NATURAL HISTORY & SCIENCE
AGASSIZ, Alexander Emanuel (1835 –1910), American scientist and engineer. Autograph letter signed to Dr.L.Watson, 1 side, 8vo with integral blank, Cambridge, Massachusetts,19 April 64 (?) . Thanking Watson for a collection of fish specimens, commenting upon the rarity of some, and hoping he will be successful in future explorations.
The son of Louis Agassiz (1807-73), Alexander became an expert in marine
zoology, and in 1860 joined the staff of Harvard University’s Museum of
Comparative Zoology (founded by his father), to which he bestowed significant
gifts from the fortune he earned from his successful mining ventures.
ARGYLL, Archibald Campbell, third duke of (1682–1761) politician. Autograph letter signed to an unnamed correspondent, 1 side, 8vo, with integral blank, London, March 7th, 1750/1. Sympathising that his correspondent's scheme was delayed, and enquiring about scientific experiments. "I shall be very glad to hear what you are doing and what experiments are going on. People are greatly surprised at the metal you gave me that melts in hot water, pray send me the portions of the ingredients for I have forgot them. If you want to be informed anything passing here in your way, I will make my friend Dr. Mitchel write to you."
Away from his busy political life, Argyll was an enthusiastic scholar and a
scientist, who set up laboratories at a number of his residences. The metal
he describes in his letter was possibly an alloy of bismuth, which commonly have
very low melting points. His "friend" was probably Dr. John Mitchell, a
Fellow of the Royal Society (elected in 1748).
ARNOTT, Neil (1788-1874), physician and public health reformer. Patent application in manuscript, signed. 2 sides, folio (folded), October 1821.A Petition & Affadavit for a patent for an invention "Improvements connected with the production and Agency of heat in Furnaces, Steam, and Air Engines, Distilling, Evaporating, and Brewing Apparatus." With official signatures and embossed Tax stamp. Paper strip repair to joint of the two folio sheets, and small fold tears.
The patent application N. 4615 was granted 14th November 1821, and
represents Arnott's first patent. Neil Arnott was the
son of William Arnott, a manufacturer and farmer, born at Arbroath, Forfarshire,
Scotland. He grasduated from Marischal College, Aberdeen, in 1805, studied
medicine in London, and established himself in a private practice in Brunswick
Square, London in 1811. Arnott became a versatile lecturer, author, and
inventor, publishing his Elements of Physics in 1827,
which had gone through six editions by 1865 and which was translated into every
major European language. His essay Warming and Ventilating
(1838) described the principles underlying the Arnott stove, for which he
subsequently received the Royal Society's Rumford medal in 1854. (ODNB)
BABINGTON, Charles Cardale (1808–1895), botanist and archaeologist. Autograph letter signed to ‘Freeman’, 3 sides of a bifolium, 8vo, Cambridge, 22 July 1873, apologising that he cannot join Freeman at ‘the Somerset meeting’ as he has to be in Dublin, and that he has to go to ‘the C.A.A. Meeting and pay a visit as soon as it is over to my friend Canon Herbert near Newtown, Montgomeryshire’. At the close of the letter he adds, in a response to Freeman ‘I suppose the leaf is one of the Snowberry and fancy that the Silk worm would not like it well enough to continue to eat it’. First leaf of bifolium has a vertical crease, and second leaf has old mounting marks to corners on rear blank.
Babington was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1851 in recognition of his botanical work, and succeeded to the chair of botany at Cambridge in 1861. His interests were shared between botany and archaeology, but he also retained a lifelong interest in evangelical mission work.
BECHE, Sir Henry Thomas De la (1796–1855), geologist. Autograph letter signed to [Lyon] Playfair, 4 sides, 8vo, Neath, Glamorganshire, 2 Augt. 1845, sending him "through the Office of Woods" to the museum, some specimens of the New Red Sandstone marls from Aust Cliff: "I am particularly anxious to learn the composition (chemical) of these specimens of mine especially as to the iron in them - whether it is as a protoxide (as is supposed) in the blue marl, and a peroxide in the red ..... would you arrange with Reeks about the specimens - there are other important geological ---?--- about them - but I will not tell you which beforehand". In a postscript "According to present hypothesis the blue is a changed red marl, by robbing of oxygen from a vegetable ---?--- and thereby hands a tale." Two repairs to the blank paper edges (affecting one word), and an old repair on the back of a split fold.
De la Beche was appointed in 1832 geologist to the Ordnance Trigonometrical Survey of Great Britain, in which department the Geological Survey was founded in 1835. John Phillips was appointed palaeontologist, Richard Phillips became curator–chemist, and Trenham Reeks was assistant curator. With encouragement from De la Beche, William Buckland and Sir Robert Peel, Lyon Playfair (1818-1898) was appointed chemist to the Geological Survey in 1845. Parliament in the same year moved the Geological Survey from the Ordnance Survey to an all important independent position within the Office of Woods and Forests. ODNB.
Brande, William Thomas (1788–1866), chemist. Autograph letter signed to R.Stevens Esq, Secy. L.I., 4to, 1 side, Clarges Street [London], April 16th 1819, relating to the delivery of lectures - "I have this day been favoured with your communication, relating to the Lectures at the London Institution and am very sensible of the honor conferred upon me by the Board of Management. I shall be prepared to deliver an introductory discourse on Wednesday the 5th of May at one." Small bits missing from corners where removed from an album.
