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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Darwin to J. B. Innes   24 June [1874]1

Down Beckenham

June 24

My dear Mr Innes

It was very kind of you to send me the seeds & as it happens I had fallen in love with Aquilegia Brodii2 & never possessed it.

I hope we shall catch a sight of your son, & I have sent to Mrs Palmer to ask him to come & have luncheon with us.3 I am sure he will give you a good report of the Church. It is very handsome & the subdued light of the painted window very harmonious & agreeable. Mr. Darwin desires his kindest regards to you & Mrs B. Innes—4 He is very busy over plants just now, & Frank is installed as his permanent Sec. & helper. He is to be married in a month & live at your old house, & he will be most useful to his father as he has very much the same tastes.5 Leonard starts tomorrow to Plymouth to join the Venus transit ex. to New Zealand— He will only be away a year; but I feel rather too old to like even that absence.—6

We have some heavy showers today, which are a great blessing, in spite of the hay being out. There has been a great want of water.

With my kind love to Mrs Innes believe me | very sincerely yours | Emma Darwin

P.S. I shall follow your directions about the seeds—


The year is established by the reference to the marriage of Francis Darwin (see n. 5, below).
Aquilegia Brodii’ is not a species; the name was used jokingly by Emma in reference to an unidentified variety of Aquilegia (columbine) growing at Innes’s home in Milton Brodie. See also letter from Emma Darwin to J. B. Innes, 12 October [1874] and n. 7.
Emma refers to John William Brodie Innes. Mrs Palmer has not been identified.
Francis Darwin first suggested working as CD’s secretary in 1873 (see Correspondence vol. 21, letter to E. A. Darwin, 20 September 1873), and was assisting CD with work for Insectivorous plants; he married Amy Ruck on 23 July 1874 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)) and they moved into Down Lodge the same year (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1874).
Leonard Darwin was the photographer on an expedition organised by the School of Military Engineering at Chatham to observe the transit of Venus in New Zealand in December 1874 (ODNB).


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

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.

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.


Kind to send seeds of Aquilegia Brodii. Gives news on her sons. Glad of recent rain to help the hay.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
John Brodie Innes
Sent from
Source of text
Cleveland Health Sciences Library (Robert M. Stecher collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6405F,” accessed on 8 August 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22