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Darwin Correspondence Project

From James Torbitt   1 April 1876

Sydenham | Belfast

1 April 1876

Charles Darwin Esq. | Down | Beckenham | Kent.

Dear Sir

With the greatest respect permit me to thank you for your kindness in replying to my question what is an individual?1 and to apologize for my absurd request for liberty to publish it.

I was applying to Mr Murray for liberty to reprint one page of “The Variations of Animals and Plants under domestication” which was granted, and the total differences of the requests did not strike me and I sent on the two telegrams together.2

I beg leave to take the librety of enclosing paper on pages 46 to 54 of which, are some reports on potatoes grown from the seed last season, which perhaps you might like to see, and which is the first copy issued.3

Permit me Dear Sir to subscribe myself | most respectfully yours | James Torbitt


Torbitt’s letter or telegram requesting permission to publish CD’s letter to him of 26 January 1876 has not been found. Torbitt evidently applied to John Murray (CD’s publisher) to reprint a passage from Variation on the differences between sexual and asexual generation (Variation 2: 362–3) in his pamphlet on potato blight (Torbitt 1876, p. 58), but no letter from Torbitt to Murray has been found.
Torbitt 1876, pp. 46–54, contains reports by various correspondents on growing potatoes in 1875, and the proportion of the crop that was diseased.


Torbitt, James. 1876. Cras credemus. A treatise on the cultivation of the potato from the seed, having for proposed results the extinction of the disease, and a yield of thirty, forty or more tons of tubers per statute acre. (Sent, accompanied by a packet of seed, to each member of the House of Lords; each member of the House of Commons; and the principal landlords of Ulster.) Belfast: printed by Alexander Mayne.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks for response to query on what is an individual.

Sends paper on potatoes [see 10440].

Letter details

Letter no.
James Torbitt
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 178: 131
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10437,” accessed on 3 August 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24