In 1812 Sir Humphry Davy resigned his professorship at the Royal Institution, and the post was offered to Brande the following year. Here he had at his disposal the best-equipped laboratory in Britain, and he began to deliver a series of lectures, many being the basis for his major publications. In 1819 he delivered the first lecture and course at the newly built London Institution, founded in imitation of the Royal Institution, to which this letter would appear to relate. (ODNB)
In 1813 William Thomas Brande succeeded Sir Humphry Davy at the Royal Institution where he began to give lecture courses specialising in chemistry and pharmacy. In his early years Brande's lectures served as the basis for his major publications which included his Manual of Chemistry first published in 1819; and his Manual of Pharmacy first published in 1825. His assistant in delivering lectures in these early years at the Royal Institution was Michael Faraday.(ODNB)
BURCKHARDT, Johann Karl (1773 –1825), astronomer and mathematician. Autograph letter signed to James Hartly, one side on one page (once a bifolium), 8vo, 14 March 1820, informing him that he has “received this moment a message from Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Clarence to be with her by six oftc this evening. As such I shall not be able to be with you at the time appointed ……… I shall the moment I leave H.R.H proceed to Bridge Street”. Small repair to central stab hole.
Burckhardt was born in Leipzig, Germany, but settled in France, becoming naturalized as a French citizen in 1799 (from thereon using the name Jean Charles Burckhardt) and in 1807 became director of the observatory at the École militaire. Burckhardt is remembered in particular for his work in fundamental astronomy, and for his lunar theory, which was in widespread use for the construction of navigational ephemerides of the Moon (published in the Nautical Almanac from 1821 to 1861). (Wikipedia).
Adelaide, duchess of Clarence married William, duke of Clarence in 1818, and they passed the first year together in Hanover, where, in 1819 she bore a daughter who lived only a few hours. Their second child, the Princess Elizabeth Georgina Adelaide, born on 10 December 1820, died in the following year. Their principal English residence was Bushey Park, Middlesex, where they lived until the accession of William to the throne in 1830.
CLARKE, Edward Daniel (1769–1822), antiquary and mineralogist. Three autograph letters from Edward Daniel Clarke, plus a note, to Clarke’s publishers Cadell & Davies as follows:
1. Edward Daniel Clarke, autograph letter signed addressed “Gentlemen”, one side, 4to, Cambridge, April 21st 1816, saying that he had “mentioned to Mr Watts that we have never received Mrs Clarke’s copy of the last Volume of my Travels: the only one to which I am intitled; but having no news of it, I have thought it best to write to you.” He adds that he has “two small Paper copies, which Mr Mathew[?] sent previously to publication, and which belong to you”. Paper edges browned and partly frayed, with a stab hole to centre.
2. Edward Daniel Clarke, autograph letter signed to an unnamed correspondent, 2 sides, 4to, Cambridge, January 22nd 1821, bearing instructions “to forward the copies which accompany this, of my “Address” etc, to the following Persons. One to each”, in which he lists the King “to be delivered at Carlton Palace, to my brother the Librarian to his Majesty”; the Archbishop of Canterbury; Lord Liverpool; the Lord Chancellor; Lord Palmerston and Mr Smyth, Member for the University. He adds “What has become of Mr Watts? No Proof has been sent for a long time.” Top of page slightly cut down, with circular stain, paper edges browned and partly frayed, with a stab hole to centre.
3. Edward Daniel Clarke, autograph letter in third person, no date, asking Mr Cadell & Davies to send “to the Revd Mr Kaye[?] at his son’s a Grocer in Ralph[?] St Covent Garden the Copy of the last Vol. of the Travels which Dr Clarke intended for his brother.” Stab hole to centre.
4. Wm.[?] Clarke, autograph note signed to Messrs Cadell & Davies, N.Bond St, January 25th [no year] requesting delivery of “one copy small paper of Clarke’s Travels vol. 4”. Stab hole to centre. [Possibly the New Bond Street bookseller William Clarke d 1820].
Click here to see PHOTO
Upon graduating MA from Cambridge in 1794 Edward Daniel Clarke travelled widely in Europe, Russia and the Near East where he engaged in collecting minerals, antiquities and coins. He was appointed as the first professor of mineralogy at Cambridge in 1809, and he spent much time in his remaining years working with his collections and upon his Travels, published by Cadell & Davies in 6 volumes between 1810 and 1823.
A prolific author, he also published various other books and pamphlets, and some twenty-eight papers in learned journals, dealing with antiquities, chemistry and mineralogy. Clarke was a co-founder of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (founded 1819), and was invited by its Council to write an Address to be read at its first meeting, which was published and circulated with the first volume of its Transactions. This publication and instructions for its circulation are the subject of the letter (item 2) above.
ERASMUS DARWIN ON MAD DOGS
DARWIN, Erasmus (1731–1802), physician and natural philosopher. Lower half of an autograph letter signed to Samuel Argent Bardsley, Derby, March 28th 1795, 2 sides of a 4to[?] sheet, the recto crossed through, regarding ‘mad dogs’ “Whether dogs become spontaneously mad requires great testimony either to confirm or confute – especially as the analogy of the poison of the mad-dog agrees better with secreted animal poisons as of the serpent & wasp than with contagious poisons. The time of the appearance of the disease after the bite in dogs, & other animals, requires much testimony to establish , & if established, is not likely to be attended to by the government who will not even tax dogs, because they think it will not be a productive tax ……….….. your idea may be the true one, & is worthy investigation, as a subject of medical philosophy, but I doubt if the legislature could ever be induced to act upon it”.Docketed to Darwin’s signature in a contemporary hand “Part of a letter to Saml. Argent Bardsley M.D. – of Manchester on his plan of eradicating canine Madness in this Kingdom – March 28th 1795”. Annotation to right of signature 'The Poet & M.D.'. Browned, and right margin frayed. PHOTO
In 1794 Dr Samuel Argent Bardsley (who had joined the Manchester Royal Infirmary in 1790 as honorary physician) proposed to eradicate rabies from the British Isles by 'the establishment of an universal quarantine for dogs within the Kingdom, and a total prohibition of importation of these animals during the existence of such quarantine’. His findings under the title Miscellaneous observations on canine and spontaneous hydrophobia were first published in 1794 by the Medical Society, and were republished by Cadell & Davies in 1796, encompassing the date of this letter. The date of this letter also importantly falls in the middle of the publication of Darwin’s most important scientific work Zoonomia, the first volume of which was published in 1794 and the second in 1796. Darwin addresses the issue of ‘canine madness’ in Volume II of Zoonomia, and refers to Bardsley’s work who “has endeavoured to prove, that dogs never experience the hydrophobia, or canine madness, without having been previously bitten or infected; and secondly, that the disease in this species of animal always shews itself in five or six weeks; and concludes from hence, that this dreadful malady might be annihilated by making all the dogs in Great Britain perform a kind of quarantine, by shutting them up for a certain number of weeks. Though the disease from the bite of the mad dog is perhaps more analogous to those from the wounds inflicted by venomous animals than to those from other contagious matter, yet these observations are well worthy further attention; which the author promises”.
