trouble for me, & as it has proved almost in vain, though by no means quite so, for there is nothing I hate so much as quoting what can hardly be trusted; yet this has often been my fate.— I felt particular interest in the case, because it was apparently an instance of a new gesture or expression arising in an animal & inherited, & I know of no other, though I have such cases with mankind.

Many thanks for the reference about Dogs, which I will keep, but I fear that my small strength will never allow me to grapple with the subject again. I daresay this rather old book may be origin of statement about the scent of the Bull-dog.—2

I most heartily subscribe to what you say about the qualities of Dogs: I have one whom I love with all my heart.

With very many thanks for you great kindness | In Haste | yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the printed letterhead, with the address on the right; this is a form that CD used between May 1871 and January 1872.
The book has not been identified. The bulldog was known for being deficient in sense of smell (see Variation 2: 95).


Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks for references about dogs. Fears work will not allow him to deal with subject again. Heartily subscribes to what correspondent says about qualities of dogs. Loves his "with all my heart".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Paul C. Richards (dealer) (Catalogue 109)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13889,” accessed on 25 October 2021,

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