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W. A. Wright: Bible Revision (correspondence)

Correspondence, notes, and printed material largely relating to W. Aldis Wright's work as Secretary of the Old Testament Revision Company. Includes correspondence from C. F. Clay, William F. Moulton, Bartholomew Price, T. H. Stokoe, Richard Wright, J. Troutbeck and others, along with several copies/drafts of letters by W. Aldis Wright. Notes by T. K. Cheyne, George Chawner, John Birrell, D. H. Weir and others. Includes material on use by others of the Revised Version, such as a request from [Charles Goldschmidt?] Montefiore, and on the disposition of surplus money given to the Old and New Testament Revision Companies [see also Add.MS.b.65].

Wright, William Aldis (1831–1914), literary and biblical scholar

E. H. Linfoot: notes on G. H. Hardy's lectures on Dirichlet series

One of twelve notebooks kept by E. H. Linfoot containing notes made while at Oxford 1924-1928, under G. H. Hardy and Abram Besicovitch, and catalogued as Add.Ms.b.179-190. The other papers in this collection are described in the record for the first item in the collection, Add.Ms.b.179.

Linfoot, Edward Hubert (1905-1982) astronomer

E H Linfoot: notes on Landau's lectures on Waring's problem

One of five notebooks kept by E. H. Linfoot containing notes made at Göttingen 1928-1929, under Bartel van der Waerden, Emil Artin, Harald Bohr, and Edmund Landau, catalogued as Add.Ms.b.191-195. The other papers in this collection are described in the record for the first item in the collection, Add.Ms.b.179.

Linfoot, Edward Hubert (1905-1982) astronomer

E. H. Linfoot: notes on Landau's lectures on Schlicht functions

One of five notebooks kept by E. H. Linfoot containing notes made at Göttingen 1928-1929, under Bartel van der Waerden, Emil Artin, Harald Bohr, and Edmund Landau, catalogued as Add.Ms.b.191-195. The other papers in this collection are described in the record for the first item in the collection, Add.Ms.b.179.

Linfoot, Edward Hubert (1905-1982) astronomer

E. H. Linfoot: notes on Alexsandrov's lectures on dimension and Menger's theorem

One of four notebooks kept by E. H. Linfoot containing notes made at Princeton 1929-1930, under H. P. Robertson, J. von Neumann, and P. Alexandroff, catalogued as Add.Ms.b.196-199. The other papers in this collection are described in the record for the first item in the collection, Add.Ms.b.179.

Linfoot, Edward Hubert (1905-1982) astronomer

Letter from W. W. Greg to H. S. Bennett

Standlands, River, Petworth, Sussex.—Refers to his catalogue of English manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College (see O.11.5), and to his plan—long since abandoned—of compiling a corpus of all English manuscript works down to 1500.

—————

Transcript

Standlands, River, Petworth, Sussex
25 Sept. 1944

Dear Bennett

When I drew up that catalogue of 100 English MSS at Trinity, at the time I was librarian, I naturally hoped that the College might see its way to print it. Then came the last war and any idea of the sort had of course to be abandoned. By the time things settled down again I was busy in other fields, and moreover the catalogue I knew had become in some respects out of date. Had I examined it I should probably also have found it unsatisfactory. So I did no more about it and finally deposited the MS in the Library for the use of any one who might be interested. I need hardly say that it is at the disposal of you or of any body else who should be able to use it as a basis for further work.

During the last war I dreamed of compiling a corpus of all English manuscript works down to 1500. It would have been a big undertaking. I estimated, on a very rough basis, that there [are] some 5000 MSS surviving, exclusive of legal and diplomatic documents, private letters, and collections of recipes. I envisaged the work in three parts. (1) A catalogue, possibly roughly chronological, of the actuall† MSS, with full bibliographical descriptions, giving particular attention to the make-up and growth of the MSS when these were not written all at one time. (2) A catalogue of the works they contained, giving the MSS of each and such information as was possible concerning the relation of the MSS. (3) An atlas containing some hundreds of facsimiles of pages from the manuscripts, especially the dated or datable ones, with transcripts and palaeographical notes. I also had in mind a catalogue of all works to 1500 giving a brief literary account of each with and† specimen of some 50 lines transcribed exactly from the oldest or most authentic MS. An ambitious project! which I need not say I have long since abandoned.

Best wishes

Yours
W. W. Greg

—————

Marked at the head in pencil, ‘Letter to H S Bennett, Emmanuel College, given by H S Bennett to Trinity College Library.’

Letter from Robert Erskine Childers to Ivor Lloyd-Jones, with provenance letter

A farewell letter written immediately before his death: 'Dearest Ivor, It doesn't matter what you think of me. I know you love me -- the first friendship in my life & indestructable. So in lieu of goodbye & from my heart & soul God bless you & Gwladys & her daughter & give you great happiness. Erskine'.

