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Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington


Passa Quatro
1912 Oct 7

My very dear Mother

We are getting near to the eclipse time now and our preparations are practically complete today. Nothing much remains but rehearsals & practices before the eclipse takes place. We have got two volunteers {1}, who are just the kind we wanted, young fellows whom we met and got to know on board the Arlanza. One of them Aguirre has been three years in England learning engineering and he is a great help; the other Andrews is of an English family but was born in Brazil and speaks rather broken English. The Brazilian government pays all their (and our) expenses here. They arrived here last Thursday {2}.

We are a very large party here now as there are four expeditions with their volunteer assistants and so on. We all have déjeuner together at the station and dinner at the hotel. Some of the later arrivals sleep out in other houses.

We are having a very pleasant time here though there is plenty of work to do. We (ie the Greenwich party) make tea at the camp every afternoon on a wood fire; and we have a great deal of fun. Yesterday (Sunday) we took a half-holiday (for the first time) and had a beautiful walk. We did not get very far as there was so much to stop and see. Aguirre was a good guide and able to tell us what the plants were. The bamboos growing in clumps are very graceful. The banana trees (in flower now) look very ragged and ugly. The castor oil plants and wild pineapples (not edible) are very abundant. The ants are very interesting here; the white ants’ nests being often taller than a man. We are not much troubled with insects and have seen no mosquitoes. We had coffee in the afternoon at a little wayside shop; it was quite an amusing experience.

Last night there was a cinematograph performance and nearly 20 of us went to it (the Brazilian government paying for us!!) The performance was not very interesting, but the village audience was decidedly so.

You would be amused to see us all riding down to the Fazenda (eclipse camp) on an engine. There were about 20 of us today clinging on in various places—the cow-catcher is the best seat.

I do not expect to reach England until Nov 9 and have given up thoughts of the earlier boat. I was very glad to have your letter of Sept 11.

The rooms at the hotel are very bare of furniture. I am writing this at the camp as there is practically no opportunity at the hotel. Dinner occupies most of the evening lasting from 7 to 9. It is a terribly complicated affair of about 12 courses, chiefly meats of various kinds.

We have had a few wet days last week but yesterday and today have been beautiful days.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son


Letter-head of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Numbered ‘7’ at the head in pencil.

{1} Olyntho Couto de Aguirre and Leslie Andrews. See the Report in MNRAS, lxxiii, 386.

{2} 3rd.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington


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


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


The “Portugal”
Easter Sunday | April 20.

My very dear Mother

We are now in the Gulf of Guinea about 700 miles from Principe and I expect that we shall be there fairly early on Wednesday morning. The whole journey is about 4700 miles—1000 miles to Lisbon, 530 to Madeira, 1040 on to St Vincent and 2100 to Principe.

We reached St Vincent about 5 p.m on April 13, but did not go ashore that evening. We went on shore about the next day and came back in time for breakfast at 11. Three hours was quite long enough as there is nothing to see. There is scarcely a tree or a blade of grass on the island—all parched brown soil, and the town is very small. We filled up some time by going to the cable-station—the second largest in the world—They have very comfortable quarters there. We left St Vincent in the afternoon, and reached Praīa the capital of the Cape Verde Islands, situated on the island of S. Thiago the next morning. We only stayed there four hours, and did not go ashore. It looked very uninteresting and the island was almost as barren as S. Vincent.

Since reaching S. Vincent the weather has been damp, and rather misty though there is always hot sunshine. The temperature in the shade is 84 now, and it is generally over 80; the dampness makes it seem rather oppressive and it gets very close in the cabin—especially between 5 and 7∙a.m. when the porthole is closed whilst they wash the decks. Curiously enough I have been sleeping extremely well on this ship—I slept rather badly on the Anselm and at Madeira, but from the first night on board I have had extraordinarily good nights for me, and they still continue in spite of the oppressive heat.

Three of the English passengers left at S. Vincent, going to the cable station. One of them was a very nice fellow but we saw very little of him till the last day as he was a bad sailor. The other two were rather queer fish. There are now three English passengers besides ourselves—the sugar-refiner, the missionary and another Englishman who joined at St. Vincent. I thought at one time the sugar-refiner & the missionary were going to make a match of it, but I dont think there is anything in it now. There is one Portuguese Officer (in the army—not ship’s officer) who speaks English well and we see a lot of him. The Purser speaks a little English and is very pleasant.

The Portuguese were having some round games and tricks one evening which were quite amusing to watch. They were having the old trick of saying “botas sem sapotas”—“boots without shoes”, which was very funny as scarcely any knew it and they were all trying it at once. On Good Friday they had very good sports in which we joined—cock-fighting, egg and spoon races, threading the needle, and for the ladies a potatoe† race. Last night there was some function in the saloon; I have only the vaguest idea, what the speeches were about or what was the occasion, but I suddenly found that I had got to make a speech on behalf of the English passengers, which was translated sentence by sentence into Portuguese by the Portuguese Officer.

They give us ices now at tea time—or rather sorbets like we used to have on the Avon—but at that time it is the tea that is most appreciated. The food is not very attractive to our English tastes.

I do not know anything of what has been happening in the world generally since I left England. I have seen a Times for March 31, but that is the only newspaper I have seen except for the local Madeira paper which contained no general news. I have spent a bit of time learning Portuguese. I can read it pretty easily now, but I have scarcely begun to understand people speaking; it is very difficult to catch the sounds.

I expect the garden will have begun to look pretty now, and the May term will soon be beginning. I hope all goes well.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son


Numbered ‘6th’ at the head. Four passages have been marked off in pencil, and in one case emended, by a later hand.

