skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Innes   18 July [1860]

at Miss Wedgwoods | Hartfield | Tonbridge Wells

July 18th

Dear Innes.

Thanks for Coal-bill which I will pay as soon as I get home in about 10 days time.—1 I am sincerely sorry to hear so poor an account of Mrs. Innes.2

We moved Etty here with much difficulty a fortnight ago, & she has improved very little, but thank God she has improved a little. She now can generally sit up for above 12 hour twice a day. I have been a good deal knocked up of late & have had to recur to Water-cure; but all our anxiety with Etty ill for 12 weeks has been enough to knock us up. But my wife has stood the incessant nursing wonderfully. Women are so good & unselfish, that helping others seems to do them good.—

Our plans are utterly Uncertain; we hope to take Etty to sea, whenever she is strong enough; but where & when are both quite unknown to us.—

What a wandering life you have been leading!

We shall be very glad to see you at Down.—   I enquired (not alluding to you) about Mr Ainslie’s house,3 but can hear nothing whatever. Parslow asked Mr Baxter,4 but he knew nothing.

Farewell with our kind remembrances to Mrs. Innes— believe me | Dear Innes | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

I hope from your note that Johnny is tolerably well.— 5


The bill probably related to the affairs of the Down Coal and Clothing Club, of which CD was treasurer.
Eliza Mary Innes.
Robert Ainslie, of Tromer Lodge, Down, had left the village in 1858 (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 [May 1858]).
Joseph Parslow was the Darwins’ butler. CD possibly refers to William Baxter, the dispensing chemist in Bromley, Kent (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1859). Innes, the perpetual curate of Down, had been trying for a number of years to purchase or rent a house in Down (see J. R. Moore 1985, p. 469).
John William Brodie Innes.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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).


Henrietta’s illness.

CD’s resort to [E. W. Lane’s] water-cure.

Other family news.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Brodie Innes
Sent from
Wedgwood, S. E. (b) Hartfield
JY 18 60
Source of text
Cleveland Health Sciences Library
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2870,” accessed on 18 October 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8