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Darwin Correspondence Project

From James Torbitt   16 September 1878

James Torbitt, | 58 North Street. | Belfast,

16 Septr 1878

Charles Darwin Esq. | Down

My dear Sir

I am sorry to have troubled you with my stupid mistake regarding the solanum dulcamara.1 Crossing these by seed should have shown me the error little as I know. I am grateful for your good wishes for the success of my experiments—so far as they have gone they lead me towards the belief that by cross fertilization and selection varieties of the potato may be obtained much more prolific and much less subject to the “disease” than the varieties now in cultivation in the North of Ireland, and in a few weeks I hope to furnish full report.2

Most respectfully and faithfully my dear Sir | James Torbitt


See letter from James Torbitt, 12 September 1878. Torbitt had sent CD what he thought was a new species of Solanum. CD’s letter to Torbitt has not been found. Solanum dulcamara is woody nightshade or bittersweet.
For Torbitt’s manifesto on breeding blight-resistant potatoes, see the letter from James Torbitt, 24 February 1878; for his brief report on the year’s activities, see the letter from James Torbitt, 12 December 1878.


Apologises for his error over the Solanum.

Thanks CD for his good wishes; JT believes he will increase yield and disease-resistance by his crossing and selection.

Letter details

Letter no.
James Torbitt
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 178: 147
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11696,” accessed on 12 September 2023,