† Sic.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Winifred Eddington


Roça Sundy | Principe
May 5.

My dear Winifred

We are pretty well advanced in our work of erection and are taking a holiday today so I may as well start a letter to you. It seems ages since I started off in a rush in the taxi from the Observatory, and as I have only got Mother’s letter of March 14 as yet I do not know what has been happening to you for a long while—indeed I do not know what has been happening in the world in general—whether peace has been signed or any important events have occurred. I hope Punch is well and getting some walks, wish him many happy returns of his birthday from me; I expect you will not get this much before that event.

It was awfully nice having nearly four weeks in Madeira. I do not think the delay made much difference to us; if we could have gone on at once and reached here a month earlier we could have got some check photographs, though it would have been a rush getting the instruments ready in time. Failing that, there was not much object in arriving here earlier; and as things here have been managed very expeditiously, we are now making time for a week.

Cottingham & I get along very well, and I find him a very useful companion and good company. He is just 50, so, of course, is not fond of very much exercise, and generally preferred pottering round in Madeira and talking to the people; so I sometimes went off alone. For our last ten days I was very glad to find a more active companion in Geoffrey Turner, a very jolly boy keen on butterflies, on swimming and on chess, so we had several common interests.

I expect Mother sends on my letters to some of our relatives, so I did not mention in them, that I played roulette, of course not seriously, but enough to get a good idea of it and experience the ups and downs of fortune. I lost, like almost everyone else does, chiefly at the beginning, and then had pretty even fortune. I was about a £1 down, when I stopped; but I could not grudge it them, as it lasted for a number of afternoons’ play, to say nothing of the fact that I used the grounds of the Casino and had a very good & cheap tea there most afternoons during my stay.

It was a good thing to have some time at Madeira, because one got accustomed to hot weather. Out here the thermometer keeps steady at about 80° day and night; but one scarcely realises it is so hot. The evenings feel quite cool and refreshing. We have to wear sun-helmets out of doors almost always.

The ‘Portugal’ was a fairly good boat; but there were no games or facilities for exercise like on most boats, and (what surprised me very much) no deck-chairs for hire. Apparently they expected people to bring their own chairs. The time seemed to pass rather slowly, and even I was glad when we came to the end of the voyage. Of course the English and Portuguese did not mix very much; but we played games with them sometimes, and I think were quite popular on that account because the English usually keep aloof. We had “rings on the string” and “musical chairs” one afternoon.

The Portuguese here are a very superior type to those we have met before—in particular, they do not spit about all the time, and suck toothpicks at meals. Mr Carneiro is I believe very wealthy; he was going to Lisbon early this month, but postponed going especially in order to entertain us. No one speaks more than a few words of English except the two negroes Lewis & Wright, and in S. Antonio conversation is fragmentary because our friends there do not know French either. But here Mr Atalia and I plunge recklessly into very bad French, and can talk freely. Cottingham does not speak any French.

I wonder if you are still rationed. It seemed funny on the boat at starting to see full sugar-basins, unlimited butter, and to eat in a day about as much meat as would have been a week’s ration. We have had no scarcity of anything since we started. I have, however, scarcely tasted ham or bacon (eggs have been plentiful). The milk was not good on the Portugal, and I have got into the habit of taking tea without milk, which is the usual Portuguese custom & is probably better in hot climates. I cannot get any swimming here, because of the sharks.

There are several dogs about here, one of them rather a nice terrier; but for the most part they are not up to much. Nipper the dog at the hotel attached himself to me very much and followed me almost everywhere, although I did not encourage him at all, as he was neither beautiful nor free from fleas. He used to like to come and spend hours hunting lizards whilst we bathed.

It gets dark here about 6 o’clock, and as one does not sit much inside the house, one does not want to stay up long. I am usually quite ready for bed by half-past eight!

Please give my kind regards to Mr Green. I hope he is getting on alright. I think I shall be back home not much later than the middle of July.

With much love from
your affectionate brother

[Added at the head:] [I send {1} a letter to mother a few days ago which will probably arrive by same mail. This letter assumes you have read hers.] {2}


Three passages have been marked off in pencil by a later hand.

{1} A slip for ‘sent’.

{2} The square brackets are in the MS.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington


S.S. “Zaire”
1919 June 21

My very dear Mother

I will write a little to tell you about the rest of my experiences in Principe; but it is doubtful if you will receive this before I arrive. I have only had two letters from you—the second written about March 28 reached me about May 11. Since then there have been no mails from Europe, and in fact we expect to pass tomorrow (at S. Vincent) the outward boat which will be taking the next batch of letters to Principe.

We stayed just a week at Sundy on our first visit, then returned to S. Antonio for a week, and finally returned to Sundy on May 13 and stayed there until our steamer sailed on June 12. Nothing much happened during the week at S. Antonio except that most afternoons we played tennis, generally with the Curador and Judge.

We were ready to take the first photographs about May 16, and as the nights were generally clear we had no difficulty in getting the check photographs. These had to be taken between 12∙30 and 1 a.m; we took them on three different nights. The developing also had to be done at night and, owing to the special difficulties due to the high temperature of the water (78°), was a slow business. So we were often up pretty late during this period. In the day time I had a good deal of work measuring these check photographs.

The last heavy rain fell about May 9 and shortly afterwards the Gravana or cool season began. There was practically no rain, but a good deal of cloud in the day-time, and the conditions seemed rather less favourable for the eclipse than during the rainy season. However there were a number of beautifully clear days, and usually at least part of the day was clear. The two days before the eclipse were about the most unfavourable we had.

