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Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

R.M.S: Anselm
Tuesday, March 11 | 1919

My very dear Mother

We are now approaching Lisbon and expect to arrive soon after daylight tomorrow morning. The weather has been pretty good; it was warmest on Sunday, which was a beautiful sunny day, and one could sit out on deck chairs without an overcoat. Yesterday and today, there was more wind and occasional showers. It has not been very rough, but there was sufficient motion to make a good many of the passengers unhappy. Of our party, Crommelin & Cottingham succumbed for a time, but they both seem much better today.

We all arrived at Euston an hour-and a half before the train started; but it took a good while to deal with our bulky luggage. We were charged 30/– excess, but most of that was for the object-glasses which being labelled “glass” were charged at a higher rate. We got to Liverpool at 3∙45 and then difficulties began. The Hotels were full and there were scarcely any porters at the station. At last we found a porter of a baggage agency, and put all except our handbags in his charge to deliver to the Steamer. Then we set off in a taxi to hunt for a Hotel. After 3 or 4 attempts we got in at quite a comfortable commercial hotel. I think we were probably very lucky. It was a pouring wet night, so we did not go out.

The next day we got down to the dock about 10 a.m. Our luggage was promised for 10∙30 a.m.; but did not arrive. Soon after 11 we had to go on board, because the emigration officer was only there for a short time. He just looked at the passports and did not worry about anything else. We were not very anxious about the luggage because we soon found about a dozen other passengers were in the same plight as ourselves having entrusted their luggage to the same firm. Ultimately about 12∙30 it all turned up, and we went down to lunch, much relieved.

The Anselm is a very nice boat, and seems much roomier than I expected. I should think there are at least sixty first-class passengers on board. Our cabin is nicely placed, a good height above the water, and is very quiet. Davidson & Crommelin are next door. It seems curious to have done with rationing entirely—unlimited sugar, and large slices of meat, puddings with pre-war quantity of raisins & currants in them, new white rolls, and so on.

We left at about 2 p.m. and went slowly through a chain of docks to the Mersey. One of the Directors of the Booth Line was on board at the start and saw us for a few minutes. We saw the lights of Holyhead about 9 p.m. and stopped a few minutes to drop the pilot. Since then we have seen no land whatever, and have had only very vague ideas as to our position; there is still a war-regulation which forbids them letting us know where we are & what our course is.

Davidson & Crommelin had to sit at the Captain’s table, so our party was broken up. It is supposed to be a special favour to be asked to sit there; but as they are too far from the Captain to get to know him, it does not seem much good. There is one other passenger whom I knew through correspondence, Mr. Walkey an amateur astronomer. He is going out for the Bible Society to live on a house-boat on the Amazon travelling up and down the various tributaries. He expects to be out there most of his life.

I have had a few games of chess with Crommelin and also with a Frenchman, have read a bit, and passed the time very comfortably. I am quite glad to be having a long steamer trip again.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Numbered ‘1st’ at the head. Two passages have been marked off in pencil by a later hand.

Letter from Arthur Schuster to A. S. Eddington

Transcript

Victoria Park, Manchester
Novr 9. 1909

Dear Mr Eddington,

May I ask you—in confidence—whether you consider yourself definitely fixed to “Astronomy” or whether you would at all consider a return to Physics as possible.—I am not at liberty to go into details but the question arises whether in case a chair of Theoretical Physics were founded here or elsewhere and suitable conditions were offered you would be prepared to accept the chair.—Also in that case it might help matters if you wd let me know what conditions you would consider acceptable.

You may take it for granted that the duties wd leave you plenty of time for private work and that nothing wd prevent you continuing to prosecute the line of research on which you have entered with such success

I remain
Yours sincerely
Arthur Schuster.

Letter from John W. Graham to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Grand Hôtel des Bergues, Genève
3. Jan 1898.

Dear Mrs. Eddington,

I sent you just one bit of my ideas abt. Stanley as soon as he left us. The rest must follow now.

His presence has been a great pleasure to us. You have got a boy mixed of most kindly elements, as perhaps Shakspeare might say {1}. His rapidly and clearly working mind has not in the least spoiled his character. I don’t know when I have had to do with so modest and gentlemanly a boy. It is a testimony to day schools and home training, (not, I am afraid, my favourite theory.)

His youth has, of course, been just a little against his making friends, but has not been fatal to it. In Clayton, & in Wood & Brown he has nice associates; but he seems more contented alone than most boys are.

His work is all that I expected, & more: & I feel altogether that he is “a precious youth” committed to my charge. I can realise to some extent what Margaret would feel like if she were left alone to bring up our own little Richard.

I remain
Your friend sincerely
John W. Graham

—————

The writing-paper is engraved with illustrations of the hotel, etc. The year is wrong, as Eddington did not enter Owen’s College till October 1898 (see his Notebook).

{1} {1} Graham evidently had in mind Antony’s encomium on Brutus at the end of Julius Caesar: ‘His life was gentle, and the elements | So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up | And say to all the world “This was a man!”’

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

1912 Sept 3. 11.a.m.
R.M.S.P. Arlanza {1}

My very dear Mother,

We are now on our way between Lisbon and Madeira, and are due at the latter about noon tomorrow; after that the long period away from land begins. I did not hear from you at Lisbon, so fear that the mail must have gone before you posted. I hope you got on all right and are having better weather.