Accompanied by a letter from Ivor Lloyd-Jones to Norman de Bruyne dated 27 June 1935 donating this letter and [his copy of 'The Riddle of the Sands'] to Trinity College Library, Cambridge.

Childers, Robert Erskine (1870–1922), author and politician

Letter from John W. Graham to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Grand Hôtel des Bergues, Genève
3. Jan 1898.

Dear Mrs. Eddington,

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

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

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

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

I remain
Your friend sincerely
John W. Graham

—————

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

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

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

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

My very dear Mother

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

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

—————

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

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed.

{2} A slip for ‘good’.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

1912 Sept 15
R.M.S.P. Arlanza {1}

My very dear Mother

It is now the last day on the steamer, and we are to reach Rio at about 7 o’clock tonight; I do not think we shall land until tomorrow morning.

We did not go on shore either at Pernambuco or Bahia as they are neither of them very healthy places. At Pernambuco there is no real harbour and we anchor someway out at at† sea but Bahia is a magnificent bay. The land is very low all the way between them; and the coast (which we keep in sight) is monotonous, only there is a curious white sand all the way along which makes it look like chalk cliffs.

The most interesting thing is seeing the whales, which are quite numerous. You see them spouting frequently and sometimes catch a glimpse of the whale itself. We left Bahia on Friday, and yesterday (Saturday) the rain came down in torrents; it was the first time we had had anything more than the slightest showers. In the evening the rain stopped, and the wind got up, and we really pitched quite a lot it was quite pleasant for a change. Today is a perfect day again, clear, and with brilliant sunshine. It is quite cool again and I am wearing my usual English clothes.

I know all the Officers now pretty well; the Chief Officer is a very nice man and a great favourite with the passengers.

I had a letter from Rio at Pernambuco which was very satisfactory; Lee {2} has visited all possible sites. I rather think we shall go to Alfenas further inland than Christina but do not know yet. The Brazilian government is going to do us well. I have met several passengers who know the country well. They say we are sure to have fine weather, and the country is a regular health resort, where the inhabitants all live to be centenarians.

Some of the passengers bought little marmoset monkeys at Bahia; they are sweet little things that you could put in your pocket but I was not tempted to go in for one.
I will not add more as there is a fine bit of coast outside that I want to see and then I must get my packing done.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Numbered ‘4’ at the head in pencil.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed.

{2} ‘the Interpreter’ has been interlined above a caret, in an unidentified hand. The person referred to is T. N. Lee, an Englishman deputed by the Brazilian Government to as-sist the expedition. See The Observatory, xxxv (1912), 410.

† Sic.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Passa Quatro | Minas Geraes
1912 Sept 26

My very dear Mother

I was very glad to have your letter of Sept 5, which reached me here yesterday afternoon. It was a long time to be without news of you. We spent Friday & Saturday last week pretty quietly in Rio; our baggage (instruments) at last departed on Friday midnight. We left at 9∙30 p.m. on the São Paulo express for Cruxeiro with Lee and Worthington; it was a very comfortable train and we reached Cruxeiro at 2∙30 a.m. Our plan was to sleep in the waiting room and superintend the transfer of the instruments to the narrow-guage† line as soon as it was light; but on arrival we found the instruments had only got a little way and would not reach Cruxeiro until the next day. The waiting room was rather crowded, so I slept very comfortably on my trunk on the platform. We caused much amusement to the porters.

We breakfasted off black coffee, bread and bananas; and Davidson & I had a good walk. It was rather cold cloudy weather, but the country was very wild & beautiful. We left Cruxeiro by a goods train (on to which however they put a saloon car for our benefit). It took nearly 3 hours to do the 20 miles to Passa Quatro, but there was a steep climb all the way. We wound up a very remarkably engineered track and it was a most enjoyable journey with splendid mountains all round.

At Passa Quatro we have a clean and comfortable inn kept by M. Rénier who is in charge of the government meteorological station here. He and his family take meals with us. The other occupants of the inn are de Souza and his wife who is (until Morize arrives) in charge of the Brazilian party’s arrangements; and Stephanik†, and his assistant, who form an official French expedition sent by the Bureau des Longitudes. They are all very nice people; but we very much dislike Lee and Worthington (especially the latter) and it is hard work to avoid a regular rumpus.

Our eclipse camps are about a mile away at a Fazenda near the railway. This site seems a very good one though it is rather surrounded by hills. Since the first day we have had splendid weather—clear blue skies with hot sun but cold in the shade and freezing at night. There are no mosquitoes snakes bugs or cockroaches so far. The Brazilian butterflies are very fine; but they are not very numerous as it is too early for them. I have seen some very large ones.

