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Sedgwick, Adam (1785-1873) geologist
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Letter from Mary Sidgwick to Henry Sidgwick

Refers to her recent visit to Cambridge, which she fully appreciated and very much enjoyed. Describes having been received by Dr Lightfoot after Henry was gone on the Saturday, and their meeting with Mr [Robert] Burn and Mr [Ralph] Somerset. Describes how they were entertained by 'Professor Sedgewick' [sic], who was 'as merry as ever, full of kindness....' Refers also to their visits to Mrs Prescott, Mrs Millar, and to Mr Somerset's rooms.

Reports that after they left Cambridge Annie [Sidgwick?] and she parted at King's Cross, and presumes that the former is now at Hastings. States that the 'London Expedition' with Henry's Aunt Henrietta was a failure because the heat caused Mary Sidgwick to be ill, and she came home to Rugby the previous day, while Henrietta went to Wellington College. Wonders if Henry is angry with her for having brought away 'the manuscripts', and assures him that they are safe and that she will send them back if he desires to have them. Reports on her rose tree, and claims that Arthur looks well. Admits that she does not feel up to going to 'the Schoolhouse Lunch and speeches that day' and has decided to stay at home. Reports that she met Henry's old friend Edmund T[ ] at the station some days previously, who asked after Henry. Explains tht the books 'were all taken back with the bag and the key the man at the Porter's Lodge took.'

Sidgwick, Mary (d 1879) mother of Henry Sidgwick

Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his mother

[Sent from Haileybury]:- Remarks on the unfairness of the fact that because Arthur does not write to her, she does not write to him: Henry arrived at this conclusion from a message he got from [J. M.?] Wilson when he saw him at Trevelyan's dinner. Reports that he is 'pretty well' and 'tolerably busy'. Has been examining a school lately, and has made good progress with his Arabic. Adds that his eyes are pretty well. Reports that Trevelyan has gone down for good; his father has been appointed financial member of the Indian Council and his son is to be his private secretary. Observes that Trevelyan is the last of the friends that he made as an undergraduate, but declares that there are lots of nice men still at the university, and that he has not lost the power of making friends. States, however, that he feels that he is growing old, and 'probably appear[s] a great Don to freshmen'.

Is anxious to hear the result of the Great Ladkin case; asks 'is the monster subdued or have [they] had to "eat the [Leck]". Reports that Mrs Kingsley enquired after his mother; Mrs Kingsley has had quite a long illness, from which she is now recovered, and he has not seen anything of the Kingsleys this term. Declares Miss [Rose?] Kingsley to be 'a very nice girl.' Asks whether his mother has seen Kingsley's letters in the Times, and comments that most people at Cambridge think that he has done good by them, but observes that he has been 'as usual hasty and one-sided.' Believes that the Manchester people ought to have spoken before. States that he saw Temple's letter, which was 'very good as always', and comments on his testimony as to conduct of manufacturers.

Reports that Arthur is very well, and that he himself is staying with [A. G.] Butler in Hertfordshire. He saw Miss Mulock, who was staying with [Alexander?] Macmillan, some days previously; she 'looks pleasant and sympathetic, yet hardly capable of the powerful delineation of passion one meets with in her books'; she is said to be 'odd' and to 'come to evening parties in her morning dress'.

Attributes his mother's epistolary silence to dissipation, and asks if everybody on the Bilton Road asked her out to dinner, and whether they shall 'entertain "all manner of Dukes" as Arthur says' when they return. Asks if any family catastrophe has occurred. Tells her if she meets any Trinity man she may tell them that [J. L.] Hammond is going to be Bursar. Declares that Mr Martin is looking better every week; that Professor Sedgwick is flourishing, and is expected to lecture the following year 'for "positively the last time" as he has said any time the last ten years.'

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

It is hard for someone to write a letter when they are working fifteen hours a day. AS describes the areas he has been geologising in Scotland and his planned trips elsewhere. AS is 'delighted with what I have seen of the Highlanders'.

Letter from George Cayley to Adam Sedgwick

Brompton - GC is 'so immersed in the ferment of politics' that he has been slow to respond to AS's circular [possibly a request urging money for education]. The subscription started very modestly and it would have been better to have had a few of the founders attaching a 'few hundreds' to their name. GC Cannot go to the Oxford [BAAS] meeting but hopes it will be in Cambridge next year. This 'British Institute' must 'be studiously and strenuously kept open as a genuine republic of science'.

