skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Henry Austin Bruce   24 August [1868?]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Aug 24th

Dear Sir

I am very much obliged to you for your kindness in writing to me.—2 I have heard of so many cases of striped asses, that I do not much care about more; but I have been very glad to hear your interesting case of the affectionate Jackall. By an odd coincidence I was lately much wishing to know whether any animals of the Dog Family, beside the domestic dog, showed their affection by licking, & now you have answered me.3

With my best thanks I beg leave to remain | Dear Sir | Your obliged & obedt. servant | Charles Darwin


The year is conjectured from the printed address, which was in use from May 1861 to April 1869, and from the reference to material that may have been intended for use in Expression. After the publication of Variation in January 1868, CD began to work in earnest on Descent (published 1871) and Expression (published in 1872).
Bruce’s letter to CD has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
CD had discussed striped asses in Variation 1: 62–4 and 2: 351. He discussed dogs licking to show affection in Expression, pp. 119–20. He mentioned that jackals and wolves used the same gesture in Expression, p. 125, but did not cite Bruce.


Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

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

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


Thanks correspondent for information. CD does not care much for more cases of striped asses,

but is pleased at the interesting case of the affectionate jackal that licks like a domestic dog.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henry Austin Bruce, 1st Baron Aberdare
Sent from
Source of text
Sir Brooke Boothby (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6330,” accessed on 3 August 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16