We have a special engine on which we go to and fro to the Fazenda. It takes us down at 8 am, brings us back to déjeuner at 11; takes us down again at 1 and brings us back at 6. The meals are quite good but rather French in style—all sorts of little meat courses. We have various weird vegetables and concoctions—no black beans as yet. One speciality here is fruit-cheeses, which we have at lunch every day.

We started the building of the piers for the instruments on Monday and they were ready for use today. Our baggage turned up on Monday night and was dumped by the side of the railway opposite the Fazenda. It took us practically all Tuesday afternoon to convey it (in bullock carts drawn by 6 oxen) to the actual field of operations; and it was pretty heavy work loading the carts and unloading them.

These last two days we have been hard at it, erecting huts and getting out a few instruments. I daresay it will be a week before we can slacken off our efforts. We have one boy engaged to assist us but he is not very much use.

The Argentine & Chilean expeditions were going to Christina about 50 miles further on. The former (Perrine & his 3 assistants) came to dinner with us at our hotel in Rio on the Thursday evening and we had a very jolly time I hope to have time to visit their camp at Christina before the eclipse.

I find my helmet very useful but have not worn my drill suit. It is really wonderfully cool weather and one could hardly imagine we are in the tropics. The country here is lovely.

With very dear love to both
ever your affectionate son
Stanley

I hope Winnie had a good trip.

—————

Numbered ‘6’ at the head in pencil.

† Sic.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Funchal
1919 March 27

My very dear Mother

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

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

† Sic.

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

Transcript

(copy)

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

Dear Dr. Schuster

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

With many thanks
yours sincerely
A. S. Eddington

—————

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

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

Franks of Members of Parliament

Part of Cordelia Whewell's collection of franks. The collection includes a letter from William Pickering to William Whewell dated 16 July 1834 with a frank from J. Kennedy (item 201), and three letters to Cordelia from Philip H. Howard, dated Dec. 1839 and 4 and 20 Jan. 1840 (items 195-197).

Letter from M. A. Jinnah to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Mount Pleasant Road, Malabar Hill, Bombay.—The prospect of clearing up the breach of faith on the part of the English (i.e. the postponement of the formation of an interim government) is hampered by recent events of a much worse character. As for the apparent discourtesy shown to him by members of the Cabinet Mission in June, he considers the matter closed and would never, in any case, allow personal feelings to affect his handling of issues which affect millions of people.

—————

Transcript

Mount Pleasant Road, Malabar Hill, Bombay
11th September ’46.

Dear Lord Pethick-Lawrence,

Thank you for your letter of August 16. I regret the delay as I was so rushed and pressed with other matters that I could not help putting off my reply to you.

As regards the first point—the breach of faith on your part, you say, that, perhaps some day we may be able to clear up. But since the 25th of June so many other things have taken place, which are of much worse character with far-reaching consequences and we have been stabbed in the back. However, as yours is only a purely personal letter and not a political one, I will confine myself entirely to the second point: that you never intended to show any discourtesy to me in the course of the interview at the Viceroy’s House on the late afternoon of June 25.

Believe me that although I had felt at the moment and was rather hurt at the behaviour of your colleagues and yourself, with perhaps one exception i.e. Mr. Alexander at the interview, but, a few days before his departure, when he came to see me and conveyed to me on behalf of your colleagues and yourself that they never intended to be discourteous to me, I asked him to convey to you and the others that as far as I was concerned the matter was closed and I expressed the hope that it would not affect us so far as our personal relations were concerned. I assure you that whatever may happen, or has happened, believe me, I shall never allow the element of personal rancour or bitterness to influence me in the slightest degree in handling the issues at stake in India which affect millions of people. I have never allowed any personal feelings to influence me in the past and I bear no ill-will towards anyone and entirely receiprocate† that our personal relationships would remain friendly.

Yours sincerely,
M. A. Jinnah

Lord Pethick-Lawrence,
11, Old Square,
Lincoln’s Inn,
LONDON W.C.2.

—————

At the head of the sheet is written in pencil, ‘These letters not to be published, by expressed wish of late Lord Pethick-Lawrence. | Esther E Knowles, 1st May 1962.’ Alongside is written, probably by Vera Brittain, ‘noted’.

{1} i.e. the formation of an interim government.

† Sic.

Draft of a letter from Lord Pethick-Lawrence to Jawaharlal Nehru

Sends good wishes on the occasion of India’s independence. The arrangements fall short of what he should have liked to see, but are far better than he once dared hope for. Is sorry he was unable to stay the full course (as Secretary of State), but is pleased by the appointments of Mountbatten and Mrs Naidu.

—————

Transcript

Copy

Aug 26. 47

My dear Nehru,

I h waited until now to write to you to send you my heartfelt good wishes, for though you are probably none the less busy, at least the excitement of the transition is over & you will be able to settle down to your stupendous task.