We have had glorious weather the whole way so far. Southampton {2} gave us a parting shower and then the sun came out brightly and has never deserted us since. We had a pretty view of the Needles and Isle of Wight and reached Cherbourg about 6 o’clock where we took on a lot of passengers. We sailed again about 10 o’clock. Before breakfast next morning we were passing Ushant and entered the Bay of Biscay. It was quite smooth, though not exactly glassy; very different from last time I crossed it. The day was bright but not hot. The next morning (Sunday) we were across the Bay[,] and passing C. Finisterre and the end of the Pyrenees the coast looked very pretty with the hills (not very high) well wooded and little villages by the shore. It was now very hot but there has always been a fresh wind. We called at Vigo but did not go ashore; however I visited it well with my opera glasses and took some photographs; the town itself is small, primitive, and not very interesting but the Estuary is fine. We go a little way up the river (I dont know its name) and there are some islands at the mouth which make it very pretty. We took on a tremendous crowd of Spanish emigrants here. They are packed close but seem very happy and lively.

I was up early on Monday morning for the sail up the Tagus to Lisbon. The misty morning light made it very delightful. We went ashore after breakfast (Davidson and J. Atkinson {3} did not land) and stayed until 4 o’clock. You hardly realise Lisbon is a capital city; it seems more a sort of market town. It was very interesting looking round[;] we spent most of the time (which passed very quickly) doing the markets and so on. We went round the Cathedral however, which has a fine high dome and saw many interesting things including the mummy of a saint. We lunched off fruit[—]grapes, apricots and figs[,] which were very nice and wonderfully cheap (very nice tasted {4} purple grapes at a penny a pound)[.] We sailed back to the ship in a sailing boat. We spent altogether 2685 reis which sounds ruinous but is about 9/6.

The ship did not sail till about midnight. Today is I think a little cooler and the sea is not so smooth; but our boat is not much disturbed by it. It is a lovely blue sea with brilliant sunshine.

I have a deck-chair up on the observation deck so get plenty of sun and air. I dont read much more than I did in Norway. This boat is just like the Avon {5} so I know my way about well and, as I told you, we have the same captain {6}.

We are at the Captain’s table but he is not coming to meals until we leave Madeira[.] The other occupants are Mr, Mrs & Miss Unwin; Mr. is some man of importance in S. Amer. but we dont know what. Atkinson tells me he (Unwin) is a radical speaker (A. being a Conservative orator). The only other occupant, my neighbour, is Lady Macpherson-Grant {7}. I am afraid she is going to be rather a bore. However we get plenty of fun with Atkinson. Atkinson who is 67 is a wonderful old chap, as hard as nails; he has been everywhere almost and seems to know everybody. He is always bubbling over with mischief. He is a barrister but has given up practising, breeds and runs racehorses, used to play cricket for Yorkshire, has invented a number of mechanical contrivances which have had great success and directs or manages a number of companies. He is a very keen educationalist on the Northampton County Council and was telling me about their scholarships “but . .” he said {8} “we have n’t done like Somerset yet, I always hold up Somerset to them; they got a Senior Wrangler”[.] I had to enlighten him, as he [had] no idea I was a Somerset Scholar {9}.

I had a good long talk with the Chief Officer last night who knew something of Christina. It seems to be a nice place and the climate and weather prospects first rate.

Of course, we eat tremendously, the meals being much like those on the Avon. I have my bath at 7∙30 so get a little exercise before breakfast at 9. Lunch is at 12∙30, tea at 4, and dinner at 7. They have rather more of a gymnasium here than on the Avon; one very good arrangement is an apparatus for rowing, it feels exactly like real rowing.

I shall have to send with this my best wishes for many happy returns of the day; 60 this time isn’t it? I shall have to give a joint birthday and Christmas present when I get back.

Please give my love to Uncle A. Aunt F. and Arthur; I hope you are not in trouble with the floods, but have heard no English news, whatever.

With very dear love to Winnie & yourself from your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed. The Arlanza, a sister-ship of the Titanic, was built in Belfast by Harland & Wolff for the Southampton–River Plate service. She was launched on 23 November 1911 and came into service in April the following year. She was capable of carrying 400 first-class, 230 second-class, and 760 third-class passengers.

{2} The ship left Southampton on Friday, 30 August.

{3} ‘(Assistant)’ has been added below ‘Davidson’ and ‘(Amateur Astron gone with them)’ above Atkinson, all in the same unidentified hand.

{4} A slip for ‘tasting’.

{5} The R.M.S.P. Avon, of 11,073 tons, was built in Belfast by Harland & Wolf in 1907.

{6} Captain Pope.

{7} Either Frances Elizabeth, the widow of Sir George Macpherson-Grant, 3rd Bt, or Mary (d. 1914), the wife of Sir John Macpherson-Grant, 4th Bt.

{8} This word, which is at the end of a line, is followed by superfluous inverted commas.