QUACK & MADHOUSE PROPRIETOR IN REIGN OF QUEEN ANNE
FALLOWES, Thomas (fl 1700-1714) quack and madhouse proprietor. Autograph letter signed from Thomas Fallowes to his uncle Benja[min] Trigg, ‘at Mr John Hardings at his house called Needles at Horsham Townes end Sussex’, Lambeth Marsh 9th July 1706, 1 side folio (12 inches high) bifolium with (soiled) address panel bearing a Dockwra post mark. A few small holes to paper cross-folds, and a piece of paper torn from integral blank opposite the seal. In reply to a letter from his uncle Fallowes writes a defensive diatribe in relation to his actions “How many miles have I rode, and what expense have I been at, to serve a people so base in principle, without faith, or good works, whose Religeon is only Smoking, and Sleeping and then Rising, to see how they can redicule even their best friends ………….. as for my part, I have no Sinister end, nor design but purely to Serve my friends, and Relations, howsoever to be thus treated, is the highest piece of ingratitude, now what charge I have put your Relations to, I cannot tell, but it hath cost me Six pence, to their Two pence, and I am no way Interessed in the affair, and you all know better, than to murmur, for you to charge the best of Lawyers with ill management, I think not prudent; for in short he is a friend to all, and an Enemy to none, however he will answer for himself”. The exact matter in question is not clear, but he adds “I Pray call on Robert Parsons next week, and he will answer your Necessity. I was obliged to wait on the Queen that day, I should have mett you at Frunsum [Fensham, Surrey?]”. PHOTO
Thomas Fallowes, a self appointed ‘M.D’, was famously the proprietor of the private madhouse at Lambeth Marsh during the reign of Queen Anne. In 1705 he published The Best Method for the Cure of Lunaticks, with Some Account of the Incomparable Oleum Cephalicum Used in the Same, Prepared and Administered by Tho. Fallowes, at His House in Lambeth-Marsh. Fallowes professed to be an advocate of non-restraint, stating "all the gentleness and and kindness is absolutely necessary, even in all the cases I have seen ……. I have never us’d any violence to any patient”, and at the same time ‘cashed in’ by advocating his Oleum Cepalicum (‘at four Pound a quart’) which was applied to blisters raised on the scalp. Despite his advocacy of non-restraint Fallowes was the first mad-doctor to be convicted for illegal confinement. The following announcement was published in the London Gazette 24 January 1712:
Whereas it was advertised in the Gazette of the 23d of August last (and in several other Papers) that whoever should Apprehend Thomas Fallows, late of Lambeth Marsh in the County of Surry, with a Woman a Boy as therein described, so as to deliver them to John Plumeridge, Shipwright, or John. Alderman, at Queenhith, Cheesemonger, should have 10l, Reward, since which time the Woman and Boy being returned, the said John Alderman doth hereby advertise that he will not pay any Reward for Apprehending the said Fallows.
Fallowes’ uncle Benjamin Trigg may possibly be related to the infamous William Trigg (fl.1630-1656) and his son Stephen Trigg (fl. 1660-1690), both of whom were unlicensed medical practitioners in London.
EXPLORATION OF GRIME'S GRAVES
FLOWER, John Wickham (1807-1873), geologist and archaeologist. Autograph letter signed to [William] Boyd Dawkins, 4 sides of a bifolium, 8vo, Thorpe, Norwich [printed Park Hill, Croydon address scored out], April 1 1870, regarding several days spent with Canon Greenwell at Brandon ‘exploring some caves or shafts, known as Grimes Graves which have puzzled Antiquaries for the last two or three hundred years. I think we have, or rather Greenwell has now solved the mystery. I cannot doubt that this was the ‘atelier’ of the makers of flint implements, not of the drift, but of the flake and scraper period. Some of our discoveries were very singular. At least one of them was, but of this you will hear in due time from the Canon, or in the account which he will give.’ In closing Flower mentions that Dr Rolleston is visiting him ‘Tuesday next after his lecture’, and he invites Boyd Dawkins to come to dinner. Remnants of paper tab mount on reverse.
Flower’s correspondent William Boyd Dawkins (1837–1929) was at the time a rising light in the world of geology and archaeology, having been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1867, and in 1869 became curator of natural history at the Manchester Museum. A special common interest between Flower and Boyd Dawkins was in prehistoric archaeology and the antiquity of man, over which there was a strong focus of interest in the 1860s and 1870s in scientific circles in Britain and abroad.