I imagine that you & I are in pretty close agreement about what has taken place. To me the solution falls far short of what I should have liked to see & yet it is far better than at one time I dared to hope. Looking back over the little more than two years tht have elapsed since I was directly association with Indian affairs I feel profoundly thankful tht such great changes have been peacefully accomplished & tht you have the opportunity for which your life has so well prepared you for directing the destiny of so large a part of the human race.

I was sorry not to be able to stay the full course myself. You know the American who said “in our country the trees are so tall tht it takes two men to see them, one looks as far up as he can & the other sees from there to the top” I went as far as I could & my successor saw to the end. And I think the same was true of the viceroyalty. I feel that in sending you Mountbatten we sent you one of the very best statesmen & I gather tht you & your colleagues have felt this too by the honour you have conferred on him in making him to be your first Governor General.

I was delighted tht you made our dear Mrs Naidu a temporary Governor. With her great heart & her sense of humour I am sure she will justify your appointment.

I shall write to Gaubliger {1} on his birthday.

With all my good wishes
I remain

Ever Sincerely Yours
[blank]

—————

In spite of the heading, this appears to be a draft rather than a copy. The shortened words, e.g. ‘h’ for ‘have’, are in the MS.

{1} Reading uncertain.

Letter from Viscount Mills to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Gwydyr House, Whitehall, London, S.W.1.—As he explained during the debate (in the Lords), his statement about the increase of British investments in India did not cover the use by India of her sterling balances, but was intended rather as an example of the increase in assistance provided to less-developed countries by means of Government loans.

(Letter-head of the Paymaster General.)

Letter from Lord Boothby to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

1 Eaton Square, [London].—Explains why he considers the amount of international monetary reserves inadequate, and suggests remedies.

—————

Transcript

1 Eaton Square.
March 20, 1961.

Dear Pethick,

Thank you for your letter.

I am sorry my debate {1} had to be postponed until March 28, but the Government rightly wanted it taken as a separate subject.

My point is that the amount of international monetary reserves are inadequate to support the ever-growing volume of production and trade in the free world; with the result that the two great international currencies, the dollar and sterling, are under alternate but continuous pressure.

After the war it was assumed—by all except Keynes—that we could rely upon increased gold production and continued growth in holdings of dollars and pounds sterling. This has proved a false assumption. The total amount of funds capable of international movement is now very large indeed, compared to our reserves and IMF drawing rights. And it is this vulnerability that has caused us to adopt what has been described as the “Stop-and-go” policy of recent years, with disastrous effects upon our own economic growth and productivity.

The truth is that the price paid at Bretton Woods for fixed exchanges was supposed to be adequate international monetary reserves; and, owing to the rejection of Keynes’s scheme for the creation of international money in the form of “Bancor”, the necessary reserves were not in fact provided. The monetary system of the free world is therefore obsolete.

Various remedies have been propounded, and I shall touch on some of them.

A rise in the price of gold (now pegged at a wholly artificial level) is obviously one. But it would not be permanent; and I think that at present it is politically impossible.

It is, however, not insuperably difficult to devise means of creating more international liquidity and of converting present holdings of national reserve currencies—sterling and dollars—into holdings of reserves with international backing.

The culmination of a radical revision of the international monetary system should, in my view, be the transformation of the International Monetary Fund into an international central bank, the deposits of which would be an international currency on the lines of Keynes’s “Bancor”. This could be achieved in successive stages; but would ultimately require a revision of the Bretton Woods Charter. The main objective is a reorganisation of the international financial system designed to facilitate economic growth, and to remove the constant threat to balances of payment caused by the movement of “hot” money.

I therefore intend to ask for an international economic conference to consider the whole problem. And I am encouraged by the fact that the Radcliffe Committee saw “great merit in the proposal for a transformation of the I.M.F. into an international central bank”; and that President Kennedy said in his Inaugural Address, “We must now, in co-operation with other lending countries, begin to consider ways in which the international monetary institutions—especially the International Monetary Fund—can be strengthened and more effectively utilised, both in furnishing needed increases in reserves, and in providing the flexibility required to support a healthy and growing world economy”.

I do not know how many speakers there will be. But Derick Amory, Robbins and Bob Brand are certainties. Walter Monckton will be there. And I am hoping to persuade Cyril Radcliffe to do his duty!
It should be an interesting debate on a topic which, in my belief, is of major importance—perhaps the most important of all.

Yours ever,
Bob B.

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Letter-head of the House of Lords. At the head have been written ‘File.’ and ‘620’.

{1} A debate on ‘International Liquidity in the Free World’. See Parliamentary Debates (Hansard): House of Lords, vol. ccxxx, pp. 51–107.

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