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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. B. Innes   15 June [1868]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

June 15

Dear Innes

Many thanks for your letter which I have been very glad to receive. I was sure that you wd feel much annoyment with respect to Mr Horsman’s conduct in your parish. About the Sunday School affairs I know nothing.2

On June 2 Mr H. wrote to me a foolish letter, in which he said he believed that he held some balance on the school account. I wrote immediately in answer asking him to send me a cheque for the amount together with all accounts & documents relating to the school. I told him that on their receipt I wd send him a formal acknowledgment; but I have not heard a word from him since.3 The accounts of the Nat. school4 were audited up to Dec 31. 1867, & Mr H. has a balance in hand of £8—4—10; but this balance I now find includes the childrens pence deposits for a large portion of 67. Mr H. has recd no money this year from the schoolmaster;5 nor, as far as I can hear, has he paid any thing; for the schoolmaster was not paid for last quarter, & now a second qr will soon be due, both of which I will advance.

I have also advanced today £9—19—2 for children’s deposit with interest.6 Mr H. says he has not received interest on trust money from Sir J. Lubbock; to whom I will write in a few days to enquire whether any funds have been paid or are due to us.7 I do not think Mr H. can have recd any subscriptions for either school during this year. He owes, I am told some few bills in the village. There is one more serious matter; he was curiously anxious to get up a subscription for the new organ & some of the Lubbocks have suggested that he may have pocketed the money & never paid for it. No one seems to know what the organ really cost. I do not know whether it wd make one liable or whether it wd be a proper step to write to Messrs Bryceson 34 Brook St. Euston Road. N.W to enquire.8 Mr H. almost entirely neglected the school & considerable repairs were found necessary so that I fear the school account will be in a bad way. I have written all these details as I thought you wd like to know exactly how the affairs of the Nat. School stand.

I much hope that you may succeed soon in arranging that some clergyman shd have permanent charge of this parish. I am much obliged for your offer with respect to the purchase of the advowson, but it wd not be in my way.— I am sincerely grieved that you should have all this annoyment & trouble about this Parish. Certainly it will be good thing for everybody & for the character of the Church to get rid of Mr Horsman.

I almost think he is more an utter fool than knave.— The schoolmaster said he sent him a cheque signed, but left blank to be filled up, to any amount, which was an insane proceeding if he had any money at his Bank; but the next day he wrote to the Schoolmaster retracting the permission to fill up the cheque.—

Should I hear from Sir John L. that he has paid any interest on Trust, during current year, I will let you know.—

Believe me, Dear Innes | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. B. Innes, 13 June 1868.
See letter from S. J. O’H. Horsman, 2 June [1868], and letter to S. J. O’H. Horsman, 3 June 1868.
The National School for boys at Down.
The master of the National School was Charles Pearson (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1870; CD’s Account books–cash account (Down House MS)).
This amount appears in CD’s Account books–banking account and cash account (Down House MSS) as paid to Pearson on 15 June 1868.
Bryceson Brothers & Co. had premises at 34 Brook Street, Euston Road, London; in 1868, their street address was altered to 4 Stanhope Street, Euston Road (Post Office London directory 1867, 1868).


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.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


CD writes in detail about difficulties with Horsman’s financial accounts and the affairs of the parish.

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) 7pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6242,” accessed on 5 March 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16