Canon William Greenwell (1820-1918) was a collector of antiquities who became active in the field of archaeology in the 1860s, and is probably best known for his excavations of the flint mines at Grimes Graves, near Brandon in Suffolk, conducted in the period 1868-1870. Greenwell published his findings in 1870 'On the opening of Grime's Graves in Norfolk', in the Journal of the Ethnological Society of London.
Foster, George Carey (1835–1919), chemist and physicist. Autograph letter signed to Miss Colvill, 3 sides on blue paper, 8vo, Page Heath, Bickley [Bromley, Kent], October 3rd [no year - 1866?], offering assistance to her uncle "to lighten Your uncle’s preparation for lecture considerably – that is if he will let us. I think it would be a very good plan to get the diagrams he arranged and I think I know a student who will be able to do this" and with a postscript "I am not F.R.S. I wish you would make me one." Paper adhering to blank rear edge, and four white spots on the paper. The letter comes with a carte-de-visite photo of Foster by Crellin (167 Regent Street, London) dated in manuscript June 1866. PHOTO
Foster studied chemistry at University College, London, in 1852-55, and
following a brief period in the chair of natural philosophy at Anderson's
University in Glasgow, was in 1865 appointed professor of experimental physics
at University College, London. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in
1869, serving two terms as its vice-president in 1891–3 and 1901–3.
GASSIOT, John Peter FRS (1797–1877), businessman and scientist. Autograph letter signed to Miss Colville, 3 sides, small 8vo on mourning paper with crest, Clapham Common 23 Jany 1864, regarding the procurement of a Carte de Visite photograph of her uncle for his collection of Cartes of Fellows of the Royal Society. With the letter comes a Carte de Visite photograph of Gassiot by Maull & Pollybank of London. A corner of the blank reverse of the letter has adhering paper removed from an album. PHOTO
Gassiot was a member of the firm of Martinez, Gassiot & Co., wine merchants, of London and Porto, was a generous promoter of science, and engaged in productive research in electricity. His house on Clapham Common was equipped with the best apparatus for scientific experiments, and was made available for his scientific friends including James Clerk Maxwell who carried out experiments at Gassiot's laboratory during the 1860s aimed at establishing the unit of electrical resistance. At Gassiot's electrical soirées guests were treated to spectacular displays of electrical phenomena. He became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1841 and was active in the society's reform movement during the 1840s and was one of the founders of the Chemical Society in 1845.(ODNB)
DOCTOR'S BILL TO RAILWAY ENGINEER JOHN URPETH RASTRICK
INGLEBY, J.S. Dr. Autograph letter signed to J.U.Rastrick, 454 Charing Cross East, London, Jan 9 1839, 4to, 2 leaves, one bearing a letter and a second with two columns of accounts, with the address panel on the reverse, Birmingham postmarks and broken seal (which has torn a small blank area), docketed, 86 New Street, Birmingham, sending his account for medical consultation for Rastrick and members of his household for the period 1837-1838, with a list of numerous journeys and expenses incurred.
John Urpeth Rastrick (1780-1856) was a pioneer in the development of locomotive engines and the railways, and was a noted civil engineer. In his early years he worked with Richard Trevithick and George Stephenson, and later was engineer for a number of railway lines, notably the London & Brighton line (on which he was working at the time this letter was received). Little is known about his family, so it is of some significance to find mentioned in the bill an item relating to Miss Mary R., presumably his daughter.
LETTER TO MICHAEL FARADAY
MARTIN, John (1789–1854), artist. Autograph letter signed to M. Faraday, Royal Institution, 1 side plus integral address leaf, 8vo, 30 Allsop Terrace [London], February 26th 1836, thanking him for his letter and reminding him that "When we were conversing the other evening there was some mention of laying my plan for improving the Thames upon the Library table" and saying that if this is agreeable he will send him his drawing and map when convenient. Corner repair to blank of address leaf, with remnants of edge mounting.
An accomplished painter and engraver, Martin was also enthusiastic about urban improvement, especially in London, where water supply and sewage management were of serious concern. Martin laid a number of plans before government Select Committees on these issues including in 1832 "An Outline Plan for supplying London with water from the Thames at Teddington Lock" which is undoubtedly the scheme referred to in this letter. This plan was approved at a meeting of the Institute of British Architects at a meeting on February 29th 1836, and on March 3rd to a voluntary Committee chaired by Lord Euston (which included Faraday) who enthusiastically supported the scheme. Lengthy discussions and amendments were considered in the ensuing years, and his scheme was finally adopted after his death, solving London's water problem.
Michael Faraday (1791–1867) the famous natural philosopher and scientific adviser, was at this time Director of the Royal Institution laboratory.
PHILIP MILLER AND PETER COLLINSON
MILLER, Philip (1691–1771), horticulturist and writer. Incomplete autograph letter signed to Peter Collinson, at the Red Lyon in Grace Church Street, London, with at the foot, Collinson's autograph forwarding notes to another un-named correspondent, 1 side 4to, Chelsea Nov 7th 1746. Regarding coniferous trees and shrubs, Miller writes "….. Mr Rand that the Cones were sent to the Bishop from America [had] the different smell of the Virginia Cedars ........... which has much Stronger scent than either of these, the ----- of which is commonly sold for the tree Savin [Juniper], a large tree of this is growing at Cashioberry [Cassioberry, Hertfordshire]. The Sumack with winged leaves is an inhabitant of our gardens........ It was formerly growing at Fulham and was [in] Pluckenets collections. Mr Catesby also sends seeds of this sort over [in] 1724, when we raised several plants from it at Chelsea, which were [also] killed the same year 1728/9."
