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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. B. Innes   27 November [1878]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway station | Orpington, S. E. R.

Nov. 27th

My dear Innes

Many thanks for your most kind letter & for sending me Dr Pusey’s sermon, which I have been glad to see, but I am a little disappointed in it, as I expected more vigour & less verbiage.—2 I hardly see how religion & science can be kept as distinct as he desires, as geology has to to treat of the history of the Earth & Biology that of Man.— But I most wholly agree with you that there is no reason why the disciples of either school should attack each other with bitterness, though each upholding strictly their beliefs.

You, I am sure, have always practically acted in this manner in your conduct towards me & I do not doubt to all others. Nor can I remember that I have ever published a word directly against religion or the clergy. But if you were to read a little pamphlet which I received a couple of days ago by a clergyman, you would laugh & admit that I had some excuse for bitterness; after abusing me for 2 or 3 pages in language sufficiently plain & emphatic to have satisfied any reasonable man, he sums up by saying that he has vainly searched the English language to find terms to express his contempt of me & all Darwinians.3

We have just returned from a week in London, where we went as I wanted rest, but I am now tired, so will write no more.4

I suppose that the misery from that wicked Glasgow bank is something inconceivably great in Scotland.5

Believe me | My dear Innes | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the date of publication of Edward Bouverie Pusey’s sermon, Un-science, not science, adverse to faith (Pusey 1878). See also letter from H. N. Ridley, [before 28 November 1878], and letter to H. N. Ridley, 28 November 1878.
Innes’s letter has not been found. The version of Pusey’s sermon CD received had been printed in the London Guardian, 20 November 1878, pp. 1611–12 (see letter to H. N. Ridley, 28 November 1878); it did not have the extensive notes that were included in the separately published version (Pusey 1878) and which were highly critical of Darwinism.
The pamphlet has not been identified.
The Darwins returned to Down on 27 November 1878 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
The collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank on 2 October 1878 resulted in heavy losses to a large number of local shareholders, and was widely reported (Collins 1989).


Collins, Michael. 1989. The banking crisis of 1878. Economic History Review 2d ser. 42: 504–27.

Pusey, Edward Bouverie. 1878. Un-science, not science, adverse to faith: a sermon preached before the University of Oxford on the twentieth Sunday after Trinity, 1878. Oxford: Devonport Society of the Holy Trinity.


CD disappointed in Pusey’s sermon against evolution [Un-science, not science, adverse to faith (1878), sermon read by H. P. Liddon at St Mary’s, Oxford, on 3 Nov 1878]. Does not agree that religion and science can be kept as distant as Pusey desires. Geology and biology must deal with history of earth and of man. But that is no reason for bitter hostility.

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 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11763,” accessed on 24 May 2022,