Atkinson/Williams family correspondence

Five letters and one piece of humorous writing from the family of Michael Angelo Atkinson and Amelia Williams, with two letters from Adam Sedgwick in April 1856 about Atkinson and Williams' engagement, to Amelia Williams and to her mother Anna Williams. With two earlier letters: a report on Michael Angelo Atkinson by James Tate to Atkinson's father Peter, dated 12 Dec. 1831, and a letter from M. A. Atkinson at Trinity College to his sister Harriet about French literature. Two more items are written by Harriet Miller, the wife of William Hallowes Miller and a cousin? of the Williams family: one, a letter to her Aunt [Anna Williams?] includes a long description of the dinner held at Trinity College in honour of the Queen and Prince Albert on his installation as Chancellor of Cambridge University in July 1847; the other, a humorous essay about water closets and the loss of the garden privy.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS is writing from an inn on the Northwest coast of Ross. He gives an outline of his intended movements. If WW wishes to join them 'I can promise you a most hospitable reception from the Highland ladies'. AS gives an extended description of the south coast of Mull on the Western Isles.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW went to see Adam Sedgwick in Norwich: 'Sedgwick is going on in the same triumphant way in which he does in most places; making people stare and start, but making them like and admire him with a sort of enthusiasm'. AS is giving weekly lectures in geology to about 400 people. WW sends RJ a pamphlet article in the Quarterly Review ['Newton and Flamsteed: Remarks on an Article in Number 109 in the Quarterly Review', 1836] he wrote after reading Barrow's: 'You know all Trinity men must care for Newton'.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW notes that the Tithe Bill is got through the Commons and is now in the Lords [see WW to RJ, 9 April 1836]: 'I hope you have now a fair prospect of success both in your public and private project'. WW has taken the opportunity in the new edition of his book to say a word about the controversy between him and the Edinburgh Reviewer ['Astronomy and General Physics Considered with Reference to Natural Theology', 3rd edn., 1836]. Adam Sedgwick's Bevesleiad is reprinted: 'I am afraid that from it and Lord Lyndhurst's [John Singleton Copley] speech people will suppose that at Trinity we practice ourselves in calling names. They ought to make Sedgwick a bishop and put him against Copley'.

Letter from Roderick Impey Murchison to Lady Affleck

The friendship WW has shown to RIM 'has quite touched my heart'. He is very grateful at WW's endeavour to bring a truce between RIM and Adam Sedgwick [see RIM to WW, 2 July 1862]: 'I see however by the severe term which he applies to me, that he is still highly irritable to the subject'. RIM is just starting out for Britanny to explore that ancient region.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS arrived in Strasbourg this morning. He wishes that some notice be given of his lectures: 'Will you have the kindness to direct Smith to give the notice in the usual form'. AS gives an account of what he and his party have been doing since they left England including; a hike along the Hessian basaltic mountains, a trip to Berlin, and an examination of the leading phenomena of Saxony; this was followed by a journey to Bohemia, Prague, Vienna, the Eastern Alps, Italy and slowly on to Strasbourg. AS gives a brief account of some of the geological phenomena he encountered.

Letter from William Whewell

WW is sorry to hear that HJR is ill. HJR's old pupil, [Charles J.] Goodhart, is a particular favourite with Thomas Thorp. WW did not mean to suggest he had quarrelled with Miller's Bampton Lectures since he has not read them: 'But I suppose I should have asked you what you mean by your school and my school. I do not know that my views and opinions are those of any class of people and they certainly are not those which have often served as a basis for the jokes of our common acquaintances - your school is I presume the Wordsworthian, and I believe that many of the persons whom, I imagine, you would include in it have exceedingly amiable and deeply seated religious & moral views & feelings - but what these have to do with... Coleridge's rant of etymologico-Platonic speculations is what I have never been able to make out'. They have been fighting in Cambridge over the right of election. Adam Sedgwick 'has just printed a pamphlet on the subject which is quite admirable - I cannot send it you but I beg you to believe on my word that we are exceedingly in the right and that the heads in general & French in particular are greatly in the wrong'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS has received a subscription for the purchase of the Thomas Allan collection of minerals to be deposited in the University of Durham. AS is to give two guineas towards its purchase: 'I hope Allan's noble collection will not be broken up'. WW should come and visit him to view the wealth of architecture [Norwich]. Letter is written on the verso of the printed prospectus for the purchase of the Allan Collection of Minerals.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS has still a great deal of work to do geologising in Devon and Cornwall and has been hampered by the bad weather. It has just struck AS that he ought to give notice of his lectures - could WW tell Smith [the printer] to circulate them. AS gives an account of his travels about South England; Dartmoor, the South Wash of Down, and the coast of Cornwall. He met Davies Gilbert in Penzance.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

Launceston - AS has 'had one or two severe attacks brought on by fatigue and bad weather'. Nevertheless he has 'done a great deal of good work and fixed many geological land marks'. WW should not hesitate becoming President elect of the Geological Society: 'Have you not been Professor of Mineralogy? Have you not given the only philosophical view of that science that exists in our language? Have you not written the best review of Lyell's [Charles Lyell] system that has appeared in our language? etc. etc.? - you are just the man we want'. WW should tell Murchison [Roderick Murchison] 'that in the quarries a mile and a half south of this place' are some interesting fossils.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS is making his way back to England; from Dusseldorf he goes to Rotterdam and then directly to London. Can WW give notice of AS's lectures. He has found 'some admirable materials for your architectural speculations'.