On the morning of the eclipse Mr Carneiro, the Curador, Judge, Mr Wright and three Doctors came over. Just as they arrived a tremendous rain-storm came on, the heaviest we have seen. It was most unusual at that time of the year; but it was favourable for the eclipse as it helped to clear the sky. The rain stopped about no[o]n (the eclipse was at 2∙15). There were a few gleams of sunshine after the rain, but it soon clouded over again. About 1∙30 when the partial phase was well advanced, we began to get glimpses of the sun, at 1∙55 we could see the crescent (through cloud) almost continuously, and there were large patches of clear sky appearing. We had to carry out our programme of photographs in faith. I did not see the eclipse, being too busy changing plates, except for one glance to make sure it had begun, and another half-way through to see how much cloud there was. We took 16 photographs (of which 4 are not yet developed). They are all good pictures of the sun, showing a very remarkable prominence; but the cloud has interfered very much with the star-images. The first 10 photographs show practically no stars. The last 6 show a few images which I hope will give us what we need; but it is very disappointing. Everything shows that our arrangements were quite satisfactory, and with a little clearer weather we should have got splendid results. Ten minutes after the eclipse the sky was beautifully clear, but it soon clouded again.

We developed the photographs 2 each night for 6 nights after the eclipse, and I spent the whole day measuring. The cloudy weather upset my plans and I had to treat the measures in a different way from what I had intended; consequently I have not been able to make any preliminary announcements of the result. But the one good plate that I measured gave a result agreeing with Einstein and I think I have got a little confirmation from a second plate.

We had a number of excursions to different places on the island chiefly on Sundays. We had a monkey-hunting expedition, but did not see any except in the distance. We were singularly unfortunate in not seeing monkeys because there are enormous crowds of them about and numbers of men are employed simply in scaring them away from the cocoa. Another interesting expedition was to Lola, a dependency of Sundy where there was a specially fine crop of cocoa. It was a very fine sight to see the large golden pods in such numbers—almost as though the forest had been hung with Chinese lanterns.

Another day we went to Lapa in the estate of the Sociedade Agricultura Colonial and had lunch on the beach off fish which we watched being caught. Lapa is a very beautiful spot at the foot of a fine sugar-loaf mountain. All the beaches are very pretty—a strip of golden sand between the cocoanut palms and the blue sea. I had a good bathe at Lapa—the only time in Principe,—a black man went with me to see that I did not go too near the sharks.

Another time we went to near Bombom to see the ruins of the palace of Marie Corelli (that was not quite her name, but it was something very near it). She was a famous slave dealer about ninety years ago. Her palace on the beach is all in ruins but it must have been a huge place. Her church is there also—quite a fine ruin.

We liked Mr Atalia immensely. He was very lively and amusing and extremely good to us in every way. After dinner we used to sit out in front of the house and there was generally a succession of natives came up to interview him on all sorts of matters. They evidently have great respect and confidence in him.

We had to return by this boat the “Zaire” (although it was rather earlier than I liked) because there will not be another boat leaving Principe until about August 1. There has been a dispute between the company and the government about passage rates, and no boats have left Lisbon for a long while. This boat is tremendously crowded and we should not have got a passage on it; but for the help of the Governor who managed to get places commandeered for us.

I got a bit of fever two days before starting (otherwise I have had splendid health all the time) and was feeling rather bad when I got on board but the sea-air has soon set me right again. It left me a bit weak for the first three or four days—in fact I fainted one night—but it has quite gone now.

Mr. Carneiro is on the ship—returning to Portugal for three months. There are also 4 English missionaries from Angola. They knew about us from Mrs Williams the missionary we met on the Portugal. One of them Mrs Stober is a friend (a Williamson of Cockermouth) related to John Hall. Her husband (who is not a Friend) is a very nice fellow; he was the founder of the mission.

It has been a little rougher this voyage than when we came out; but nothing to speak of. Of course, a lot of passengers have been ill; it is very bad for them being so crowded on the boat. There are lots of children and in some cabins there are as many as seven people. There are three in our cabin—a Portuguese and Cottingham & myself.

We reached Praia last night after 8¼ days from Principe. This is a slow boat and I do not expect we shall reach Lisbon until June 30.

We were very delighted to receive a telegram from Dyson saying that the Brazil party had been successful; we often wondered how they were getting on.

I suppose I shall be back about July 10. I shall look forward to the strawberries, which are better than anything they have in the tropics.

With very dear love to both
Your affectionate son

Lisbon, July 2. I expect we shall reach Liverpool about July 15 by R.M.S.P. Line. Ships very crowded and scarce.


The postscript was written in pencil. Two passages have been marked off in pencil by a later hand.

Paper by F. W. Lawrence entitled ‘Gambling’; revised version, read before the Oxford Livingstone Society in June 1896



In prefacing the few remarks that I have to make upon gambling I should like to excuse myself for the egotistical line I have taken up. My excuse must be that gambling is so essentially a subject upon which each one must form an opinion of his own, that in dealing with the matter, I have thought it best to speak for myself & myself alone.

I do not pretend to any deep knowledge of the subject & my aim would be to give rise to fruitful discussion, rather than to deliver a didactic discourse.

It seems to me that there are two questions raised, the first is, “Is gambling foolish? The second is “Is gambling immoral?” These two questions I believe to be almost entirely distinct & I shall therefore make an attempt to treat of them quite separately. In the first place then[,] Is Gambling foolish?

