From J. B. Innes 31 August 1868
31st. Augt. 1868
I see by a cheque Osborne has sent me that you have returned home.1 I hope much recruited by your trip.
I have paid the amount due by Mr. Horsman to the Sunday School, £5–3; and am ready to pay the balance for the day School.2 I had an application from Langly and Gibbon3 32 Great James St. Bedford row for payment of his stipend, less School dues, but as School dues were not correctly stated I have not yet paid; any way I bear the school clear of loss.
I have been reading your new book with the greatest interest. I dont know that I ever was so charmed with a natural history work. I jotted down a memorandum or two, which I send you, and wish I could have done more.4
It is strange how differently the same facts appear to different people. As I read your book I became more and more impressed with the idea that you had abandoned the theory that what I should unscientifically call different brutes had probably come from a common origin, as every fact seemed to shew there was no evidence of the least trace of change from one kind to another, but that a horse is always a horse, whether big or little, &c. So it was with no little surprise that I came to your summing up; and I was lost in admiration that a man with a theory published a book to upset it, with all facts so carefully investigated and so truthfully told. I have not the book at hand, but I think you suggest whales and mice as having a common ancestor.5 If you succeeded in getting a cross between these Scotch cousins6 would the hybrid be fertile? The Theological difficulty of the predestination of variations had never occurred to me; nor do I think it is really any difficulty.7 We know we do as we please with what we have, and certain results follow; we cause plants and animals to improve or deteriorate; we make corn into bread or spirits &c, the power to do so having been placed in our hands—
We know there must be a First Cause; that there must be infinite space, unlimited time; and it has never been a difficulty with me to understand that my powers of thought are totally unfit to understand what is so far above me, and that while I know those things must be I cannot form an idea about them or how they are, infinite wisdom as far above our best learning as eternity is above a second of time—
I did not mean to write all this when I began, I hope you will excuse my remarks.
I don’t know if the election is to bring me up. If I felt sure you would muster courage to go to Bromley, I would offer to pair with you. If you don’t go I sincerely hope it will not be sickness that keeps you at home. I knew Talbot long ago and he was a good man in my view—8
With Mrs. Innes9 kindest regards to you all Believe me Dear Darwin | Yours faithfully | J Brodie Innes—
We congratulate you on your well deserved Prussian decoration. You must be a blaze of stars when you are in full fig—10
JBI has been charmed with Variation. Does not think there is really any theological difficulty in the "predestination of variation".