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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. J. A. Bristow to H. E. Litchfield   11 March 1878


11th. March | /78

My dear Madam

My cousin Miss Laird has requested me to write to you with any information I could collect about Mr Torbet, which I willingly do.1

Mr James Torbet is in the wholesale Wine & Spirit trade and this is the only unfavorable thing I can hear about him he owns or farms a great number of Public Houses both in Belfast and neighbourhood his Bankers report that he is a highly respectable man who has made money2

I may say that the opinion of the Public is that he is rich and highly respectable He has spent a good deal of money in his experiments on potato growing and I believe has been very successful.

If I can be of any further service or can get you any more information shall be delighted to do so and as time seems of some importance please write to me direct

Believe me Dr Madam | Yours very truly | E. J. Bristow d/wt Jas & Robt Young | Belfast


Miss Laird was possibly Agnes Mary Laird of Belle Vue, Shrewsbury. In an undated letter to Emma Darwin (DAR 245: 253), Henrietta mentions staying with the Lairds in Shrewsbury. See also letter to T. H. Farrer, 13 March 1878, in which CD said that a friend of the Litchfields was making enquiries about James Torbitt.
Torbitt was a wine, spirit, and tea merchant with premises at 58 North Road, Belfast; he was also the owner of the Old Still tea, wine, spirit, and general stores, at eleven locations in Belfast (Belfast and province of Ulster directory 1877).


Belfast and province of Ulster directory. Belfast: James Alexander Henderson, News-Letter Office. 1852–1900.


Reports on the standing of James Torbitt: "the opinion of the Public is that he is rich and highly respectable".

Letter details

Letter no.
Edward Jones Agnew Bristow
Henrietta Emma Darwin/Henrietta Emma Litchfield
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 304
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11414,” accessed on 20 May 2022,