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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Innes   28 December [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 28th

Dear Innes

Many thanks for your kind & pleasant letter. I cannot give a very good account of poor Etty, who had a relapse a week ago, which threw her a good deal back & she has hardly yet got up to her standard a fortnight ago & that was not high.—2 It is enough to make one despair.—

I am very sorry that you have such poor success in building: I am sure you must miss a home of your own with your various animals & pets. I had heard that Ainslie wants £4000, which it is impossible to believe he will ever get.3 The rogue must be cleaned out some day & have to sell at fair price.—

As for news we have none. I daresay you heard that Christopher Osborne is dead4—the third death this year in the Friendly Club!5 You will have heard of the new Doctor, next door to where Mr Edwards is now staying.6 I have not seen him yet.—

What you say about my Book pleases me & I do look at it as high compliment. I never expected to convert people under 20 year, though firmly convinced now that I am in the main right.— For a week hardly passes without my hearing of some good judge coming some little way with me. And those who go an inch will surely have to go a yard with me. By far the greater part of the opposition is just the same as that made when the sun was first said to stand still & the world to go round. I am now passing through the press a new Edition.—   Did you see the Quarterly Review, the B. of Oxford7 made really splendid fun of me & my grandfather.8

On account of Etty we lead a more retired life than ever, though this seems hardly possible. But to night Emma & some relations in the House are going to a Ball at the Lubbocks. I see John9 occasionally but have not seen any other member of the Family for an age.—

I am heartily glad that you can give a pretty good account of your son & Mrs. Innes,10 to whom pray give our very kind remembrances & Believe me Dear Innes | Yours very truly | C. Darwin


Dated by the reference to the review of Origin by the ‘B. of Oxford’ ([Wilberforce] 1860).
Henrietta Emma Darwin had been ill for some time. She had been recuperating from severe attacks suffered in July and again in October 1860.
Robert Ainslie, formerly of Tromer Lodge, Down. CD probably refers to the asking price on Tromer Lodge, which Ainslie had vacated in 1858. At the time, CD wrote to William Erasmus Darwin that ‘the beast is ruined & soon will be clear of the village.—’ See Correspondence vol. 7, letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 [May 1858]. Innes, who was hoping to buy a house in Down, had considered purchasing Tromer Lodge.
Christopher Osborne had formerly been a bricklayer in Down (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1845).
CD was the treasurer of the Down Friendly Society.
Mr Edwards has not been identified. The ‘new Doctor’ may have been the surgeon Stephen Paul Engleheart (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1862).
Samuel Wilberforce was bishop of Oxford. CD refers to Wilberforce’s anonymous review of Origin ([Wilberforce] 1860).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Post Office directory of the six home counties: Post Office directory of the six home counties, viz., Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. London: W. Kelly & Co. 1845–78.

[Wilberforce, Samuel.] 1860. [Review of Origin.] Quarterly Review 108: 225–64.


News of Etty’s health and of neighbours.

Pleased that JBI likes Origin.

CD never expected to convert people in less than 20 years, though now convinced he is "in the main right". Bishop of Oxford’s review made "splendid fun" of him.

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 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3032,” accessed on 24 April 2024,

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