Collinson comments that "The reason P.M. takes notice of the Pines of Mr Lethieu[llier] is in the first place that he used to call them Cluster pines. In the next is - that I produced from this tree Cones of 3 different yea[r’s] growth on the same branch unshed – in opposition his notion of all being shed the first year.....Wee have raised some winged leaved Sumack from thy last seeds pray send more for it is all lost before in our garden..... Thou will find P.Millar has not understood thy Letter wch may deserve thy cordial notice – for Phil is a very worthy Man but is apt to be a little too Posit[ive]."
Right hand margin frayed (with some text loss) and repaired, plus some transparent repair tape to blank reverse. Extremely rare, combining in one item observations by England's two foremost horticulturalists/botanists of the mid 18th century.
Philip Miller was the most distinguished and influential British gardener of the eighteenth century, under whose charge (from 1722 to 1770) the Chelsea Physic Garden of the Society of Apothecaries of London came to excel above all others in Europe. His work necessitated the continuous introduction of new plants, achieved by a wide correspondence at home and abroad. 'Mr Rand', mentioned in the letter, was the botanist Isaac Rand (1674-1743) and former director of the Chelsea Garden. 'Pluckenets' collection refers to the extensive collection of the botanist Leonard Plukenet (bap. 1642, d. 1706), which he published in four huge volumes between 1691 and 1705. 'Mr Catesby' is the naturalist Mark Catesby (1683-1749) who undertook pioneering natural history work in America (supported by Peter Collinson), sending back large quantities of biological material to his English subscribers.(ODNB)
Miller's correspondent was the botanist Peter Collinson (1694–1768), whose greatest contributions to horticulture developed through his friendship with John Bartram, the father of American botany, with whom he established a scheme whereby Bartram supplied seeds and seedlings to British patrons in return for an annual subscription. He developed close friendships with other horticulturalists and naturalists, including Philip Miller, Mark Catesby and Smart Lethieullier (1701-1760).
A Theory of the Cause of the Tides
OGILVY, George Henry (b. 1823). Autograph letter signed to Harry [H.W.Stuart], 8vo, 4 sides, Birmingham June 15th 1869, with envelope addressed to H.W.Stuart Esq, 21 George Street, Woolwich, together with an autograph manuscript entitled A Theory of the Cause of the Tides, 8vo, signed and dated May 10th 1869. Ogilvy’s letter covers a number of miscellaneous matters “has Harry forgotten that I asked him to get for me two or three dozen feathers about one inch or inch and a half long white and brilliant colours of all birds that he can get pigeons fowls ducks &c. I want them for a Kaleidoscope that I have made for flowers….…. I should have liked to have seen your experiment with the ox eye ..…. What do you think of our Public Meeting and Bright’s letter, he gets a greater fool every day”, and at length refers to his Theory of Tides: “I have done as you desired and enclose my Theory of the Tides, it is not put in scientific language or style because I could not do it but perhaps you will understand it better as it is rather wordy but with force. Hogg Esq. Secretary of the Royal Microscopical Society advised me to send it to the secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society, Somerset House. I did so and he laid it before the council and was directed to thank me for it but as it was not considered suitable for the publication of the Society nothing further had been done respecting it ….... they evidently did not like the idea that an ignoramus should reason out a complicated problem that the most able men have been puzzled over for 200 years…..… He said the idea of centrifugal force was not legitimate when there is no material connection of bodies. I answered that it would not apply in this case for the centrifugal force was produced by the eccentric rotation of the earth on an axis within its own mass, the moon is the cause of the eccentric rotation – he misapplied the law so he shut up and now I want somebody else to fight – will you have a round, I am spoiling for a fight”. This item comes with a full transcript of the letter and Theory of Tides, and copies of genealogical records.
George Henry Ogilvy was born in 1823 in London, one of at least seven children of George and Phoebe Ogilvy. In the 1871 and 1881 censuses he is listed as unmarried, and living in Birmingham working as a brassfounder. Evidently he had a number of interests in the sciences, and tried to promote some of his ideas in scientific circles – correspondence relating to his Theory of Tides is preserved amongst the papers of Astronomer Royal Sir William Christie in the Greenwich Observatory Archives. His correspondent Henry Ward Stuart (born 1828) was Ogilvy’s brother-in-law having married Ogilvy’s sister Emily Phoebe in 1854. Henry is listed as a chemist and druggist in the 1861 census and as a student of medicine in the 1881 census.
BIRTH OF THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION
PHILLIPS, John (1800–1874), geologist. Autograph letter signed to an unnamed correspondent, 2 sides, 4to, 10 Nov 1833, regarding reports of the British Association: "Mr. Harcourt has no doubt written to you to express the thanks of our Council on behalf of the Y P Society for the very agreeable donation of a handsomely bound copy of the Reports 1 & 2 of the British Association" adding that "the universal sentiment of our members, is entirely in harmony with my own, viz that the sooner the association can favor York with a second visit the more delightful to us will be the duty of receiving them".
He goes on to report on further reports saying he has "not heard a word from Mr. R Taylor since I sent him Mr. J Taylor’s & Lindleys Reports to commence the Volume. Neither I believe has Mr. Harcourt ............. I take for granted that the press is at work, & that the authors of their Reports have been employed in revising their labours. Mr. H sent him Henry’s Report (the 3d in plan) & I have two more ready to be forwarded besides Christie’s. He may therefore be encouraged to lose no time, or rather to press on very diligently – The last Report in our Series /Peacock’s/ will be ready instanter". Strip of paper on reverse margin from an old album mount.
John Phillips was appointed the first Keeper of the Museum of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society (YPS) in 1825. As the right-hand man of the YPS founder William Vernon Harcourt, Phillips took a leading part in 1831 in organizing at York the first meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Next year he was appointed its assistant secretary, an office he held for thirty years. As administrator of the Association's meetings and editor of its Reports he made many contacts usually denied to the isolated provincial, and in 1834 was elected FRS and was appointed to the chair of geology at King's College, London. (ODNB). The first published reports appeared in 1833 as "Report of the first and second meetings of the British Association for the advancement of science : at York in 1831 and at Oxford in 1832".
