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Papers of Sir Henry Babington Smith

  • SMIH
  • Fondo
  • 1833-1942

The archive contains school and University papers 1871-1905, diaries 1881-94, Education Department and Treasury papers 1883-93. Papers relating to India 1891-1904, the Natal finance 1899-1900, the Ottoman public debt 1893-09, the General Post office 1903-09, the National Bank of Turkey 1903-17, the Royal Commission on the Civil Service 1912-15, wartime finance and trade 1915-21, the Indian Exchange and Currency Committee 1914-20 and the Railways Amalgamation Tribunal 1921-23. Correspondence 1873-1923. Papers of Lady Elisabeth Mary Babington Smith 1894-1935. Bruce family correspondence 1861-1938.

Smith, Sir Henry Babington (1863–1923), knight, civil servant and financier

Letter from William Thomson

Manchester - WT [later Lord Kelvin] encloses a 'statement of objects of research on the thermal effects of fluids in motion, and an account of expenditure by Mr Joule [James Joule] and myself'. The investigations are described in a paper communicated to the Royal Society last June and now printed. He hopes to communicate another one in a few weeks.

Letter from William Thomson

Glasgow - The Report WT [later Lord Kelvin] and James Joule are preparing for the Committee on Air Experiments will be forwarded to WW on completion: 'I trust the delay will not be inconvenient to the committee'.

Letter from William Thomson

Glasgow - WT feels 'very strongly inclined towards Faraday's view that the substance of a diamagnetic is polar like oxygen or iron, when near a magnet, but that it is less so than the surrounding medium'. John Tyndall 'is in error if he still supposes that either his experiments or Weber's, or any others yet made affords a test as to whether this hypothesis, or true hypothesis that bismuth and the like, have a polarity the reverse of that of iron in the same circumstances. The resultant external force between a diagmagnet and paramagnet is demonstrably the same which ever hypothesis is true; and those experiments are solely indicative of resultant external force' [see WT to James Forbes, 19 March 1857]. Perhaps Faraday doubted Weber's [Wilhelm Weber] experiment gave any other result and he certainly doubted the truth of the interpretation put on Weber's results. 'Tyndall's repetition of Weber's experiment I believe convinced Faraday that the result was genuine'. WT has written a short article in the Cambridge and Dublin Mathematical Journal in May 1846, which 'contains principles and mathematical expressions, founded solely on what Faraday told me in his first paper, which lead in the most obvious way to the determination of all such forces as those which Weber and Tyndall observed'. WT describes what a (mechanical) explanation of electromagnetic induction would entail. Regarding 'Ampere's [André Ampere] theory of real motions in minute circular orbits or vortices, with axes on the whole set in the directions of the line of force, to account for magnetism, I think it is probably true. The magnetic optic discovery seems explicable on no other hypothesis. Since Foucault's [Jean Foucault] exhibition at Liverpool I have been much disposed to look on the gyroscope as an illustration of a magnet. It is of course difficult to see how a current ([?] of matter flowing) through a straight wire can induce among the thermal motions in the surrounding medium, eddies of which the axes are circles in planes perpendicular to the wire; and how eddies in a steel bar magnet with their axes on the whole parallel to its length can induce among the surrounding thermal motions, eddies rooted to the steel at each end...Still it is not beyond expectation that a definite mechanical explanation of such influences may be invented'. If this is done it simply shows that magnetic attraction is a product of pressure along the axes of eddies, caused by centrifugal force. An 'explanation of electromagnetic induction would have to be looked for by considering mechanically the effects produced by moving as whole, pieces of matter among the particles of which these are vortical motions with determined sets'. WT does 'not see how a momentary recoil in the surrounding matter can account for electromagnetic induction'. Nevertheless 'there may be lateral action at or near the boundaries of the conductor in its interior with a reaction causing the external induced current'. WT thinks 'Faraday must be right in supposing both electric action to be conducted through matter and by means of the matter through which it is conducted'. 'Is it credible that matter can act where it is not? Were not those of the schoolmen who demonstrated a universal Plenum right?' WT wonders whether WW can come up with any epithets for recent developments in electrostatics: 'I would like to be able to distinguish between systems in which the electricity to be tested is tried by one, and by two, independently electrified bodies'. He would also like names to distinguish electrometers.

Letter from William Thomson to James David Forbes

Glasgow - WT [later Lord Kelvin] attended Michael Faraday's lecture on Gravitation, and spoke to both him and John Tyndall: 'I made a slight attack on Tyndall by asking him to explain to me the distinction between a viscous solid and a plastic solid. He said that before the end of a year it would be very clear. Which ever word is the most appropriate is the best expression of your theory as I have always understood it. As to the clear and porous alternate layers proving the veined structure, I do not know whether you lay much stress on the explanation Tyndall quotes as yours. It may be true what Tyndall says - that it is occasioned by pressure but that is no explanation'. Many writers have assumed that pressure is the cause of the clearage in slate mountains: 'It is a real thing proved if Tyndall or any one else can prove the clearage surfaces to be perpendicular to the lines of maximum compression'. In diamagnetics WT holds that Weber [Wilhelm Weber] and Tyndall have illustrated by experiment conclusions deducible (and which I deduced in 1846) from Faraday's forces experienced by bismuth; that they have established no new conclusion'. Faraday does not seem to perceive the relation with Weber's phenomena and even doubts Weber's results; 'Tyndall's repetition of Weber's experiment (described in the Phil. Trans.) confirmed the results and removed the possibility of such doubts as Faraday had temporarily raised. Not one of these experiments touches the ultimate nature of the magnetic effect experienced by the substance of a piece of bismuth, since the resultant external action is necessaily the same whether air in the surrounding medium is unpolarised and bismuth severly, or the surrounding medium and the substance of the bismuth both polarised directly (like a 'paramagnetic') but the surrounding medium more so than the bismuth'. Many of Tyndall's experiments simply prove things that did not require proving: 'In reality no testing experiment has ever been made to distinguish between two hypothesis: and I agree (I believe) with Faraday in thinking the second the more probable of the two true (I had a good deal of this in a letter to Tyndall which he published in the Phil. Mag. April 1855)'. WT has been occupied chiefly with electrometers and electroscopes in the apparatus room.