Now gambling is of two kinds which we may call fair gambling, & unfair gambling. In the first all persons taking part have an equal chance, & consequently it is only pure luck (which may be combined with more or less skill) which renders one man a winner and another a loser. Of this kind is gambling at cards or betting on horses between men of equal standing. In unfair gambling one or more of those concerned is allowed an extra chance to pay him or them for the trouble & expense of keeping up the table or whatever is necessary for the game. Of this kind may be cited gambling at Monte Carlo or betting with a Bookmaker; & examples might be multiplied without end.

As one example of the former case let us take a man of fairly large means playing for small points (which are to him a mere bagatelle) at such games as whist or Nap. Here no question (as far as he is concerned) save that of a very slight increase or diminution in his income is at stake, & if he is of about equal intellectual ability to those with whom he plays, in the long run he will be about level; if he is more scientific he will very likely gain a little; while if the others are sharper than he is, he will no doubt lose a trifle; but even on this last supposition, we can hardly blame him (on our present point of worldly foolishness) if he considers that the added enjoyment he obtains from the game, is quite worth the trifling expenditure that it costs him.

But the question becomes entirely different as the value of the stake increases & approaches the man’s own means. To take an extreme case: Suppose a man whose total wealth is £100 to enter upon an even bet (or gambling transaction) of £100. Though the gamble is apparently a fair one, will he really gain as much if he wins as he will lose if he is obliged to pay? Though I can conceive of cases to the contrary, I should say emphatically no in general. A man pos[s]essing £200 is so to speak more well to do than the man who has only £100; but both are closely allied to one another compared with the man who has not a penny in the world. But the stake need not be exactly equal in amount to the man’s total pos[s]ession, if it [is] slightly less, we have only to contrast, say, the position of the man with 180, 100 or 20£ to see the truth of the statement; while if the man has to borrow to pay if he loses, the propn is still more evident. {1}

I said however that I could conceive of cases to the contrary. I will endeavour to illustrate them. Suppose a man having £200 ready money owes his creditors £300. An even bet of £200 is offered him. Then whether he refuses to bet, – or bets & loses – he still will be a bankrupt, the only difference being that in the one case he will pay his creditors 13/4 in the pound & in the other case 0; while if he bets & wins, he will clear off all his debts & have a 100 in hand. Clearly then from a worldly point of view he does wisely in taking the bet. {2}

Or again suppose a man to have some special object for his money, failing which it will be of little use to him; suppose say he wants £400 for the special object & has only £200 at his command, it may be worth his while to risk losing all by gambling on an even 200.

So far we have been considering what I have called fair gambling. When we come to unfair gambling it may be worth while to cast a glance at what is popularly known as the ‘mounting up’ of chances. This is illustrated in a great many ways; take for example a game at Lawn Tennis between two nearly equal players. The chance that the one, who is slightly the better of the two, will win any particular stroke, is not very much greater than even, & in fact he will only win a few more strokes than the other in the long run; yet his proportion of games will be very much larger & he will probably win nearly every set. This kind of thing is especially applicable to what I have called unfair gambling. To take a very simple case. A man offers to toss you a penny 200 times, & every time it comes down heads, he will give a penny to you. The fair price for the 200 tosses is evidently 100d but for his trouble etc he asks 5d extra, or 105d altogether; even supposing him to toss fairly it may be shown that the chance is more than 4 to 1 that you will lose.

In such a way as this the profit of the Bookmaker or sharp, is assured, even if he play fair, while the dupe who loses money has no one but himself to blame.

To sum up then: gambling in general as people go in for it, is essentially foolish, but exceptional cases arise in the following; 1st where a man is only staking what to him is an insignificant sum, & considers that even a certain small loss is worth the pleasure it affords him, & 2ndly where a man wishes to reach up to a certain sum below which his money is of no use to him.

[There is a space here in the MS.]

I hope I shall be pardoned for having thus dealt as† some length with what may be called the secular or worldly view of the case. No doubt the positions which I have set forth & the opinions which I have expressed are well known to all & accord more or less closely with their own views on the case, but I have thought it necessary to state them at the outset in order that there might be no confusion as to the issue, between the foolishness of gambling & the question of its morality.

I think I may claim to have established more or less definitely that gambling is in general foolish, but not by any means always so. I now turn to the second question:— Is gambling always immoral.

Seeing the great devastation caused by gambling, the homes that it has ruined, the characters it has wrecked, an attempt has often been made to lay down general principles upon which gambling may be condemned.

I am afraid good people are often so eager to do this, that they introduce by special pleading, new principles for the purpose,—principles which if really sound would condemn a great many other things beside g[ambling], but which often in reality are themselves hopelessly untrue.

With this in mind I have endeavoured to take a brief for the gambler as against the objections which are often set forth, & having thus to my own satisfaction demolished them where futile, I have tried to place on firm ground accusations against him, not without fear that some persons more ingenious than myself will be able to sweep these also away.

Thus it has been suggested as an objection to gambling that money does not belong to the possessor but is his only in trust; that it is not his to spend as he will, or to throw away at will. A man may make answer, do you consider the indulgence in any luxury immoral? G[ambling] is my luxury; if I spend £50 a year on g[ambling]; you spend £50 a year more than I do upon your clothes & your meals your amusements & your luxuries; you cannot call me immoral & not yourself because I spend my money upon what amuses me, & would not amuse you, & you spend it upon what pleases you but would not please me. Moreover you use your money in such a way as to take up the time of the world’s workers for your selfish convenience; my money is merely handed on to some one else who will no doubt make as good use of it as I should have done.

Or do we suggest that the wrong consists in rich men to whom the stake is as nothing playing with (& may-be taking money from) those who can ill afford to lose it. Many a man may make answer ‘Though I know this is an existing evil, yet for my own part I never play for stakes with anyone unless I feel sure he can afford to pay them.