The second half of the letter refers to reports being gathered for publication relating to the 3rd British Association meeting, which took place in Cambridge in 1833. References to authors in the letter include the botanist John Lindley; the experimental philosopher Samuel Hunter Christie; and the mathematician George Peacock, all of whom had delivered highly important lectures at the Cambridge meeting.
PLAYFAIR, Lyon, first Baron Playfair (1818–1898), politician and chemist, autograph letter signed to Mr Kitson Esq, 8vo, 2 sides of a bifolium, 25th September 1846, with the stamp of the Museum of Economic Geology, saying that he has “forwarded to Mr Lucas Sir John Guests proposals & I have no doubt you will receive an answer from him”.
Playfair moved to London in 1845 on becoming chemist to the Geological Survey, where a small teaching laboratory had been created for him. Playfair's researches for the Geological Survey mostly concerned coal gases, colliery explosions, and an analysis of the coal best suited to the navy's steamships. He was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1848.
Sir John Guest (1785–1852), ironmaster, followed his father into management of the Dowlais Iron Company in 1807. From the mid-1830s to the late 1840s the Dowlais works were in their heyday, and by 1845 they boasted eighteen blast furnaces each producing over a hundred tons weekly. As the railway network expanded at home and abroad so the Dowlais Iron Company seized opportunities for new contracts both within Britain and further afield, notably in Germany, Russia, and America. (ODNB)
PUSEY, Philip (1799–1855), agriculturist. Autograph letter signed to an unnamed correspondent, 2 sides, 8vo, October 1st 49, thanking him for his letter, “I don’t know whether Mr. Leonards paper will necessarily be published by the Microscopic Society: if not I should be glad if you could procure me a sight of it” on which subject he observes “The grass which has always struck me as the most rapid grower is the Italian Ryegrass. In my water-meadows it is up again five or six inches high in a few days after the sheep are removed……Last spring finding some young barley laid I mowed it and in twenty four hours it had grown an inch, the weather was hot. Probably however Mr. Leonard knows much better than I the conditions of rapid growth for his observations.”
Pusey developed a high reputation as a progressive
and practical farmer. In 1835-52 he was MP in Berkshire and in the 1840s was an
adviser on agricultural matters to Peel and Gladstone.
RAMSAY, Alexander, FGS, miscellaneous scientific writer. A collection of 21 autograph letters signed from various scientists, naturalists and others, mainly in Britain and the United States,1880-1883, to Alexander Ramsay concerning Ramsay's publication in part numbers of The Scientific Roll and Magazine of Systematised Notes, as follows:
The collection £400
Alexander Ramsay was editor of S.P.Woodward's Manual of the Mollusca 2nd edn. Virtue, London 1866, and author of The Rudiments of Mineralogy, Virtue, London 1868, but his most major undertaking was the publication of a monumental science bibliography which appeared initially under the title of The Scientific Roll and Magazine of Systematised Notes published in parts 1880-1894 by Bradbury, Agnew, & Co. & J.H. Fennell, London. The initial parts devoted to meteorology were published as a single volume as A Bibliography, Guide and Index to Climate, published by W.S.Sonnenschein and Co., London in 1884. Further numbers were published (eg a Botanical section on Bacteria) but the enterprise was far too ambitious and was a failure commercially. The above collection must be a fragment of a very sizeable correspondence conducted world-wide to scientific establishments, societies and academics.
ROLLESTON, George (1829–1881), physician and physiologist. Autograph letter signed to Dr [William] Sharpey, 1 side plus integral blank, 8vo, Oxford, Oct 5th 1863, “I found on my return to Oxford on Saturday that the larger plates accompanying Mr. Marshall’s Paper had not been sent back to the Royal Society. I forward them this day by train and I hope no inconvenience has arisen from this delay which was owing to my absence from this place”. Rear corner of blank with adhering paper. Together with a carte-de-visite photograph by Hills & Saunders of Oxford. PHOTO
Rolleston attended the famous British Association meeting of 1860, where Darwin’s Origin of Species was debated, and, impressed with Darwinism, immediately set about studying brain development and the classification of skulls in man and animals. In 1870 he published Forms of Animal Life, a pioneering work on the systematic classification and comparison of animal structures. Greatly accomplished, he was the epitome of the university professor: informed on all subjects, an enthusiastic and influential teacher of knowledge for its own sake, and a mixture of classical scholar, academic scientist, and naturalist in the widest sense. ODNB
William Sharpey(1802–1880) was an influential and scholarly physiologist, who from 1854 to 1872 was secretary of the Royal Society.
PROPOSAL TO STUDY SPECTRUM OF BESSEMER CONVERTER FLAME
ROSCOE, Sir Henry Enfield (1833–1915), chemist and university administrator. Autograph letter signed to William Bragge Esq, Sheffield, 3 sides of a bifolium, 8vo, February 1st 1862, Owens College, Manchester, saying he has forwarded “two extracts from the London Review newspaper containing a popular although short account of the Recent Spectrum Discoveries”, adding that a more extensive article can be found in the National (Quarterly) Review for July 1861 entitled “Sun & Sunlight”, and that he will forward him the abstract of a lecture on the same subject which he delivered “March last” at the Royal Institution in London. He adds that he would “much like to examine the spectrum of the Bessemer Iron furnace flame, but at present my hands are so full of work that I am unable to undertake any new investigation. If you will kindly permit me I will at some time come over to Sheffield & try what can be done”. The second leaf has corner marks form old mounting hinges.
