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Sedgwick, Adam (1785-1873) geologist
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Letter from Adam Sedgwick

WW's kind letter reached him along with ten others. AS hopes that his niece [Isabella Sedgwick] is on the road to a perfect restoration [see AS to WW, 16 May 1862]. AS has been suffering from gout and a bad cold which is now on the mend.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS's servant, John Sheldrake, 'a well conducted boy' has asked him to write to WW on behalf of his father; who wishes to be a candidate for Pocter's place in Trinity College. Sheldrake claims his father 'is a good and sober man - that he is 46 years of age - and that he has always had a good character as an honest and obliging man'. Isabella Sedgwick is now almost well [see AS to WW, 3 June 1862]. AS's health in general is much better. AS went to Windsor Castle 'and had a long and most touching interview with the Queen'. AS was very impressed with the sanctity 'of her sorrow; by her beautiful self possession; by the large views of her duties; by the great expression of her love and good will to her fellow creatures and subjects; and by the firmness of her faith - she said that she wished to see me again on Friday' - however she was ill that day. 'In the other qualities of our beloved Queen I ought to have mentioned her wise views of duty, and her deep personal humility'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

Thanks WW for his kind letter but AS has made up his mind that he wants to resign as Vice-Master of Trinity College. His poor health prevents him doing his duties. In social gatherings he is often so deaf he cannot communicate. He has no right to the position.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS has sketched a Memorial and Petition, on the recommendation of Mr Walpole (Cambridge University Member), to be drawn up by Mr Barrett (for Lucas Barrett's widow). It is then to be given to Walpole to present to the Treasury: He 'believes that Lord Palmerston - to whom, as Premier, falls the administration of the 'Royal Bounty Fund' - will entertain the Petition favourably'. AS thinks the petition should be accompanied by letters from some of the leading men of the University confirming Lucas Barrett's natural talent, zeal and skill in the conduct of his duties.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS thanks WW for his prompt action. He has signed the memorial and returned it to Mr Barrett [see AS to WW, 3 June 1863]: 'Poor Lucas Barrett's death was a national loss'. AS is feeling much better in health. However poor Hudson Gurney is nearly at the end of his journey.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS cannot conceive what Forbes is afraid of: 'He will have fair play here if anywhere in the world. But I hope the controversy will not take up our time' [Possibly concerning James D. Forbes's glacier controversy with John Tyndall and his reluctance to attend the BAAS meeting at Cambridge].

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS was supposed to have had lunch with Jenny Lind after 'seeing the lions; but she became so nervous from the pressure of the mob that she retired to the Hall and refuses to come out agin. I have shaken her by the hand and do not hope to see her again'. Lind was obliged to WW for showing her around the Lodge.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

'The post has brought me the enclosed [no longer attached]. I suppose we might give the usual College Testimonials. Unfortunately he left Huddersfield in consequence, I have been told, of some acts of intemperance. I believe, for many years past his conduct has been most exemplary'.

James David Forbes to William Whewell

Edinburgh - JDF is 'surprised with your astronomers [James Challis] speculations about the comet'. JDF is convinced it is a comet - especially since so many astronomers independently around Europe saw it more-or-less in the same orbit: 'But it is like Challis's old crotchet on the undulatory theory'. JDF is going to write up his European travels [Travels through the Alps of Savoy and other parts of the Pennine Chain with Observations on the Phenomena of Glaciers, 1843]. Adam Sedgwick expressed himself favourably to JDF regarding the glacier priority dispute between JDF and Louis Agassiz [see JDF to WW, 23 May 1842]. JDF thinks Hopkins [William Hopkins] comments may be interesting, but no more than the idea 'that the heat of the earth keeps the ice constantly detached from the sides and bottom except at the surface in winter'. All this will not move glaciers: 'it is essentially plastic and semi fluid, and this semifluidity is I am persuaded the main and almost the sole cause of its motion as I shall attempt to demonstrate in my book'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS cannot find the papers WW speaks of: 'I believe I left them in the drawer of my desk'. If they are not there he does not know where they can be.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