Do we suggest that gambling is immoral because men waste their time upon it which should have been devoted to other things, answer may be made, that this is by no means always the case, & in addition the same objection may be raised against other games & pastimes; yet surely no one would venture to suggest that say cricket was in general immoral for the same reason.

Do we suggest that gambling is immoral because the object of the gambler is to “score off” someone else & take money from him without having done any work for which it is a payment. (This is substantially the line of argument which Dr Martineau takes up, in a letter on the subject which was kindly lent to me by a friend; & he adds that the destruction of character caused by attempting to satisfy this desire of the gambler is the root of the evil of gambling.) {3}

To this the man whom we may call the moral gambler makes answer: If it is the scoring off some one else in the abstract you object to, is that not the object of every game that is played; but if it is the taking of money from him that you consider wrong; how about the great majority of commercial transactions; it is impossible for the buyer or seller to consider exactly whether he is only making just a fair profit; & yet you would not call him in general immoral. But in the case of gambling the loser does it with his eyes open. I may surely make a present to a friend of £50, or he may make a similar one to me, there can be nothing wrong in that; yet if I like to suggest to him that one or other of us shall make a present to the other under certain conditions you call that immoral.

I am not quite sure how far this answer is satisfactory. It has been made by separating from one another the 2 clauses which form part of the indictment. It may be true that there is nothing wrong about wishing to beat another man, & nothing wrong in taking money from him according to contract under his good pleasure; & yet at the same time it may be wrong to desire so to beat him as to take money from him. I do not feel quite competent to decide this question. And while some may regard it as the crux of the whole matter, I prefer to consider the question from other aspects.

I have attempted so far to exhaust all the strictly a priori arguments against gambling, & with the exception of the doubtful case of the last argument, so far as I can see, none of them have remained unanswered; & tho’ no doubt a great many gamblers would be convicted on one or other of the charges, there will still be a large body of what we may call ‘petty gamblers’ who will consider perhaps justly that they remain uncondemned.

Before coming to another point of view, we may sum up the results at which we have arrived in one test case. Suppose there was an isolated society in which petty gambling took place, ie gambling in which the sums staked were always so small there was never any chance of the real income of any individual being seriously affected, & suppose that a guarantee existed that these limits never would or could be surpassed. Would you be prepared to condemn them?

It is a question it seems to me upon which there might well be a difference of opinion, but for my own part taking up the line which I have endeavoured to put forward, I should be unwilling to pass a condemnation.

This is no doubt the position which would be claimed by those in the midst of our universities, who habitually play with their friends such games as whist for 3d points & Nap for ½d points. They would claim that they practically fulfilled the conditions of the test case. But it is a position which I for one would deny to them.

And now I come to the grounds upon which I would be prepared to take my own stand; & in doing so I hope I shall not meet with the fate of Herodotus, who in discussing the cause of the rise of the Nile in summer first demolishes all the really reasonable suggestions which had been put forward, & then proceeds to give his own explanation the only one which is hopelessly absurd. {4]

My position then is briefly as follows. We do not live to ourselves alone; & though it is impossible for us in every individual action to weigh thoroughly the effect it may have as an example to others, in addition to all the other results; yet in the case of a continued line of action, this task is quite possible, & it is incumbent upon us to perform it.

I propose therefore to consider whether gambling is to be condemned on the ground of example & ulterior results, ie as some people have said on ‘a posteriori grounds.

In order to do this I have taken the position in an analogous case & endeavoured to classify the various opinions which may be held on it. This problem is the drink question. I am particularly anxious that in so doing I should not divert the discussion of gambling to this very vexed subject. And I have accordingly not even hinted at the conclusion at which I arrive on the latter. But I think it is often very useful to transfer our problems to analogous questions, because not only does it give us considerable light on those subjects which we are discussing, but often it enables us to understand the position of those who differ from us in one subject, by comparing their view in it, with that which we ourselves hold in some analogous subject.

As far as I can judge there are roughly 5 main different positions which may be taken up on the question of drinking.

1st That all drinking of alcoholic liquors is bad (except perhaps medicinally) & that in consequence as soon as men can overcome their lust for it & give up the better.

2nd That drinking them as a beverage is never good, but may not do harm unless carried to excess; nevertheless even those who drink in moderation, should give it up seeing they gain no actual good from it in order that they may set a good example to others.

3rd That drinking may be beneficial to some in moderation; but even so it is better for all to give it up; in order that they may not be a stumbling block to others.

4th that if a man enjoys drinking & it does him no harm, he is not bound to consider the effect on others.

5th that a moderate amount of drink is actually beneficial to a large number of people, & that they should not therefore in the majority of cases give it up; because it causes evil when carried to excess; any more than we should give up the use of fire, because it often does great damage.

These views differ some in the statement of the facts of the case, others in the opinions derived from them. I have set them down, not to argue on them, but to compare them with the views on gambling.

All these views may be held on gambling & as a matter of fact on any great question of the day.

Our final judgment upon gambling will depend upon which of the 5 positions we are prepared to take up with regard to it; & as time presses I will not further delay the discussion by argueing† them out in detail; but I will only add that for my own part I take up with regard to gambling what I have denoted as the 2nd point of view viz that it is never beneficial, but may not do harm in a great many cases; nevertheless even in these cases it should be given up in order that a bad example may not be set to others, who carrying it out in a different way turn it into an absolute evil.