Letter from Daphne Sanger to R. C. Trevelyan

24 Maid's Causeway, Cambridge. - Very kind of Bob to send her his poems ["From the Shiffolds"]; unsure which ones she liked best since 'being so various they are difficult to compare'. Also good to 'have a reminder of civilised life', which she gets 'very little' of here, though she does on Sundays at her Aunt Sophy's, whose friend Maud Allen sometimes reads poetry aloud. They tried to arrange a meeting with Bertrand Russell for her, but she could not make the day when he and his wife had lunch with them; hopes to see him sometime. Recently saw Bob's niece Mary for the first time since her wedding; liked her husband 'very much'. Hopes that all at the Shiffolds are keeping well; hears about them occasionally from her mother and others such as Alys Russell, whose letters are 'always full of news in brief of many people', which is good as 'most people seem to have pretty well given up writing letters nowadays". Her colleague has resigned so she is now the only billeting officer for this ward; can manage as 'so many evacuees have gone back'. Is getting a week's holiday at Christmas which she will spend with her mother.

Letter from Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven to R. C. Trevelyan

10 Prinsegracht, Hague'; addressed to Bob at The Mill House, Westcott, Dorking, Surrey. - Thinks Bob's arrangements about the piano 'quite perfect & quite the nicest we could have' and trusts the 'professional friend' to choose the upright one. Would like to write and thank Bob's aunt [Margaret Price] for her present, so asks for her address. Thanks Bob for sending the table measurements, as well as the lock of his hair, which she will keep in his "Pilgrim's Progress". Describes a dream she had about him, and another about Dr [Empedocle?] Gaglio - probably as Bramine [Hubrecht] had mentioned him in a letter. Sorry that Sanger is still unwell and the likely cause [love]; he is 'the last person who ought to be treated like that'; asks if 'the lady in question is Miss D. P. [Dorothea Pease]'.

Confesses Bob's jokes about regretting not being able to go to Greece with his friends any more made her cry; she has often been anxious that he will lose a great deal of freedom when he marries; surely he will be able to talk as freely with his friends after they marry; she would like to go to Greece with him. Glad Bargman gave good advice [about the house]; hopes 'dear little Gussie [Enticknap]' will not make too much noise. Her uncle's lawyer has not yet heard from the 'Paris oracle Mr Barclay' about the marriage. The Grandmonts likely to be there; so now thinks they should fix the wedding for Whit week and will write to Bob's mother if her agrees; asks if he has a preference about the day; suggests not Wednesday as then 'all the servants are married together & there usually is a great rush'. Interrupted by a visit from her friend Anna de Ravity [?], with whom she had a good talk; Anna 'talked most sensibly about the [Second Boer] war' and is 'disgusted' by the general wild anti-British sentiment here. Is going to see her sister Marie in Rotterdam tomorrow. Tells Bob not to leave his books and manuscripts around, or 'the wood nymphs' might steal them; would write a poem on the subject if she could; wishes they lived in the time of the "Arabian Nights" so she could use a magic carpet or flying trunk to come to see him.


A journal recording his work as Master of Trinity College, with notes on letters sent and received and in addition, drafts of 74 letters, listed separately according to the page number of the journal on which each letter begins. An index in the hand of Janet Douglas is tipped in at front.

Cullum Collection

  • Cullum
  • Colección
  • 15th-20th cent

George Gery Milner-Gibson-Cullum's collection of autographs. The correspondence of Cullum's parents with notable contemporaries provided the core of the collection, but he amassed autographs from far beyond this sphere. The collection includes many examples from the royal and noble houses of Europe, of European politicians and Presidents of the USA, of Popes and senior members of the Church and of actors, authors, writes and composers.

Cullum, George Gery Milner-Gibson- (1857–1921), antiquary

Incomplete letters from unidentified people to William Whewell

Letters have been assigned numbers 1-20. Item 1 is a note entitled "Hints for Dr. Cumming's Apocalyptic Researches"; item 2 is an anti-evangelical letter; item 3 discusses the corruption of the word "Paulician"; item 6 is a fragment of a letter concerns the "mutual relations" between political economy and morality: 'It is the separate province of Morality to make us good, & of Economic Science to make us wise'; item 11 is an incomplete letter with the author's name missing: knows of no English translation of Cuvier's "Lessons on comparative anatomy", and only knows of Blumenbach's work on that subject; item 12 refers to the "correcting principle" used on the voyages to the North Pole obtained very complete corrections: "the equator of my imaginary sphere came nearly onto the position of the horizon", Basil Hall used the old principle in his voyage across the equator; item 13 is dated 6 Aug. 1840 and questions Whewell's assertion in his Bridgewater treatise, that the sun diffuses in all directions inexhaustible supplies of heat as well as light; item 19 is possibly addressed to Mrs Stair Douglas in March 1866 and originally enclosed a poem in memory of 'that wonderful Philosopher Dr Whewell'.

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