Roscoe studied chemistry at University College London and in 1853 continued his chemical education with the distinguished chemist Robert Bunsen in Heidelberg. In 1856 he established a private laboratory in Bedford Place, London, and quickly developed a career as a professional chemist with additional employment as a lecturer. The following year Roscoe obtained the position of professor of chemistry at Owens College of Manchester, vacated by Edward Frankland. Founded in 1851 Owens College had fallen into decline, but Roscoe soon began to provide momentum and leadership in curriculum reform, and demonstrated to the community the potential of Owens to aid the economic life of the region. Under Roscoe's direction, Manchester became a leading chemistry centre in Britain.
Roscoe’s correspondent was the civil engineer and steel manufacturer William Bragge (1823–1884), who in 1858 had joined John Brown and John D. Ellis in a partnership which ran John Brown & Co.'s Atlas works in Sheffield, where he served as managing director alongside Ellis, with responsibilities for foreign trade. (ODNB).
Roscoe in fact quickly followed up the experiment to examine the spectrum of the Bessemer converter flame, publishing the results in 1863. This is an important early letter from the start of Roscoe’s professional and academic career in chemistry.
BUILDER OF THE SS Great Eastern
RUSSELL, John Scott (1808–1882), engineer and naval architect. Letter signed to Thomas Winkworth, 8vo, 2 sides in a neat secretary hand, Society for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufactures, Adelphi, 16 March 1847, inviting him on behalf of the Council of the Society of Arts to attend a preview on the 29th March of “the first of a series of Annual Exhibitions of a selection of the best recent specimens of some of our British Manufactures”, for which special invitations have been sent to “Members of the Government, Members of Parliament and other men of influence”, enclosing (not present) “tickets at your disposal for such individuals as you may deem most likely to promote such objects”. Single sheet of a bifolium, with two folds. PHOTO
John Scott Russell was born
at Parkhead, near Glasgow, attended Glasgow University, and obtained teaching
posts at Edinburgh University. While in Scotland he became engaged in the design
and manufacture of steam carriages, barges and ships, becoming in 1838 a manager
at Caird's engine works in Greenock. In 1844 he moved to London as editor of the
Railway Chronicle, and in 1845 was persuaded to
become secretary of the then almost defunct Society for the
Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (today the Royal Society of
Arts). The society took the initiative in proposing a national exhibition
and it was in no small degree due to Russell's efforts as joint secretary (1850)
that this became the highly successful Great Exhibition of 1851. (ODNB)
Based in London, Russell continued to work on the design of yachts, boats, barges and ships, as a director of the J Scott Russell & Co. shipbuilding company at Millwall on the River Thames. Here he came into contact with Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and in 1852 became involved with Brunel in designing and building the Great Eastern.
Russell’s correspondent Thomas Winkworth (1790-1865) was a London silk manufacturer and merchant. Elected to the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in 1822, he was its Treasurer and one of its most hard-working members. He served as a juror for silks and velvets at the Great Exhibition, and was influential in urging that the Exhibition should be an international and not just a British event.
SCLATER, Philip Lutley (1829–1913), zoologist. Autograph letter signed to [William] Boyd Dawkins, 2 sides of a bifolium, 8vo, Zoological Society of London, 11 Hanover Square, London W, October 14 1872, thanking Boyd Dawkins ‘for the essay on Musk-ox’ and saying that he is sending him a copy of his new catalogue of Vertebrates – ‘I think all the hollow-horned Ruminants constitute one family “Bovidae”, and that the sheep and oxen should only be subfamilies Ovinae Bovinae &c. There is no doubt that Ovibos belongs to the Ovinae.’ Second blank leaf of the bifolium with two small corner tears from removal from an album.
William Boyd Dawkins (1837–1929) had just published his work on the musk-ox Ovibos Moschatus in 1872 in the Monograph series British Mammalia of the Pleistocene Period (Palaeontographical Society, London 1872). In this monograph Boyd Dawkins places the musk-ox in the family Ovidae, while Sclater is of the firm belief that it should be a member of the family Bovidae (containing all of the hollow-horned ruminants) and subfamily Ovinae. The musk-ox is today placed in the family Bovidae and the subfamily Caprinae (rather than the Ovinae).
Philip Sclater became a fellow of the Zoological Society of London in 1850; joined its council in 1857; and in 1859 he was elected its secretary. He sorted out much of the society’s accumulated muddle, and improved the library, and in 1861 was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. While he was always very helpful to other zoologists, he nonetheless was said to have adopted an arrogant and dictatorial manner.
SOMERVILLE, Mary (1780–1872), science writer and mathematics expositor. Autograph letter signed to Edward Romilly Esq, 2 sides with integral blank leaf, 8vo, R.H. Chelsea 17th June [no date, paper watermark 1833], sending her condolences to Mrs Romilly "we were too well acquainted with the object of her regret not to feel deeply for her on the loss of an only sister", and adding that she has "not written to Mrs Marcet because I feared to intrude so soon in the freshness of her sorrow but I anxiously long to hear how her health has stood the suddenness and severity of the shock". The letter comes with copies of genealogical and biographical information.
Mary Somerville [née Fairfax; other married name Greig] was an immensely successful scientific writer widely recognized in her own time. Born and brought up in Scotland she came into contact with influential individuals in Edinburgh's social and intellectual circles who helped her develop her interest and studies in mathematics. In 1816 she moved with her family to London where she developed further friendships within scientific circles. Immediately upon settling in London she met the popular scientific writer Jane Haldimand Marcet (1769-1858) who was undoubtedly to inspire Mary's own ambitions to popularise science.