Accordingly I would maintain that gambling is absolutely immoral even to the extent of 3d points at whist or ½d points at Nap. {5}

In mitigation of this I may point out that as morality is to a certain extent relative, extremely anomalous cases might occur in which it might be justified not only as not immoral but even as just & right.

And further I merely set forth my own position on a case which everyone must consider for himself.

I should like to add one remark as a kind of footnote.

There is a specific case which is often quoted as though it stood or fell with gambling. It is the case of Insurance companies.

Now in the first place, judging gambling as I have endeavoured to do, on a posteriori grounds, it would not be special pleading to maintain that Insurance Cos being obviously good did not stand condemned with gambling.

But I would contend that Insurance Cos are not gambling at all, but rather the reverse of it.

All life must inevitably be more or less a game of chance played with varying amounts of skill against nature. The man who insures is to a large extent destroying the chance element in nature so far as he is concerned.

And the Insurance Co are not gambling 1st because their gain is not another’s lost†, & 2nd because they are merely filling the position of the risk takers. A position which must be filled by some [one.]


The conclusion of the paper is wanting, but it seems likely that not very much is missing, possibly only the word supplied. The wrapper is marked ‘Gambling | Revised to read before Oxford Livingstone Society June 1896’. The Livingstone Society at Oxford was connected with Mansfield College, which was at that time a mainly Congregationalist institution not fully incorporated in the University. The Society’s minute books for the period from 1893 to 1930 are preserved at the college.

{1} Below this is written ‘1/10 – 1/10’ and on the facing page (i.e. the back of the preceding sheet) ‘A man twice bets a 1/10 of his income.’ The meaning of these rough notes is not clear.

{2} The following rough note is inserted here: ‘Known as the aphorism “A debtor always plunges”’.

{3} The reference is probably to the letter quoted in James Drummond and C. B. Upton, The Life and Letters of James Martineau (1902), ii. 174–5, as follows:

‘Gambling, I suppose, has its inner source in the competitive passion, or love of superiority, with the addition, distinguishing it from chess or cricket, of the love of gain. The former is irreproachable, where both parties wish to settle their relations by a trial of skill. The latter is always mean and base, where the gain to oneself is simply loss to another. The consent of that other, no doubt, distinguishes the act from thieving; but when you remember that he would not have consented, except in the hope of making you the loser, the whole bargain assumes an ignoble character. Then in the rational estimate of consequences the practice of gambling surely has no less demerit. The moment the simple excitement of competition of skill becomes insufficient without the money stake, the taint of moral character, the contented gain at others' expense, has set in ; and that the stake is 2d, instead of £20 makes no more moral difference than there is between a theft of 2d, and a theft of £20. The mischiefs, of course, increase enormously with high play. But the immorality does not wait to begin with the swollen amount, so as to be a mere question of degree. There are many cases of morals, no doubt, where the division between right and wrong lies somewhere along a line of degree,—e. g. in the ethics of appetite. But this is always where the primitive impulse has itself a blameless beginning and defined function, beyond which excess sets in and runs into ever deeper guilt. In gambling the initial principle—gain by another's loss—is vicious and vitiating.’

A footnote records that ‘The printed copy of this letter which has been placed in my [i.e. Drummond’s] hands contains no indication of time or occasion when it was written, except that it seems to belong to the year 1891, and was composed in reply to a question addressed to him.’

{4} Herodotus, Book II, § 28.

{5} Inserted here is this rough note: ‘(& I would point out that the case of petty gambling in the U[niversity] is not the test case cited above 1st because they are not an isolated com[munity] & 2nd after effect’.

† Sic.

Script of a talk recorded by Lord Pethick-Lawrence for the BBC on 14 Sept. 1954

(Carbon copy. Date of recording, etc., taken from 5/120a.)



I made the acquaintance of Gandhi long before he was a world figure. In the early years of the century he became interested in the British Suffragette movement and came to lunch with my wife and myself in our London flat. He told us about his non-violent resistance campaign in South Africa. We found that we had much in common, not least in his doctrine that a willingness to endure suffering was a surer way to win political reform than to inflict it upon others.

The bond of friendship thus formed remained unbroken throughout the many vicissitudes of our political relationship. Even when I was most in disagreement with him I never doubted his sincerity and singlemindedness and I am confident that he never doubted mine.

I had many talks at different times with Gandhi—in India in 1926 when his resistance movement was at its height, in London in 1931 when we sat together on the Round Table Conference and during the many months when as Secretary of State I was in India with the British Cabinet Mission discussing daily with him and other leading Indian Statesmen the future governance of their land.

I have sometimes heard it said that Gandhi had an animosity against this country, and that particularly in the later part of his life he tried to do harm to Britain and her Empire. This is quite untrue. Gandhi had no such feelings or designs. Throughout his life he carried with him friendly memories of the time he spent in England as a young man and of the English friends he made then and on other visits.

What distressed Gandhi was imperialism as he saw it expressed in the attitude of the British Government towards India. He believed passionately that this was soul-destroying not only to his own countrymen but to the nobler instincts for freedom inherent in the British people. It was against this that he formulated his battle cry of “Quit India” which he was careful to explain did not mean expulsion from India of men and women of British race but the end of British rule. And it was because the word Dominion smacked to him of Domination that he rejected the offer of Dominion Status.

I never discussed with him the precise form of relationship between India and the British Commonwealth which would be most acceptable to him after India obtained her independent status and in fact he died before the matter came to be decided at a Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers. But I have no reason to think that he would have disagreed with the attitude taken up by Pandit Nehru which was accepted there.