{9} Eddington won a Somerset County Council Scholarship in 1898. See Douglas, p. 4.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Savoy-Hotel, Hauptbahnhof, Hamburg
5 Aug. 1913 {1}

My very dear Mother

Dyson and I travelled here together by the night train from Bonn, and arrived here about 7∙30 this (Tuesday) morning. The two conferences overlap by one day, so we miss the last day of the Bonn meetings. I have been enjoying the affair immensely, and had no idea it would be such a jolly and lively time. There were about 100 astronomers there, many with wives, etc; and I got to know most of them. Schwarzschild was staying at our hotel & we saw a good deal of him. The meetings were mainly devoted to business (not papers), and as there was very little to do we had not too much work—in fact it was rather an excuse for a picnic; but one learns a lot by seeing and talking to the different people. The weather has been glorious and very hot every day except Saturday (which was overcast but fine). We had two municipal banquets, viz at Bonn & Cologne—both very enjoyable. At Cologne a most splendid band played during the meal one of the best I have heard; and the Gürzenich, where the meal was, is a beautiful old hall with Gothic roof. Whilst at Cologne we had a good look round the Cathedral and saw the treasure chamber with the skulls of the three Magi. On Sunday we left Bonn before 9 a.m. by electric tram, and had a ten mile walk through the woods of the Siebengebirge ending up at the Drachenfels castle, and returned in a launch by the river. About 30 of us went (the rest going a motor trip) practically all the English Astronomers went the walk, only one American, Schwa[r]zschild, Hertzsprung[,] Jules Baillaud and a number of miscellaneous nationalities. Two ladies Miss Hills & Mrs Hertzsprung (late Miss Kapteyn) went with us. As we had all day we did not have to hurry much; the views were very fine. We had a good deal of amusement—including a race. “Schwarzschild & five mad Englishmen” (the latter including Dyson & myself) got photographed at one of those places where they give you them finished in five minutes, posed in a motor-car and with a wooden donkey—it makes an amusing group. One afternoon Sampson Stratton Hubrecht & I went on {2} the river to Strandbad, a bathing place and had a very enjoyable bathe—it was a very hot afternoon. We have also bathed two or three times in a covered place at Bonn. There was a very nicely arranged garden party at the Observatory at Bonn (Küstner’s place) on Friday.

I got to know two Russian astronomers Backlund & Belopolski who are most delightful men—Backlund in particular is very good company[.] He reminds one a bit of Atkinson, but he is quite a first-rate astronomer. He has often been to England but somehow I have always missed him. The meeting of the Astronomische Gesellschaft here will be larger, less select and probably more serious; I do not think it will be quite so lively, but there are a number of excursions & entertainments planned.12 The Goldener Stern at Bonn was an excellent Hotel[;] this one here is not so good; but they were very slow over serving meals everywhere in Bonn; lunch although, {3} only 3 courses, always took about 2 hours to serve.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley.

The cigars here are excellent & very cheap.

—————

The letter has been docketed ‘Bonn 1913 | Hamburg’.

{1} The first two figures of the year are printed.

{2} This is probably the intended word, though, perhaps as the result of an alteration, what is written resembles ‘top’.

{3} The comma ought to precede the word.

Chapter VIII: Double Frames

§ 79. The EF-frame.
§ 80. Chirality of a double frame.
§ 81. The interchange operator.
§ 82. Duals.
§ 83. The CD-frame.
§ 84. Double-wave vectors.
§ 85. The 136-dimensional phase space.
§ 86. Uranoid and aether.
§ 87. The Riemann-Christoffel tensor.
§ 88. The de Sitter universe.
§ 89. The tensor identities.
§ 90. The contracted Riemann-Christoffel tensor.
§ 91. States and interstates.
§ 92. The recalcitrant terms.

Chapter IX: Simple Applications

§ 93. The metastable states of hydrogen.
§ 94. Neutrium and deuterium.
§ 95. Mass of the neutron.
§ 96. Double intracules.
§ 97. Comparison with field theory.
§ 98. Mass of the deuterium atom.
§ 99. Mass of the helium atom.
§ 100. The separation constant of isobaric doublets.
§ 101. Isotopic spin.
§ 102. Radii of nuclei.
§ 103. The nuclear planoid.
§ 104. Mass of the mesotron.

Chapter X: The Wave Equation

§ 105. Field momentum.
§ 106. The gradient operator.
§ 107. Isostatic compensation.
§ 108. Wave equation of the hydrogen intracule.
§ 109. Solution of the wave equation.
§ 110. The interchange momentum.
§ 111. The two-frame transformation.
§ 112. Electromagnetic potentials.

Chapter XI: The Molar Electromagnetic Field

§ 113. Gauge transformations (molar theory).
§ 114. Action invariants.
§ 115. Gauge transformations (microscopic theory).
§ 116. Indices of wave tensors.
§ 117. Magnetic moments.
§ 118. Magnetic moment of the hydrogen atom.
§ 119. Magnetic moment of the neutron.

(There is no § 120.)

Summary of Chapters XII (second part), XIII, and XIV, with an editorial note

Chapter XII [continued].
§ 125. Symbolic occupation.
§ 126. Einstein-Bose particles.
§ 127. Photons.
§ 128. Life-time of the mesotron.

Chapter XIII: Epistemological Theory.
[§§ 129–136.] As in Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, vol. xl (1944), p. 37, expanded.

Chapter XIV. Summary.
§ 137. The principles of fundamental theory.

Letter from John W. Graham to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Dalton Hall, Victoria Park, Manchester

2. VII. ’99

Dear Mrs. Eddington,

You will be interested in hearing some details of Stanley’s Preliminary. They are astonishing enough.—I have heard them today from the Chairman of the Board of Studies. In

Mechanics. Full marks
Latin. Top of all
Eng History [ditto]
Mathematics [ditto] & 60 marks above everybody else

leaving Chemistry & Eng. Language as the only subjects in which any one excelled him.

