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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. B. Innes   20 October 1869

Milton Brodie | Forres | N.B.

20th. Octr. 1869

Dear Darwin,

Many thanks for your kind letter. I find that the Guardian which contains Mr. Hutton’s paper has not yet gone to the fire, so I send it to you by this post with this line to say don’t send it back as I make no use of papers but to burn—1

It will be an advantage to have Mr. Powell in Downe rather than at Bromley.2 I had not heard of any matrimonial intentions. Perhaps he has been visiting you and allowed your example to keep out of sight all the awful warnings; poor Henry Lubbock dragged to London when he wants to hunt; myself tied down when I want to go and see the Sultan with the Empress &c &c3—but if he really contemplates the rash act he will surely build a parsonage £200 ready & buy land £700 from Eccles Commission, probably £200 from Church building Society leaving £500 for him to pay beg or borrow; the extreme rate of interest and insurance being no more than he would pay for a bad cottage.4 I do not think there would be any economy in reducing the size and cost, a very comfortable small house would be well built for £1400, and as the Commission give half up to this, every £50 saved to Powell would be £100 off the building. You are aware that he first agreed with me to provide the £700 at once, and when it appeared his available means were not equal to doing this immediately he engages to do it as early as possible. I have no doubt of its being done, my dread is that somehow the site may be missed, as was so often the case with me. If Miss Wedgwood will take the £200 from me, I will buy it at once, and hold it till wanted.5 It seems to me so much to Powell’s advantage to proceed that if he does not I shall agree with you that he is not above the average in sense. It is rather Irish, but one fancies the large majority are rather below an average— Anyhow please do you and Miss Darwin,6 who are engaged as Counsel on my side look out that the site does not escape the Church—

We have a sudden outbreak of cold, and the hills are covered with snow. It will not be very pleasant to look on at my tenants’ ploughing match today in the Cold North wind, but we hope the Indian Summer is to follow.

With our kindest regards to you all | Believe me | Faithfully Yours | J Brodie Innes


See letter to J. B. Innes, 18 October 1869 and n. 6. Innes refers to Richard Holt Hutton and to the weekly church newspaper, the Guardian, which contained the text of Hutton’s paper in the 13 October 1869 issue.
The reference is to Henry Powell. See letter to J. B. Innes, 18 October 1869.
See letter to J. B. Innes, 18 October 1869 and n. 5. Innes refers to Henry James Lubbock, Sultan Abdülaziz of the Ottoman Empire and Empress Eugénie of France. The empress paid a visit to the sultan from 16 to 18 October 1869 (The Times, 18 October 1869, p. 7).
For more on Powell’s attempts to raise money for a parsonage, see the letter from John Lubbock, 20 July [1869] and n. 3. Innes refers to the Ecclesiastical Commission.
Innes refers to Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood, who had purchased Tromer lodge, a property in the centre of Down village, about one mile from Down House. Innes had already expressed an interest in acquiring a part of the land for a parsonage (see Correspondence vol. 16, letter from J. B. Innes, 30 January 1868).
Innes refers to Henrietta Emma Darwin.


Sends Guardian containing Hutton’s paper on CD.

Discusses Henry Powell, the new vicar of Down, and plans for the parsonage.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Brodie Innes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Milton Brodie
Source of text
DAR 167: 26
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6948,” accessed on 24 May 2018,

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