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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Brodie Innes    15 October 1869

Milton Brodie | Forres | N.B.

15th. Octr. 1869.

Dear Darwin,

It seems sad to lose sight of old friends, and this perhaps is one chief reason for my taking up my pen to write a line to you today. We are often reminded of you by our admiration of the most beautiful photograph you were so kind as to give me, which hangs in a post of honour in the drawing room looking at another good friend, now gone to his rest, Archbishop Longley, the photograph being however far behind that of yourself—1 And I have just been reading a paper about you which has given me much pleasure by Mr. Hutton, at the Liverpool Church Congress.2 I hope you have seen it.

I wonder how you are getting on in Church matters at Downe   I do not hear much from Powell   Perhaps he thinks I have not helped him as I should in the matter of the proposed parsonage. When Sir John asked me about it I could do no less or more than simply say how the case actually stood.3 I conclude you saw my letter. It would be a great advantage to restore and re-seat the Church, and for this I should gladly contribute, and probably had the parsonage question been disposed of as I hoped this would soon have been undertaken—

We jog on in a quiet hum drum sort of existence here. Mrs. Innes’ violent headaches being I hope rather less frequent of late, but distressing when they come. Johnny is off again to Cambridge after a short holiday.4 He spent the early part of the vacation in College and had less out door amusement here than he should, having been laid up with bronchitis caught at the opening of the Inverness Cathedral on a wet day.

I think I told you I had one milk white partidge last year.5 This year I have seen four among brown ones. If they should escape guns and other enemies it is possible a race may be established. I avoid injuring them myself. I wish I had something of interest to tell you. With our kindest regards to your party

Believe me Dear Darwin | Faithfully yours | J Brodie Innes


Innes refers to Charles Thomas Longley, who was archbishop of Canterbury from 1862 until his death in 1868. The photograph of CD has not been identified.
Richard Holt Hutton delivered a paper on 6 October 1869 to the Church Congress held at Liverpool in which he discussed Darwinism, scepticism, and faith (Hutton 1869). In it he argued that CD’s theory not only did not increase any moral difficulty in the apparently cruel competition of nature, but in fact made clearer the intellectual purpose at work in creation (see Hutton 1869, pp. 102–3).
Henry Powell, the curate of Down, had asked John Lubbock to subscribe to build him a house (see letter from John Lubbock, 20 July [1869]).
Innes refers to Eliza Mary Brodie Innes and John William Brodie Innes, who was a student at Cambridge (Alum. Cantab.).
No letter has been found in which Innes told CD about a white partridge.


R. H. Hutton has given a paper about CD at Liverpool Church Congress.

JBI has seen four milk-white partridges among brown ones this year.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Brodie Innes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Milton Brodie
Source of text
DAR 167: 25
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6939,” accessed on 22 June 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17