This is a marvellous record; whether he ought to know it I leave to you.

The great thing now is not to overload him; and to keep up his exercise: but I see no danger of going wrong in either respect.

In Physics ii at Easter I find he got 99 per cent. in the College Examination, making 199 out of 200. He has half the prize in Latin, the Prize in Practical Physics as well as theoretical; and the 2nd place in Math iii. A.

He will now, I trust, go in for a good physical athletic holiday. With my hearty congratulations

I remain
Yours sincerely
J. W. Graham

Letters from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington: Brazil Eclipse Expedition

In 1912 Eddington led an expedition from the Royal Observatory to Brazil to observe and photograph a total eclipse of the sun. These letters contain an account of the expedition. Eddington specifically asked his mother to preserve the letters because he was keeping no other record of events (see A2/5), and she seems to have been careful in carrying out his request, as the sequence is probably complete. The letters are numbered from 1 to 9 in a contemporary hand, and the ninth letter, finished when the writer was about three days’ sail from home, was almost certainly the last. These letters formed the basis of the account in Eddington’s Notebook (ff. 96–102), and they were consulted by Douglas, who quoted from A2/8 (pp. 18–19).

Eddington and his assistants C. R. Davidson and J. J. Atkinson left Southampton aboard the steamship Arlanza on 30 August and arrived at Rio de Janeiro on 16 September, where they were joined by T. N. Lee, an Englishman deputed by the Brazilian Government to assist them, and J. H. Worthington, an amateur astronomer. Six days later the party arrived at Passa Quatro, their chosen observation point—preferred to other possible sites at Cruxeiro, Christina, and Alfenas—and on 3 October they were joined by two volunteers, Leslie Andrews and O. Couto de Aguirre. A local man, Pierre Seux, also volunteered to help by counting seconds during totality. The eclipse took place on the 10th, but unfortunately observations of the phenomenon were prevented by rain and the expedition was largely unsuccessful. Eddington and his companions left Passa Quatro on 20 October and sailed for home on the Danube on the 23rd. The date of their arrival in England is not recorded, but towards the end of the voyage they were expecting to be at Southampton on 10 November. A report of the expedition, by Eddington and Davidson, was printed in MNRAS (lxxiii, 386–90) the following year. Notes also appeared in The Observatory, xxxv (1912), 328–30, 410, and xxxvi (1913), 62–5.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

1912 Sept 6
R.M.S.P. Arlanza {1}

My very dear Mother

There is an unexpected opportunity of sending a letter today, as we are calling at St Vincent to obtain a supply of fresh water; we could not get it at Madeira. After that it is no good writing until we reach Rio.

Last time I wrote was just after leaving Lisbon, since then we have had very pleasant weather, little wind, calm sea, sky rather overcast but with sunshine filtering through, and not unpleasantly warm, although we entered the tropics last night. We had a day at sea on Tuesday and reached Madeira about 11 the next morning. As we approached we passed a great many islands. Madeira is rather mountainous but a layer of clouds about some 3000 feet above the sea just cut their tops off, and remained all day. We were soon surrounded by lots of small boats selling basket chairs & embroidery—the two main products of Madeira—; also small boys wanting to dive for sixpences, some of them climbed to our highest decks and dived from there.

We had about 4 hours at Madeira and most of us did the regular excursion. Atkinson & Davidson did not come; but I went with the Unwins and Lady Grant. First we rode in chariots (there is no other word for them) drawn by a pair of bullocks[.] The streets are all cobbles and the vehicles are on wooden runners like sleighs; the bullocks gallop along finely. Then we went up the mountain Terreira da Lucca in a funicular railway, not quite to the top but 3300 feet up. The town (Funchal) is built in terraces on a steep slope. The abundance of vines laden with grapes was very remarkable, they grow on low pergolas. There were sugar canes[,] bamboos, palms, and beautiful blue hydrangias growing luxuriantly. Towards the top it was all pine forest. Just below the terminus we ran into cloud so lost the view; but as we had a fine view of the bay nearly all the way up, it did not so much matter. We had lunch at the top, and then came the exciting part—we tobogganed down the whole 3300 feet. There is a steep zigzag cobbled path down from the summit passing through the town; we go in a sort of basket toboggan holding 3 passengers, with with† two men running on each side with ropes to guide the toboggan and hold it back where necessary. They go at a great pace, {2} sometimes getting on and riding behind. It was much more exciting and alarming than I expected. We took about half-an-hour to get down. The sharp corners are particular[ly] exciting at first, because they always get up as much speed as possible to go round them (I suppose because swinging round checks the toboggan). After that came another bullock drive through the town to the launch, and so back to the steamer.

Now we have got to the main part of the journey, and shall be a week or more without any chance of landing. They are arranging some sports and I have entered for some of them. Atkinson is in for the tug of war and should be a tower of strength (and weight) for the “married” v “single”.

Captain Pope has been down to dinner twice, and is very pleasant and chatty. We are generally in the dining room half an hour longer than any-one else.

Tomorrow there is to be a celebration of the Anniversary of the Independence of Brazil. A Brazilian committee are arranging it.

I have not got much work done yet.

With very dear love,
ever your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Numbered ‘2’ at the head in pencil.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed.

{2} Comma added in pencil.

† Sic.

