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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. B. Innes   14 December 1868

Milton Brodie | Forres | N.B.

14th. Decr. 1868

Dear Darwin,

In my letter of Saturday I omitted to express my hope that Miss Wedgwood will continue her offer of selling some of the land of Tromer for a site for a parsonage.1 I do not know that any other is available. I am doing all in my power, both through an agent and privately to find an eligible Clergyman who will undertake to build, who may be presented to Downe, but as I observed before he cannot build in the air. Every attempt I have made in former years has been met with a refusal. The late Sir John2 said his land was tied up. Old Phillips3 was always saying he wanted to see a Parsonage, but when I said then sell me your field and I will build, he could not part with his paternal acres— Phillips Orange Court4 would not sell a bit adjoining the glebe which would have made it available. Smith could have helped me best but refused under the advice of Mr. Abraham, who is now I dare say one of the loudest complainers—5

I wrote again to Smith when old Phillips died, thinking I might prevail on him, and got back just such an answer in matter as I should have expected, not quite so as to grammar and spelling but this was accounted for by its being in a female hand.

So at present the only hope seems to be that Miss Wedgwood will let us have land and that some arrangement may be made to divert the footpath a little.

I should not be the least surprised if those who express their wish for a resident clergyman’s family should offer most strenuous opposition to lengthening by a few yards a path which they may tread once a year. I am now in communication with several Clergymen with this view, and I hope I may say that, as far as the owner is concerned, some land can be had which may be made suitable. Probably but for the vacancy in the Archbishopric I should have settled it before now by resigning, and letting the new man build or not as he pleased or could, to get rid of the sad responsibility. Waiting to consult the new Archbishop has caused a little delay, and in the mean time I try this other and better scheme.

I was very sorry to lose good Dr. Longley.6 I had met him several times, and thought of him as I believe every one who knew him did. His help and advice was most valuable—

I do not forget that you have taken, and are taking, a great deal of trouble as a labour of love, having no responsibility but the desire to do good, and help an old friend out of a most distressing dilemma—

Believe me Dear Darwin | Yours Faithfully | J Brodie Innes

report of Forres shew— | Elgin Courant | Dec 11th. 18687

Among the extra stock the most attractive object was a cross, supposed to be between a deer and a common cow, shown by Mr M’Donald, Blervie, two years of age, and reared at Aitnoch, Ardclach. It is a female animal, dun in colour, without any horns, with thin legs. It is about the size of a full-grown stag, resembles very much the appearance of a hind, and, as might be expected, formed an object of great admiration—quite a novelty among cattle and sheep.


See letter from J. B. Innes, 12 December 1868. Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood had purchased Tromer Lodge in Down village (see letter to J. B. Innes, 20 January [1868] and n. 6; see also Emma Darwin (1904) 2: 218–19).
John William Lubbock.
William Phillips.
John Phillips.
Innes refers to John Smith and Abraham Smith (see letter to J. B. Innes, 1 December 1868 and n. 4).
The archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Thomas Longley, died on 27 October 1868; Archibald Campbell Tait became the new archbishop in February 1869 (ODNB).
Innes’s note was written next to the newspaper article, which was stuck to the top of the first page of the letter. See letters from J. B. Innes, 7 December 1868 and 12 December 1868, and letter to J. B. Innes, 10 December [1868].


Hopes Miss [Sarah Elizabeth] Wedgwood will sell part of her land for a parsonage at Down. Recounts his futile efforts to obtain land in the past.

Encloses news item about the supposed hybrid [of cow and deer].

Letter details

Letter no.
John Brodie Innes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Milton Brodie
Source of text
DAR 167: 23, 23a
Physical description
4pp enc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6502,” accessed on 23 June 2018,

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