Jane (Mrs Marcet in the letter) had married the physician Alexander Marcet (1770-1822) in 1799, by whom she had three children, Francis born 1803, Louisa born 1807 and Sophia born 1809. Sophia (Mrs Romilly in the letter) married in 1830 Edward Romilly (1804-1870), a magistrate, Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Chairman of the Board of Audit and well known cricketer. Sophia's sister Louisa married Eugene De la Hive in London in 1828, and it is Louisa's death that is the subject of this letter.
SOPWITH, Thomas FRS (1803–1879), surveyor and civil engineer. Autograph letter signed to E.W.Cooke Esq RA, February 27th 1873, 8vo, one side of a bifolium, 103 Victoria Street, Westminster SW, informing Cooke that “I shall have great pleasure in doing my best for the very worthy Candidate you mention in your kind note” and on domestic matters writes “The return of spring will I hope set you all up in much health & rejoicing at the Glen. Mrs S. is in Northumberland but if here would have heartily joined in all kindest regards to you & yours”.
Thomas Sopwith was educated privately on Tyneside before being apprenticed to his father as a cabinet-maker. He went on to become a land and mineral surveyor, joining Joseph Dickinson of Alston in his survey of the Greenwich Hospital's Alston Moor mines, where he developed a special interest in geology. In 1832 Sopwith was elected to the Institution of Civil Engineers and embarked on a busy life as a consulting surveyor. His many commissions included mine and mineral surveys, street improvements, and railway surveys, through which he came to know, and sometimes to work with, engineers such as George and Robert Stephenson, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, William Cubitt, and W. G. Armstrong. Sopwith retired from professional life in 1871. His wife who he mentions in the letter was his third wife Anne, daughter of Addison Longhorne Potter of Heaton Hall. (ODNB)
Sopwith’s correspondent in the
letter was the marine artist and gardener Edward William
Cooke FRS, RA (1811–1880). Cooke combined his artistic interests with scientific
ones, including a special interest in geology, thus sharing much in common with
Sopwith. In 1868 Cooke retired to Glen Andred, Groombridge, Sussex, a house
built for him by Norman Shaw, sited in extensive gardens.
EARL STANHOPE ON PERPETUAL MOTION
STANHOPE, Charles, third Earl Stanhope (1753–1816), politician and inventor. Autograph letter in third person to Mr Cullum [?], 4to, bifolium of 4 sides, Chevening House, near Sevenoaks, Kent, October 15th 1815, in response to his letter regarding the subject of perpetual motion. Stanhope distinguishes two types, the first physical, dependent upon "such alterations in our Atmosphere &c as are capable of being measured by the Barometer, Thermometer, Hygrometer, Pyrometer, Electrometer &c", and the second, mechanical which "has been repeatedly demonstrated to be impossible, and for the following reason. This second sort is founded on the power of Gravity; but the Law respecting it, and which no Man can alter or modify, is this." On this he goes on to explain that "No machine has any tendency to move by Gravity, but so long as the Common Center of Gravity, of all the moving parts of the machine, descends. Now it is perfectly clear, that, whatsoever may be the size of the given piece of mechanism, there is a limit to that size. And, therefore, according to the unalterable law above mentioned, as soon as the said centre of Gravity has arrived at that limit, the tendency of the machine is to stop. It is consequently, as impossible to make a Mechanical Perpetual Motion as to find an odd Number which shall be the sum of two even ones", and he ends upon in explaining a rule for finding the "Common Center of Gravity". The left edge of the front leaf has some adhering brown paper from an album mount (not affecting the text).
Charles, Earl Stanhope made a mark both as a politician and an inventor. He entered politics in 1774, obtained the seat of Chipping Wycombe in 1780, making an immediate impression in the Commons, and in 1786 upon his father’s death succeeded as third Earl Stanhope, remaining active in the Lords right up until 1815 (the time of this letter). Throughout his political career Stanhope took an active interest in several branches of science. He had studied mathematics at the University of Geneva, was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1772, and went on to devote a large part of his income to experiments in science and philosophy. He studied electricity, publishing the Principles of Electricity in 1779 which contained the rudiments of his theory on the "return stroke" resulting from the contact with the earth of the electric current of lightning, which were afterwards amplified in a paper to the Philosophical Transactions in 1787. His inventions include the printing press and the lens which bear his name; a monochord for tuning musical instruments; and he devised two calculating machines. He consulted Boulton and Watt over developing steam-powered propulsion; registered patents for steamships in 1790 and in 1807; and suggested improvements in canal locks.
WOODWARD, Henry Bolingbroke (1832 –1921) geologist, autograph letter signed to Phillips, 8vo, 2 sides of a single sheet (separated from a bifolium), 142 St Paul’s Road, Camden Square, London N.W.. 25 May 1874, saying he would be happy to see him on Wednesday except “the Geological Society holds a meeting on that night & I ought to attend if I go out at all! But at present I am cooped reading Examination Papers for the Science & Art Departt. and shall not finish before the end of this week I fear. Otherwise I should have much enjoyed a pipe with you & our mutual friend Bullen.”
Henry Woodward became assistant in the geological department of the British Museum in 1858, and became keeper in 1880. He was elected FRS in 1873, and became LL.D (St Andrews) in 1878. He served on the Council of the Geological Society of London for much of the period 1867-1903; was president 1894–1896, and was awarded the Society’s Murchison Medal in 1884 and the Wollaston Medal in 1906. He published widely on fossil invertebrates and was editor of the Geological Magazine from its commencement in 1864.
His friend “Bullen” in the letter might possibly be Robert Ashigton Bullen (1850-1912) who took up an interest in natural history and geology at an early age. He completed his BA at London University in 1873 and was temporarily working as a teacher at the time this letter was written.
END OF SECTION