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".
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6335,” accessed on 28 October 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6335