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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Innes   4 March [1859]1


March 4th

Dear Innes

We were much concerned at hearing yesterday evening of the death of your mother.2 I never heard of a more merciful release from suffering. In your sorrow you must have the satisfaction of knowing how excellent & attentive a son you have been; & one cannot have a higher satisfaction. I hope Mrs Innes3 has not suffered from the suddenness of the shock.

With our united sympathy, pray believe me, Dear Innes | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is given by the reference to the death of Innes’s mother (see n. 2, below). The version of this letter published in Stecher 1961, p. 204, is incorrectly dated 1858.
Mary Innes died on 3 March 1859, aged 83, in the home of her son in Down village (The Times, 9 March 1859, p. 1). On 12 March 1859, Emma Darwin wrote to William: ‘I forget whether I told you of old Mr s Innes’s sudden & easy death, without any illness. She was buried at Hythe.’ (DAR 210.6).
Eliza Mary Innes, née Brodie, married John Innes in 1847.


Stecher, Robert M. 1961. The Darwin–Innes letters: the correspondence of an evolutionist with his vicar, 1848–1884. Annals of Science 17: 201–58. [Vols. 4,7]


Much concerned by death of JBI’s mother.

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 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2232,” accessed on 13 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7