Draft of a letter from A. S. Eddington to Arthur Schuster

Transcript

(copy)

Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, S.E.
1909 Nov. 15

Dear Dr. Schuster

You will, I am sure, not be surprised that I have delayed a little replying to your important letter. I had not at all thought of such a change, and it was a matter requiring very careful consideration. Whilst the idea of returning to Physics, and perhaps especially to academic work, was in many respects attractive, I have however decided that it is best for me not to leave my present work. I need not trouble you with the reasons that have led me to this difficult decision; rightly or wrongly I have concluded that the suggestion and opportunities that I meet with in a large observatory are more likely to lead to good research work on my part {1} than any I could hope for elsewhere.

With many thanks
yours sincerely
A. S. Eddington

—————

The letter is headed ‘copy’ but, since it contains a correction, it is probably a draft.

{1} ‘the suggestion …. on my part’ has been altered from ‘the suggestion and opportunities of research work that I meet with in a large observatory are more likely to lead to good results on my part’.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Hotel Bella Vista | Funchal
Saturday, March 15.

My very dear Mother

We arrived here yesterday in most summerlike weather, and today has been just as bright and warm. It is a lovely spot to have to stop at, although of course I am anxious to get on to the journey’s end. I am afraid we shall have to wait longer than was expected; the date of sailing is now supposed to be April 3, but one cannot rely on the boat times at all. The ship is called to Quelimane.

We reached Lisbon on the 12th about breakfast time, and all four went on shore. I cannot say what the time was because we had three times—ship’s time, Greenwich time and Summer Time, each differing about an hour—; it was most confusing; although summer-time is legally in force in Lisbon and, I believe, in Madeira most people stick to the old time.

Oom met us at the Quay and took us up to the Observatory in a motor car. We met the Director {1} (aged 82) a charming old man, who looked as little like a Vice-Admiral as one could imagine. The Observatory is in a fine park, and the almond blossom was full out and looked very bright. We spent about two hours there and then were motored down to the ship by a longer route through Belem. We had no chance of seeing either the steamer company or the planters, because they do not start business in Lisbon until 3 o’clock.

Lisbon seemed full of soldiers. They have disbanded all the police, but the country seems pretty quiet.

We left Lisbon about 5 o’clock and sailed down the Tagus by daylight—about 12 miles to the mouth of the river. Then we were out of sight of land until the morning of Friday (about 40 hours) when the Madeira islands appeared.

We got fine views of Madeira as we had to sail a good way round the main island to reach Funchal which is on the south coast. We all four landed about 11 o’clock (having seen that our baggage was alright) and spent an hour or two strolling round. Then we had a farewell lunch together at a restaurant. We saw Davidson & Crommelin on to the launch for the ship, and then Cottingham and I drove out to this hotel in a bullock sleigh. I expect I have told you, that except for a few motor cars there are no wheeled vehicles. All the carts and cabs are sleighs, drawn by bullocks, which slip quite easily over the cobbled streets. They put down grease in front of the sleigh to make it go easier. The streets, which are often very steep, are very slippery, and I soon found it necessary to buy a walking stick for support.

We are about 10 minutes walk from the centre of the town, and have beautiful views of the harbour and town and mountains from the balcony of this hotel. Especially at night it looks very fine with all the lights (street electric lamps) stretching a long way up the sides of the mountains. It is rather a large town and the houses are very scattered.

The Hotel is kept by English people, and in normal times there are large numbers of English visitors, so that English is spoken at most of the shops. But they have had a bad time during the war—scarcety† of most provisions except that sugar which is very widely grown here has been cheap & plentiful. Sugar cane & banana plantations abound everywhere, and vine pergolas, but the vines are not in leaf yet. The fruit in season now is almost solely bananas and nesperas (the latter is something like an apricot in appearance but tastes more like a cherry). We get some very good fish at meals, but otherwise they are chiefly English dishes.

It is too hot to walk very far, but we went four or five miles this afternoon near the coast. Inland the mountains rise almost at once to a height of 4000 or 5000 feet, so it requires some energy to go far.

The hotel has very nice, but small, gardens, which are bright with flowers. There are fine date palms and cactus’s of various kinds. I am finishing this on Sunday morning and the weather is just as bright and warm as ever. Another boat came in from Lisbon this morning, and there are a good many new arrivals at the hotel. I suppose there would be about 30 people here now, but it is not half full.

I hope you are getting on alright at home. It will be a long while before I get any news of you.

Much love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Numbered ‘2nd’ at the head. Two passages have been marked off and emended in pencil by a later hand.

{1} Vice-Admiral C. A. Campos Rodrigues, Director of the Observatory at Lisbon since 1890.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

1912 Sept 11
R.M.S.P. Arlanza {1}

My very dear Mother

We are getting near Pernambuco now. The time at sea has passed very rapidly and pleasantly and I shall be very sorry when the voyage is over. The slightly overcast skies which we had about Madeira have given place to continual bright sunshine, but there has been a strong refreshing breeze always. Most of the regular travellers on this route say they have never known it so fresh and cool all the way. The only time I find it really hot is when I come down from the deck at night to the cabin; then for an hour or so it seems very close and I usually read for an hour to get cool again before going to sleep. The dining saloon, decks, & smoking rooms are beautifully cool. Of course I am wearing the thinnest things possible.