I did not find Gandhiji a very easy person with whom to negotiate a political settlement. Where he considered a matter of principle was at stake he was very unwilling to make concessions. Even when in verbal discussion he appeared to have conceded a point I frequently discovered afterwards that his interpretation of our talk was not the same as mine. Some little word or phrase he had used which seemed unimportant at the time, I found later rendered the concession nugatory.

On the other hand Gandhi was often most generous in attributing good motives to those who differed from him. Another of his endearing qualities was his unbounded faith in the possibilities of ordinary men and women. There was no height of nobility or sacrifice which he would hesitate to demand from them. And it was wonderful how often they responded to his faith in them.

But this too had its dangerous side for he did not always seem to me to realise that Governments in the exercise of their responsibilities must sometimes use compulsory powers to restrain wrongdoers from doing harm to others.

Gandhi was known as a Mahatma on account of his ascetic life and his great spiritual faith which he drew from Hindu, Christian, Moslem and other religious sources. He was a great man too in the mundane sense because he won the allegiance of tens of millions of his fellow men and women and was rightly accounted one of the architects of Indian independence. I treasure his memory not only for these qualities but as that of a firm personal friend during the major part of a long life.

List of requirements and recommendations for a tour in Greece, compiled by E. D. Clarke


1. A servant (not an Englishman) who understands cooking.

2. A bed w[hic]h shuts up into a portmanteau—canteens, every article in w[hic]h ought to be made of metal; as glass & earthenware cannot be purchased in Greece.

3. Take your clothes &c in portmanteaus, not in trunks, as the former are more easily packed on the backs of horses, & are not so easily broken as the latter.

4. A small medicine chest. Take particularly James’s powder & Bark both of w[hic]h saved my life. You cannot have too much bark with you, as what you procure in the Levant is very bad; & you will be perpetually asked for it by the Greeks.

5. Flannel—w[hic]h is not to be procured in Greece, & in case of illness is very important.

6. I sh[oul]d recommend a tent. It is not indispensable; but it is better than bivouacing, or sleeping in the dirty cottages of the country. With a bed, tent & cooking apparatus, you may defy the filth of the Grecian Khans & houses w[hic]h is not inconsiderable.

7. A military cloth cloak, water-proof & made so as to cover you completely while lying down.

8. As the winters are very short you will want very few woollen clothes—take plenty of nankeen & other thin dresses.

9. Lay in a good stock of tea either at Malta or Gilbraltar. In Greece it is very scarce & bad; & after fatigue or during illness it is most valuable. Coffee you will get every where. If you have plenty of room in your baggage a cargo of portable soup you will find very often of service.

10 Do not omit to take an umbrella—not for protection against rain, but against the sun.

11. Begin your days journey before sun rise—& lie by during the heat of the day. Avoid the evening dews & in every thing conform to the customs & advice of the natives

11. Take a Thermometer—a long tape line divided into feet & inches for the measurement of buildings—a foot rule—a compass—knives—pencils—with powder—telescope—pistols—a sword &c &c. If you have not use for all these things you will find them very acceptable presents to the natives when you wish to oblige any one.

12. Arrowsmiths large map of Constantinople & its environs. It is in general very correct though deficient in names. In going from place to place mark carefully the number of hours it takes you to perform the stage—& the name of every village & town, or the road, omitted by Arrowsmith. Such an itinerary through Greece wd be very valuable—By your compass mark particularly the course of the famous rivers.

13. D’Anvilles maps of antient Geography w[hic]h will be invaluable to you in a tour through Greece. He is sometimes wrong in the position he assigns to antient towns & you will be able to correct him.

14 Voyage de jeune Anacharsis. The edition in 3 large 8vo Vols with maps & plans I found very useful. Take also Chandler’s travels

15 I sh[oul]d take a Hist. of Greece—perhaps Gellius is best for a tour—& a good selection of Greek Authors—Homer—Strabo & Pausanias are quite necessary. You will read in the verses of the former, descriptions of manners w[hic]h are not yet extinct amongst the Greeks & I particularly request you to notice all the domestic arrangements, or religious ceremonies of the modern Greeks. I received a great deal of amusement from that research & generally found the prototype in the antient poets. It is surprising how little they have changed in many respects.

16. Villoison in the preface to his Homer says that in a mountainous district between Epidaurus & Nauplia in the Peloponnesus, dwell {1} the Tzacones, descended from the Spartans, who retain the antient form of expression more than any of the Greeks. This will be a very curious subject to investigate if you have an opportunity

17. If you go to Yanina there are several objects of research in the neighbourhood. At a small distance are the ruins of a theatre w[hic]h is supposed to be on the scite of the antient Cassiope†. It is one of the finest in Greece. Make a tour from Yannia to Suli. In that neighbourhood is the district in w[hic]h the antients placed the descent to the Infernal regions. Two rivers flow near Suli supposed to be Cocytus & Acheron. Trace them to the sea & observe whether they do not first fall into a marsh or lake, the Acherusia palus, according to the description of Thucydides B. I. The whole tract of country near Suli is well worth seeing independent of its classical interest as its features are of a very grand & sublime cast. To the N. of Yanina the ruins of Dodona at the distance of some days journey are still visible as I was informed by a Greek of information Athanas Balidar {1} with w[ho]m you will become acquainted at Yanina

18. Visit the vale of Tempe w[hic]h is very beautiful—Ælian’s description (in his Var. Hist.) you will find very accurate[.]. Visit Caterina a place under Olympus to the N. of Tempe. There are in it I was informed marbles & inscriptions w[hic]h may perhaps be important. Ascertain if possible the height of Olympus & the other great mountains as Parnassus & Pindus.