William Whewell to Julius Charles Hare

The Rev. G. Kent wants John Brown to give him a reference for a position at a public school in Truro. WW has supplied the relevant information to Brown except Kent's address (enclosed). Can JCH get from Mr Edward a 'cutting of myself' - WW needs one to send to his sister [Ann Whewell]. He would also like one of Adam Sedgwick to send to Lady Malcolm. WW and Lady Malcolm parted yesterday: 'I can by no means persuade myself that she and I parted yesterday for years'. He did not get to see the children but he did see a 'representation of them' by Mrs Robinson - 'I was not satisfied'.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity Lodge - WW is pleased to hear that RJ's book is being printed ['Lectures on the Political Economy of Nations', 1845?]. WW will look over his sheets with great interest. WW's interest 'does not depend so much upon any hope I have of detecting errors for you, as from my desire to see your views in their systematic shape'. WW is sure it will make its way to general acceptance: 'I believe that the promulgation of long pondered truths ought to be prepared to wait a while for the gratitude of the world, for they cannot mix themselves with popular and periodical literature or with London coteries in such a way as to find a set of ready made admirers when they publish. But this is not to be regretted, for truths of any broad philosophical kind do not admit of transmission through admirers so made. - I have been much amused, in this point of view with the success of the Vestiges of Creation. No really philosophical book could have had such success and the very unphilosophical character of the thing made it excessively hard for a philosophical man to answer it, and still more, to get a hearing [as] he did. How do you like Sedgwick's [Adam Sedgwick] in the Edinb.? To me, the material appears excellent but the workmanship bad, and I doubt if it will do its work'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

'Nothing, but a most painful and important duty, should have kept me so long in the south of England as I am likely to remain before I can return to Cambridge'. He will not be back before the Saturday preceeding his first lecture. On arriving at St. Bas AS found his oldest friend dangerously ill: 'He gradually got worse and worse and died at two o'clock on Tuesday morning'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

Norwich - AS could not reply to WW's kind letter until he knew of his sister's plans. If she had been going back via Cambridge AS could have tempted her to take up WW's invitation to stay - but she is not. AS is pleased WW is going to bring before the Seniority the revision of the statutes. AS cannot understand why their former Master [Christopher Wordsworth] did not do this earlier: 'Of course nothing will be done finally before I come back at the end of this month'. George Airy came to visit AS but his stay was cut short: 'there was such a magnetic storm in Greenwich Park that they were obliged to send just for him to come to quell this insurrection among the needles'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS is looking forward to the possibility of seeing WW and Cordelia Whewell in January: 'my house will be at your service'. AS will try to persuade George and Richarda Airy to come up. 'Poor Hudson Gurney left Norwich for London a few days since - It is not expected that he will ever return. Since he reached Norwich he has on the whole been better; but he is obliged to have a surgeon constantly with him - His loss will be felt by many'. AS's gout does not disturb him much now.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

Could WW give AS details of the approximate time and day he expects to arrive. It does not look like George and Richarda Airy will be joining them: 'Airy is so busy with the moon that he has not time for any one else'.

William Whewell to Julius Charles Hare

Adam Sedgwick's Commemoration Day sermon was 'as I think you know, a beautiful and profound dissertation as he delivered it; and having been rethought and rewritten since it is much more beautiful and coherent; and along with certain notes which he has appended to it, it forms an essay upon philosophy, morals, and academical education which it will delight you to read' ['A Discourse on the Studies of the University', 1833]. George Peacock preached 'a sort of political essay in the duty of regulating our views and feelings in accordance with the new and reformed state of things, which though by no means devoid of cleverness and dignity sounded rather like an article in the Morning Post than a sermon'. Something much better was given by the Trinity student Birks [Thomas R. Birks, 2nd Wrangler 1834] who gave a dissertation on the subject ''that there is a moral truth which in its own way is as certain as mathematical truth' such as I really do not know any other person who could have written - the philosophy was most profound and consistent, and the views of the nature of morality of the fine and elevated kind which I hope we shall always hear from our best men here...His images often reminded me of Bacon's; - a mighty flash of ornament with a clear thread of poignant analogy sparkling through it'. WW is to concentrate on his own philosophy 'such as shall really give a right and wholesome turn to men's minds'.

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