We did not land at St Vincent but were surrounded by boats (as at Madeira)[.] These were all occupied by negroes; the little nigger boys were very amusing[;] I tried to photograph them. I saw a shark whilst we were at anchor. We see lots of flying fish, regular shoals of them, skimming from wave to wave. Most of them are very small[,] almost like butterflies. They look very pretty in the sunlight.

I have got to know some of the southern stars now but they are poor compared with the northern ones. The Southern Cross is not visible yet[;] it is the wrong time of the year for it. The Chief Officer took me up on to “Monkey Island” above the Bridge where one gets a good clear view of the sky.

One day is much like another and I hardly keep account of time. We have had Sports, Games, Fancy Dress ball, etc. I went in for several of the Competitions—including spar-boxing (with the pillow), life-belt race, Are you there?, deck quoits, threading the needle (with Lady Grant holding the needle), but did not have much success, except at chess. I got to the Final Round at Chess, and had to play quite a young opponent for the final. We drew one game and he won the replay. They had a specially good dinner to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Independence of Brazil, and some speeches (chiefly in Portuguese)[,] also a dance which did not interest me.

Of course I know a good many people by now. One man that we see a great deal of is Major Caroll (an Irishman)[;] he is a very nice fellow. The Captain comes down to dinner generally; although he is said to be the most popular man in the service I dont care much for him. He seems generally grumbly—a pig-headed old man I think; though I have no doubt as a Captain he is very good indeed. Lady Grant also is a tiresome old lady, with an enormous appetite. The Unwins are quite nice people.

We pass a great number of ships chiefly tramp steamers. The Avon passed us quite close a few days ago and I saw it. We had one little excitement yesterday as a tramp steamer required a Doctor (a man having got an iron splinter in his eye) so we stopped whilst he was brought on board and attended to.

We crossed the Equator about 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon but there were no traditional observances; everyone (at the time[)] was excited about a tug-of-war Married v Single. Atkinson pulled in it as well as Davidson & I. The “married” were ever so much heavier than we were, and pulled us over easily.

It is curious having no letters or English news of any sort. We have not even had the daily Marconigram since leaving Lisbon—have heard nothing whatever. I hope you are getting on well.

We expected to be in the Doldrums the last three days—a region of calm close air with rain—but instead of that we have had delightful fresh weather[;] it is most unusual just here.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

I hope Winnie is having a got {2} time at Lynton[.]

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Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Numbered ‘3’ at the head in pencil.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed.

{2} A slip for ‘good’.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Funchal
1919 March 27

My very dear Mother

We have been here nearly a fortnight, and though we are anxious to be getting on to Principe, it is very delightful being here and I am not at all tired of Madeira. We have had a variety of weather; but there is always a good deal of hot sunshine every day. At first we had three days of “leste”, a hot dry east wind coming from the Sahara; it blows in gusts—dead calm for a long time then quite suddenly a furious wind for about 10 minutes. It did a good deal of damage to the trees and to the tiles on the roof here. Afterwards we had brilliant weather all day, but not quite so hot. This last week we have had a good deal of rain—chiefly at night but some sharp showers in the day as well—with snow on the tops of the mountains. Now it is comparatively cold; but that is only relatively speaking; because I am still wearing my thinnest shirts & vests and can sit out of doors even at night.

I have been two good long walks on the mountains. The funicular railway is not running regularly but there are occasionally excursions. We went up one day starting at 12 o’clock and reached the top—Terreira de Lucta—(2800 feet) about one o’clock. Cottingham and I took some sandwiches, and walked on at first by road and then on the hillside, making for a special view-point in the centre of the island. He found it too hard work, so I left him for 1½ hours and finished the climb alone. The view-point, Ariero Observatory, is 4800 feet above sea-level, and is a balcony overlooking a magnificent gorge at least 2000 feet deep which winds down to the sea on the other side (north) of the island. After seeing this, I rejoined Cottingham and we walked back to Terreira de Lucta which we reached about 5 o’clock, and then came down into Funchal in a toboggan a run of about 4 miles.

The second expedition was to the Grand Curral a point further round to the west. Cottingham and I started at 9 o’clock, and we got back about 5∙30. The walk was nearly twenty miles; but the weather was cooler so it was easier. Most of the way was along paved roads often very steep. We got many fine views on the way; and in places the gorse was out, and looked very pretty. The Grand Curral (=great cattle-fold) is a small plain almost entirely surrounded by a ring of mountains—like the crater of a volcano. We looked down on it from a saddle 3300 feet above sea-level and more than 2000 feet above the Curral. On all other sides the mountains were much higher. It is extraordinary, how much of the land is cultivated, all the steep sides of the mountains are terraced into tiny fields up to a great altitude. There is an elaborate system of irrigation; the artificial water-courses (called “levadas”) tap all the rivers near their sources, taking away nearly all the water and leaving only stoney† beds.

The main place of resort in Funchal is the Casino. We often go there in the afternoon for tea. The tea (the beverage) is much better than at the hotel; it has been very scarce in Madeira. There is a roulette table which is well-patronised and it is interesting to watch the players.

The beach is very poor, very steep and stony; and is unattractive, because it is used as the general rubbish-heap. But it is interesting to sit on the pier especially when any of the large steamers are in. There has been no mail from England since I came; but we are expecting one today—the Chepstow Castle—. I did not know I should be here so long or I would have asked you to write here.