Due to severe gout AS is still a prisoner of his house: 'I am permitted to walk on crutches to my drawing room, and to sit on my sofa, with my right leg always in a horizontal position, during the greater part of the day'. AS has not been to Cornwall since 1836 and gives a brief account of all those he used to know there.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS trusts that WW will say a good word for Farrer who for three or four years has done so much good work in our Museum: 'He asks my interest in his behalf, and he wishes to succeed to Crouch's office in the Philosophical Society'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS is not feeling well: his ears are hurting and his eyes are dribbling a 'compound made up of salt and brimstone, while my nose is running like a church spout in a thunder storm! As for my voice I have none, and my brain is melting'. He therefore thinks there is little chance in him accepting Kate's [Kate Malcolm] kind invitation: 'I have been speaking of Kate, as if she were still that little happy thing she once was at Hyde Hall...So I must no longer speak of Chrysalis Kate'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS will be back sometime between the 15th and 20th. Could WW get Smith to publish a notice of his lectures in the usual way. 'During the last two months I have been toiling hard against the Snowdonian hills and have done some work which I will tell you of when we meet'.

Letter from George Airy

Royal Observatory Greenwich - GA acknowledges a letter WW recently sent concerning the Smith's Prize paper: 'As regards the paper and your comments on it, first I was glad to find that you think lightly of [William?] Hopkins's attempt to force in mathematics where [they?] have no business. In my opinion, Hopkins has done more to injure the credit of mathematics than any person that I know. This is the fault of the geologists (who would praise without attempting to understand), and I think, primarily the fault of Sedgwick.. In the next place , I was glad to see a question concerning the mathematical theory of waves. This is a subject which ought, I think, to be in some way brought into the curriculum of the university'. Although he has not yet settled the longitude of Valentia [see GA to WW, 2 Nov. 1844], 'I expect it will turn out an excellent work of its kind. We are much more puzzled in making the geodetic computations to compare with it (in large triangles upon a spheroid of assumed dimensions) than in the astronomical and chronometrical part: but after repeated trials I think we have managed to compute round the three sides of a triangle nearly or more than 100 miles each and to return within two or three feet to our starting point. This was to be the criterion of our method'. GA's paper on Irish tides is being printed. Similarly the printing of the Reduction of the Greenwich Planetary Observations 1750 to 1830 is finished. The reduction of the Greenwich Lunar Observations (1750 to 1830) is in the main finished: 'I am preparing to correct the elements of the Tables: and this I think upon the whole one of the greatest works that has ever been done in Astronomy'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS returns to WW 'the splendid work on Jerusalem. What does WW think of [Tennyson's?] articles and hypothesis on Jerusalem in the Dictionary of the Bible? - 'whatever the issue he has argued the case well'. AS is going to London to conduct an investigation 'into the mental state of my unhappy nephew'. AS is suffering from the effects of a cold.

Letter from William Daniel Conybeare

WDC is sorry that he wasted any of WW's time. He had thought both WW and Sedgwick had attributed to him an unfounded degree of ignorance which made him annoyed. WDC is now flattered with the attention WW has paid him over his query, which accept for 'some differences rather metaphysical than physical between us' has been settled. When he first made it he only had Faraday's papers before him and had forgot to look at 'earlier writers and see if they had not determined the law of the tangential electro magnetic force, which of course would give me the result I sought as to the Time of revolution by the simplest process'. Barlow [Peter Barlow?] has found the tangential force of galvanic particles on magnetic to be inversely as the squares of the distances and therefore the Times will be directly as the squares of the distances. WW corrects him on his notion of force; 'its strict definition as the cause of change of motion'. WDC accepts this as long as one agrees that motion exists in the first place: 'but here physics seems to me to pass into metaphysics and I cannot conceive but that, recurring to the origin of things a state of rest is more natural than a state of motion - Hence I have a lurking fancy to understand by force not only the cause of a change of existing motion but the original cause of the motion whatsoever...if a tangential force had not been impressed in them at their creation, they would all have huddled together in an heap'.

Richard Jones to William Whewell

RJ has shown the dedication and preface ['The History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Present Time ', 3 vols., 1837] to Drinky [Drinkwater?] who has made some remarks which RJ disagrees with: 'I do not think you have spoken too much of yourself in the preface and I like it much but look at Drinky's notes'. RJ was examined in front of a committee at the House of Commons yesterday. RJ has heard that Adam Sedgwick is to made the Bishop of Norwich.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW is sorry RJ has been ill. However, he is annoyed that RJ did not send his manuscript and get on with the printing of his book ['An Essay on the Distribution of Wealth, and on the Sources of Taxation: Part 1. - Rent', 1831]. RJ should think about coming to hear Adam Sedgwick's lectures - 'the first 3 days of each week at 1 o'clock'.

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