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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. B. Innes   13 January 1871

Down. Beckenham

Jan 13. 71

My dear Innes,

I have received the enclosed, which I have not answered, but have sent to my solicitor.1 Of course I shall not apologise for anything which I may have said, but what this is I know not. Will you have the kindness to inform me whether Mr. Horsman left £25 to satisfy any claim on the School account.2

From attending to other subjects my memory has become very vague about the organ affair, and I should be grateful for any particulars especially the amount of the Subscription so that I may inform my solicitor. I have suggested to him to call on the organ-builder. Did Mr. Horsman pay the builder by bills which were dishonoured?3

You will easily perceive that any information might be of great value to me

My dear Innes | In Haste | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The enclosure has not been found. CD’s solicitor was William Mackmurdo Hacon of Fenchurch Street, London.
Samuel James O’Hara Horsman, curate of the village, had left Down in 1868; there had been some confusion over accounts for the National School for Boys, which he had left in disarray (see Correspondence vol. 16).
There had been suspicion in Down that Horsman had absconded with the organ fund; see Correspondence vol. 16, letter to Bryceson Brothers & Co., [after June 1868?] and n. 2.


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


CD has forgotten about S. J. O. Horsman and the church organ and asks for any information that will help him inform his solicitors in connection with a document he has received and encloses. Will not apologise for what he said, but is ignorant of what it was.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Brodie Innes
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Physical description
LS(A) 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7439,” accessed on 29 January 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19