There are lots of bananas here and I usually get through about a dozen a day. There is not much other fruit. Prices are generally a bit lower than in England but there is not much difference. The meat here—mutton, veal, beef—is extraordinarily good the best I have ever tasted I think. We can get good cigarettes at 10 a penny; but I chiefly smoke a mixture of native tobacco at a penny an ounce with imported tobacco at a shilling an ounce—the native stuff is too dry to use by itself.

We made friends with a gentleman from the telegraph (cable) station, and he got us permission to see round it yesterday. It was very interesting. They have a lot of new improvements since I was at the station in Malta.

There was a British warship here one day, and they had a football match against the Cable station, which we went to see. The weather was more suitable for watching than for playing. They must have found it terribly hard.

We know a number of people in the hotel. Ritson a commercial traveller from Manchester, Ash a queer old gentleman, Mrs. Caswell a merry widow and her daughter, Mr and Mrs Thomas from Swansea and others. Most of them intend to go on to the Canaries next Sunday. The landlord & landlady Mr. & Mrs. Jones are extremely pleasant & good-natured people.

Three ships were torpedoed by submarine in Madeira harbour during the war, and one sees the masts of two of them sticking up out of the water. The town was also bombarded and there are a few traces visible.

I hope all is going well at Cambridge. I shall be glad to hear news of you when I reach Principe.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

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Numbered ‘3rd’ at the head. Four passages have been marked off and emended in pencil by a later hand.

† Sic.

Chapter I: The Uncertainty of the Reference Frame

§ 1. The uncertainty of the origin.
§ 2. The physical origin.
§ 3. The Bernoulli fluctuation.
§ 4. The standard of length.
§ 5. Range of nuclear forces and the recession of the galaxies.
§ 6. Spherical space.
§ 7. Uranoids.
§ 8. The extraneous standard.
§ 9. Scale-free physics.
§ 10. Pseudo-discrete states.
§ 11. Stabilisation.

Letter from John W. Graham to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Meadow Brow, Grasmere.
VIII. ’02

Dear Mrs. Eddington,

My last duty is now one of simple good wishes.

The men up for Physics Hons. were a set much better than in any previous year. Any of the first three would have been top in any other year; & Stanley was well ahead of the others, & obtained over 80 per cent on the whole examination.

He will find a larger sphere and more competition at Cambridge; and I trust we shall hear he is bearing himself well under it.

With best wishes
I remain
Your friend sincerely
John W Graham

Draft of a testimonial by A. S. Eddington for W. M. Smart

Transcript

Observatory, Cambridge
21 May 1936

Dr W. M. Smart’s application for the Chair of Regius Professor of Astronomy in the University of Glasgow has my warmest support. He is a man of established reputation in astronomical circles who would fill the office with distinction; and he has proved himself very successful as a lecturer and teacher. He would be much missed from this Observatory and from the University; but promotion to a professorial chair would be a fitting recognition of his work.

Dr Smart has been Chief Assistant in the Observatory and John Couch Adams Astronomer since 1921. There is only one other Assistant. The policy of the Observatory has been to avoid routine undertakings and to develop new methods. Two main lines of work have been developed during his tenure—an improved method of determining photographic proper motions of stars, and measurement of stellar magnitudes with a photo-electric cell. As regards the former it may, I think, be claimed that the Cambridge results set a new standard of accuracy for large series of proper motions. Photo-electric work is still confined to two or three observatories (Cambridge being the only British one). After a long struggle with pioneer difficulties the work is now proceeding with great success, and astonishing accuracy is obtained. A large share of the credit for these results is due to Dr Smart.

On the theoretical side his earlier work was in celestial mechanics. But in connection with the practical work above-mentioned his more recent interests have {1} been mainly in proper motions and other branches of stellar statistics, to which he is one of the most active contributors. He is a member of the Commission of the International Astronomical Union on Stellar Parallaxes and Proper Motions.

His teaching work covers elementary lectures on astronomy, advanced lectures on celestial mechanics and on stellar motions and a practical class at the observatory. Judging from the response of the students he is a stimulating lecturer. He normally supervises one or two research students.

An important part of his experience is his work as Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society during the last five years. This brings him into touch with astronomers in all parts of the world, so that he is in full contact with all modern developments. It is perhaps not irrelevant to mention that he is Treasurer of the Royal Astronomical Society Dining Club—an office (of which the duties are by no means confined to the care of money) which is a tribute to his popularity with his colleagues.

To sum up:—He has shown himself able to make the most of the resources of a small observatory; he is well-known and esteemed internationally; he is successful with students; and is well used to administrative activity.

—————

The various cancelled words and passages in this letter have not been recorded, except for the mistaken deletion noted below.

{1} Struck through by mistake.

Letters from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington and Winifred Eddington: Madeira and the Eclipse at Principe

In 1919 two expeditions were dispatched from Britain to observe a total eclipse of the sun, the object being to test Einstein’s general law of relativity by determining what effect, if any, is produced when the path of a ray of light crosses a gravitational field. One party, comprising A. C. D. Crommelin and C. Davidson, went to Sobral, a town in the north of Brazil; the other, comprising Eddington and E. T. Cottingham, went to Principe, a small island off the west coast of Africa. The present group of letters, written by Eddington to his mother and sister, contains an account of his part in the latter expedition.