Alisson {1} to the N. of the Peneus you may visit & try to make out the inscriptions there w[hic]h are much defaced. At Thermopylæ trace the pass. You will find the warm springs & some of the river mentioned; as the Spercheus—but the pass is very much widened except in some parts.

Delphi is a very interesting place. The remains of the temple of Apollo are under a shed at the top of the village & the walls are covered with inscriptions. The Castalian fountain falls between the two peaks of Parnassus. You may search for the Corycian cave w[hic]h has not yet been determined. By Pausanias’ account it is some way up the mountain. There is a stadium above the village. The Games were celebrated below in the vale. Try to find the Hippodrome

At Livadia try to determine from Pausanias w[hic]h is the cave of Trophonius; what they shew you as such may possibly be so but in some respects it does not answer to his description.

At Thebes there is hardly any thing to be seen. You may determine from the Poets & Historians w[hic]h is the Cadmæa†, the mountain of the Sphinx—& Dirce.

On the road from Thebes to Athens you will pass over mount Parnes—& about the place where you first get a view of Athens, was situated Phyle. There is an old ruined tower in this position w[hic]h I conjectured to have been part of Phyle. This you may investigate

The frontier town of Decelia w[hic]h was fortified by the Spartans in the Peloponessian war was situated somewhere on this range—though I imagine further to the East & nearer Athens. Its position has often been enquired after & never accurately determined. It will be worth while to pay some attention to its investigation. From some passages in Thucyd. & Xenophon it appears that it was so near the Piræus that ships sailing into that port were discernible from it. It was therefore on high ground & you may probably find its scite somewhere on the Northern parts of the plain of Athens between Parnes & Hymettus.

Between Livadia & Thebes visit Chæronea & Orchomenus where are marbles & inscriptions. Here & every where else copy faithfully what inscriptions you see[.] Near Chæronea see whether there are any remains of the Copaic {2} lake, & whether it is as famous for its eels now as it was in the time of Aristophanes.

At Athens you will find a† excellent Cicerone in Famuel† who will explain & point out every thing. There are there two rivers the Ilissus to the E. of the Acropolis—the Cephissus to the W. I want to know whether they unite before they reach the sea. Will you take the trouble to ascertain this—& also whether we dont pass over a bridge across the Cephissus in the way to the Piræus

Near Sunium try to find the remains of the mines w[hic]h were worked by the Athenians

Visit the I. of Ægina where there is a beautiful temple

Crossing from Ægina to the Peloponessus go to Epidaurus & from thence to a place called Tero {1}, where there are several ruins particularly a very magnificent theatre the finest in Greece.

Go from thence to Argos, Nauplia di Romania, Tiryns a very curious old town the walls of w[hic]h are as old as Homer’s time—Mycenæ, where are some very interesting ruins—Nemea

From Argos go to Tripolizza & in the neighbourhood see the {1} ruins of Tegea & Mantinæa. At the latter place observe the course of the river. It was turned I think by Agis, when he besieged the place, so as to make a breach in the walls of the town.

From Tripolizza to Leondari & from thence to Sparta. The ruins of old Sparta are very inconsiderable, & situated about 2 miles to the E. of the modern town Alistra {1}. Observe whether in going from Leondari to Sparta you cross the Eurotas, or whether you keep all the way on the left bank

From Sparta visit Mania†, if possible, though I believe it is an enterprise attended with some difficulty. The Maniotes are independent, & do not acknowledge the power of the Turks. They are the only Greeks who have preserved their freedom.

From Sparta cross Taÿgetus to Calamata, or if that is not practicable return to Leondari & from thence proceed along the Southern parts of Arcadia w[hic]h are very beautiful to Caritena & Andruzzena. At the latter place enquire for a guide to shew you the σηλαι {1} & you will be conducted to the ruins of the temple of Apollo Epicurus at Phygalia, which are situated on the borders of Arcadia & Messenia in a most romantic solitude.

From hence visit Messenia if you can. I did not see it, & therefore cannot give you any directions.

From Andruzzena go to Olympia (now called Miracca) & endeavour to determine the position of the temple of Jupiter[,] the stadium, the Altis or sacred grove[,] the Cronium or hill of Saturn mentioned so often by Pindar.

From Olympia to Pyrgo[,] thence to Gastugni, in the neighbourhood of w[hic]h are the ruins of Elis w[hic]h are insignificant—thence to Patrass & so on along the romantic shores of Achaia to Corinth.

At Corinth see an old temple, & if possible get admittance to the Acro-Corinthus.

Near Corinth see Basilices {1} the antient Sicyon.

Investigate the Isthmus—Lechæum & Cenchreae the two ports of Corinth & see whether you can find any remains of the canal w[hic]h was begun across the narrowest part of the Isthmus. The ruins of the wall built by the Peloponessians are visible

Cross part of Mt Œneus {1}, & Cithæron to Megara. On the road are very fine views of the Isthmus & the two seas.

From Megara to Eleusis & thence to the Via Sacra of Athens.

Keep a full & accurate journal of every thing you see, w[hic]h you ought to write on the spot, & never trust to memory even for a day.


Superscript letters indicating abbreviations have been lowered, and the missing letters supplied in square brackets, e.g. ‘w[hic]h’.

{1} Reading uncertain.

{2} Followed by a superfluous comma.

† Sic.

‘Verbum Sapienti’, by Sir William Petty

(‘In Petty's list of his own writings … the entry “Verbum Sapienti, and the value of People” stands opposite the year 1665, and the internal evidence makes it probable that the booklet was written in the latter part of that year.’ (The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, ed. C. H. Hull (1899), vol. i.))

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