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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. B. Innes   28 September 1868

Milton Brodie | Forres

28th. Sept 1868

Dear Darwin,

I have neglected to send you checque for the School balance due by Mr Horsman.1 I enclose it herewith.—

I hope you and the other parishioners like Mr. Robinson2   if so I suppose he can stay as long as agreeable. I do not see what better can be done at this moment.—

I fancy you all in the ferment of an election, and trying hard to get John Bright made Dictator.3 It is proposed to put me into glass case with one companion, an old lady, as the last samples of Tories. Will you have us in your museum. The lady is the Mother in law of the Chancellor of the Exchequer but we won’t have him in with us—4

No special natural history notes have turned up lately. Can I look for anything for you about here. By the way a remarkable deflection of the plummet has been observed a little East of us and it is said there is a great bubble in the Earth’s substance below.5 If it should fall in we shall be done for, or perhaps we who are near the edge shall be on the border of an inland sea.

There are investigations going on now about it—

With our kind regards | Faithfully yours | J Brodie Innes—


See the letter to J. B. Innes, 2 September 1868 and n. 4. Innes refers to Samuel James O’Hara Horsman.
John Warburton Robinson became curate of Down on 30 August 1868 (Moore 1985, p. 477).
John Bright was a radical member of the Liberal party, and was considered a leader of the working class. A general election had been announced in August. Following a Liberal victory, Bright joined the cabinet as president of the Board of Trade in December. See The Times, 28 August 1868; ODNB s.v. Bright, John.
George Ward Hunt was chancellor of the Exchequer in the current Conservative government. Hunt’s mother-in-law was Emma Eden, wife of Robert Eden, the Bishop of Moray, Ross, and Caithness. The Edens lived not far from Milton Brodie. See ODNB.
Innes is evidently referring to measurements of terrestrial magnetism. For studies of geomagnetism earlier in the century, see Cawood 1979.


Cawood, John. 1979. The magnetic crusade: science and politics in early Victorian Britain. Isis 70: 493–518.

Moore, James Richard. 1985. Darwin of Down: the evolutionist as squarson-naturalist. In The Darwinian heritage, edited by David Kohn. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press in association with Nova Pacifica (Wellington, NZ).

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.


The election of 1868.

Remarkable deflection of the plummet observed east of Forres.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Brodie Innes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Milton Brodie
Source of text
DAR 167: 19
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6397,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

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