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Darwin Correspondence Project

From James Torbitt   7 April 1876


7th April, 1876.

Charles Darwin, Esq., | Down, Beckenham, Kent.

Dear Sir,—

With profound respect, I duly received your letter of 4th inst.,1 and liberty to publish it.2 The matter is so grave that I required a night’s rest before replying; and to-day I find no alteration in my opinion of yesterday, and I see no reason why I should not express that opinion to you, and to the world.

My opinion, then is, that that letter is the turning point in the game which I have been playing, and I believe it to be worth some Fifty Millions Sterling to England alone. And I believe so, because I believe it will enable me to suppress the Potato Disease several years sooner than would have been otherwise possible.3

I beg leave to return for your perusal (but please let me have it back) the answer you did me the honour to give to my question: What is an individual?4 If you can permit it, I think it would be of great importance to have it published, as it leaves every man free to form his own opinion.

I am, dear Sir, | With the most profound respect, | Faithfully yours, | J. Torbitt


Telegram to James Torbitt, 6 April 1876.
In his letter of 4 April 1876, CD had refused Torbitt permission to publish his letter to Torbitt of 26 January 1876, because he could not remember what he had said.


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.


Believes publishing CD’s letter will enable JT to suppress the potato disease several years sooner.

Returns CD’s answer to JT’s question "What is an individual?", and repeats his request for permission to publish it.

Letter details

Letter no.
James Torbitt
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
National Botanic Gardens of Ireland Library, Glasnevin

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10443,” accessed on 7 August 2020,

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