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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Innes   [8 May 1848]1



My dear Sir

I enclose my 3£ subscription for your Sunday school, & I am much obliged to you for informing me it was due.— I was sorry I was unable to see you the day you called & were so good as to leave the Coal Club2 Papers, but I have had an extra amount of unwellness of late.—

As you will probably like to know beforehand, I take this opportunity of begging to be allowed for the future to reduce my subscription to 2£ per annum to the Sunday School:3 my motive is that we subscribe altogether to five schools & I find the amount is rather too much for my means.

Pray believe me | my dear Sir | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin Rev J. Innes


An entry in CD’s Account Book (Down House MS) of 6 May 1848 (Saturday) reads: ‘Sunday School Mr Innes £3’.
The Down Coal and Clothing Club was a local savings club run by Innes, to which villagers contributed on a regular basis and the local gentry made ‘honorary’ contributions to supplement the funds. CD was apparently taking over responsibility for the club from Innes (Moore 1985, p. 469). Among the Down House MSS there is a small notebook entitled ‘Down Coal Club Honorary Subscriptions 1841 to 1876 Inclusive.’, and which contains the accounts in CD’s hand from 1848 to 1869. The donations from eight to ten honorary subscribers came to a total ranging from £16 to £35 annually. CD regularly contributed £5. Charitable and co-operative organisations such as this were similar to, but less structured than, the friendly societies, which were primarily intended to provide insurance coverage (Gosden 1973).
The next payment to the Sunday School recorded in CD’s Account Book (Down House MS), on 16 February 1849, was for this amount.


Gosden, Peter Henry John Heather. 1973. Self-help: voluntary associations in the 19th century. London: B. T. Batsford.

Moore, James Richard. 1985. Darwin of Down: the evolutionist as squarson-naturalist. In The Darwinian heritage, edited by David Kohn. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press in association with Nova Pacifica (Wellington, NZ).


Encloses his £3 subscription to JBI’s Sunday School. Asks to reduce it in the future to £2 per annum.

Has been unwell.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Brodie Innes
Sent from
Source of text
Cleveland Health Sciences Library (Robert M. Stecher collection)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1172,” accessed on 6 February 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4