The four observers left Liverpool together aboard the steamship Anselm on 8 March and arrived at Madeira on the 12th, where they parted. Crommelin and Davidson went on to Brazil aboard the Anselm, while Eddington and Davidson were obliged to stay at Madeira till 9 April, when they recommenced their journey aboard the Portugal. They arrived at S. Antonio in Principe on the 23rd. After inspecting various possible sites on the island, they settled on Roça Sundy, the headquarters of a plantation owned by Senhor Carneiro, and their baggage was transported there on the 28th. They spent a week preparing the equipment, before returning to S. Antonio for the week 6–13 May; they then went back to Sundy to continue their preparations. The eclipse took place on 29 May. On 12 June the observers left Principe on the steamship Zaire. After changing ships at Lisbon, they arrived at Liverpool on 14 July. A report of the expeditions was communicated to the Royal Society on 30 October and printed the following year (Phil. Trans. A, ccxx (1920), 291–333). A draft by Eddington of the part of the report relating to the Principe expedition will be found at C1/3.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Funchal, April 6

My very dear Mother

I think that our time here is nearly up. We are to go on by the steamer Portugal which is due here on Wednesday, April 9, and should reach Principe on the 23rd. It calls at two places in the Cape Verde Islands and then goes straight to Principe. We shall not be the only English on board as we know of two others going as far as St Vincent (in Cape Verde Is.). The Quelimane which we had thought at first would be our boat was due here on the 3rd but did not arrive till yesterday; it was going direct to St Thomé, only a hundred miles from Principe, but did not call at Principe.

Since my last letter I have had one other splendid walk on the hills. I went alone as it was too far for Cottingham. I started at 7∙45 and reached Terreira de Lucta (the terminus of the railway) by half past nine; I was walking as there was no train early enough. It was then an easier walk though still uphill over Poiso pass 4550 feet up; then steep downhill to Ribiera Frio. This is one of the famous view-points of the island. The Balçoã (or balcony) there is about 2800 feet above sea-level, and one looks up and down a splendid deep ravine, thickly wooded. It is the same ravine that I saw from Ariero Observatory; but here, being in the middle of it instead of at one end, one gets a much better view and better idea of its size and depth. I reached this place about 12∙15 and stayed there till near 2 o’clock. It was very fortunate I had made an early start, because by the time I left the mist had come up from the sea on the north of the island and completely filled the ravine, so that one could see nothing. When I got there it was quite clear except for a few clouds round two or three of the highest snow-covered peaks. The highest peaks are 6000 feet high. One got good views of the levadas (artificial aqueducts) cut in the sides of the precipitous cliffs, and part of the way the path was by the side of one of these levadas. I climbed back through the mist to Poiso; and then got into the sunshine again, and left the road striking over the hills to Pico da Silva more to the east, getting a good view of the coast at the east end of the island. I reached Funchal about 6∙30, coming down the last 2000 feet by a very steep road like a flight of steps. The walk was about 25 miles altogether.

A good many of the people staying at this hotel left by a boat last Sunday, and it seems more empty now. There are about 8 or 10 permanent residents, and in addition I think there are only three other visitors—Ash (an old gentleman who came with us on the Anselm), Mr Bickmore a new arrival, and Geoffrey Turner a boy of sixteen from Mumbles, who has come out here for six weeks after an illness. Since some of his fellow-passengers left last Sunday, he has come to sit at our table and generally goes about with us.

The weather this last week has been very showery but always with long intervals of bright sunshine. The inhabitants say it is exceptionally bad weather; but I only wish we had “bad weather” of this kind in England. It is, however, unsuitable for long walks and the clouds are fairly low on the mountains; but that does not matter as I have been to the chief points of interest that are at all accessible. Nearly every morning this last week I have spent bathing at the Ajuda a place on the coast rather more than a mile from here which Geoffrey showed us. It is about the only place for a bathe here unless one goes out in a boat. The sea is rather rough and the coast rocky; but here there is a more or less enclosed pool where one can get a good swim without being knocked about on the rocks by the waves. I have got tremendously sunburnt.

We generally go to the Casino for tea, though we have tried once or twice another restaurant. There is always a band there. Roulette is prohibited in Madeira; but the authorities pretend not to know that it goes on. Now and again they make a raid, but they always telephone up to say they are coming. One afternoon, I was wanting to come away and found the main doors, which lead out through the dancing saloon, fastened, and we had to come out by a back way; the reason was that the Chief of the Police had come up for the dancing, and he was supposed not to know what was going on the other side of the door.

I have scarcely ever been out after dinner, but last night I went with Geoffrey to a picture-palace. The chief film was the funeral of King Edward VII! It was rather curious seeing it after so many years. After about ¾ hour of pictures, there was a short play of which we naturally could understand nothing. Then some recitations (chiefly serious) and some songs (chiefly comic). One of the comic songs was very amusing though one could not understand the words. It was a very crowded house, and very interesting to watch the audience.

I had a talk this morning with the English Doctor an old gentleman who has gone in for science a good deal. He is brother-in-law to the late Lord Kelvin, and told me a lot of stories about him. Kelvin met his wife at Madeira—a Miss Blandy—the Blandys are the agents of most of the shipping companies here, and they saw after storing our instruments, here.

I expect my next letter will be from Cape Verde Islands. I shall be glad to be progressing again; but I have enjoyed the whole of my stay here immensely—it has been a splendid holiday

With very dear love from
your loving son
Stanley

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Numbered ‘4th’ at the head. Three passages have been marked off in pencil by a later hand.

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