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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. B. Innes   29 May [1871]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

May 29th

My dear Innes

I have been very glad to receive your pleasant letter; for to tell you the truth, I have sometimes wondered whether you would not think me an outcast & a reprobate after the publication of my last book.—2 I do not wonder at all at your not agreeing with me, for a good many professed naturalists do not. Yet when I see in how extraordinary a manner the judgment of naturalists has changed since I published the Origin,3 I feel convinced that there will be in ten years quite as much unanimity about man, as far as his corporeal frame is concerned.—

Anyhow my views do not lead me to such conclusions about negros & slavery as yours do: I consider myself a good way ahead of you, as far as this goes.—4

Thanks for the very curious story about the dog & mutton chops. They are wonderful animals, & deserve to be loved with all one’s heart, even when they do steal mutton-chops.—

I am very sorry that you have been compelled to give up your farm, for I am sure it must have been a great amusement, & that you would have managed it very well.—

I have seen no one for a long time & heard no news of Mr Powell.—5 The Friendly Club, which flourishes, meets tomorrow & I shall read aloud the accounts on my lawn in the usual way.—6

You proved right about Mr. Horsman, & I never heard a word more from or about him; so I return all the documents, which you were so very kind as to send me, & which I shd. think it would be worth while to keep for some years, in case the scamp shd. again turn up.—7

With hearty thanks for your letter with all its interesting details. Believe me Dear Innes Your’s very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. B. Innes, 26 May 1871.
Innes had commented on Descent in his letter of 26 May 1871.
Origin was published in November 1859.
On CD’s views on race and slavery in connection with his theory of descent, see A. Desmond and Moore 2009.
CD had served as treasurer of the Down Friendly Club, a local savings and insurance society, for many years (see Freeman 1878).


Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

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.


Not surprised that JBI does not agree with him. Many professed naturalists do not. But there has been a great change since publication of Origin, and CD believes agreement on man will come soon, "as far as his corporeal frame is concerned".

Horsman has not been heard from.

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 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7776,” accessed on 15 April 2024,

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