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Sedgwick, Adam (1785-1873) geologist
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Atkinson/Williams family correspondence

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

Collection of letters of William Whewell to William Henry Smyth, William Hodge Mill, Richard Chenevix Trench, Benjamin Webb, and Lady Lubbock

Letter to William Henry Smyth dated 16 Feb. 1834 asks for barometrical observations on behalf of Professor [Miller?] of Cambridge, is looking for the mean height of the barometer in different latitudes; Mr and Mrs Airy have fever and [Adam] Sedgwick has dislocated his arm; is building lecture rooms with a ventilator which would enable Mrs Smyth and her friends to listen to lectures. This letter accompanied by two notes in an unidentified hand.
A letter to R. C. Trench is dated 2 Mar. 1852 and asks questions arising upon reading his Study of Words.
There are two letters to William Hodge Mill, dated 1842 and 1844. In the earlier letter he asks Mill to serve as examiner for the Tyrwhitt Hebrew Scholarship, and asks his opinion of the effect of the Corn law on the value of tithe rent charges. The later letter sends a passage he has read in the Life of Hegel which he thinks will amuse him.
The letter to Benjamin Webb is dated 18 Dec. 1857 and refers to Webb's offer of a collection of MSS related to William Hodge Mill, and states that the seniority has approved the sum of £50 for the MSS.
The letter to Lady Lubbock is dated 8 Mar. 1864 and accepts an invitation to visit High Elms; is expecting a visit from Amelia and Maria Herschel with their brother Willie.
Accompanied by a modern transcript of a letter from Whewell to B. H. Smart dated 8 May 1969 [1849?] thanking him for a copy of his Manual of Logic.

Trench, Richard Chenevix (1807-1886) Archbishop of Dublin

James David Forbes to William Whewell

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

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

Norwich - AS is shocked to hear that their former Master - Christopher Wordsworth - has died: 'Could you give me any information on the subject?' AS hopes to be back at Cambridge the first week in April. Can WW help AS with some details concerning a testimonial he has to write.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

Cambridge - AS has just returned from the funeral of the 'poor Marquis to which I went as a mourner'. He hopes to attend the meeting [BAAS] in Birmingham next month. A horrible murder was committed on Sunday on the outskirts of Cambridge 'by a set of bloody drunken ruffians as is supposed'. They are so far cholera free 'but the Doctors are fearing an outbreak of it'. If cholera does appear and the Commissioners come down they will find Trinity College in a good condition of drainage. AS would like to consult WW over his preface: 'A Preface of 300 pages to a sermon of but eighty will look some what out of proportion'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS hopes all has been done in due order: 'the Minor Fellows were admitted to Full Fellowship'. The temperature is boiling: 'On the wall of my room which looks into the Great Court it [the thermometer] stood at 98 [degrees] tho' shaded from the direct sunbeams'. AS has been studying the Oxford report and thinking of the Cambridge equivalent [AS was one of the Cambridge Commissioners on the Syndicate to revise the Statutes of the University].

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS is leaving for Bolton where on Tuesday next he is to marry his nephew. AS thanks WW for his 'answer to the author of the Prolegomena Logica ['Letter to the Author of Prolegomena Logica', 1852].

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

WW's question has puzzled AS: 'I have been half a dozen minds about my answer - on the whole I retire to the affirmative side of the question'. There is also another question: 'Is it likely that Government would sanction the indulgence?' AS's gout has been playing up.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

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

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

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

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

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

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

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

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

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

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

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

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

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

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