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William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW is surprised that he has not heard from RJ: 'I hope someday to have an opportunity of convincing you that I have ten times as much reason to be angry and weary and dissatisfied with my life as you have '. WW gives an account of the progress of Attree [William W. Atree - RJ's nephew] at Trinity. WW is sorry that RJ has 'promised not to come and vote for Lord Palmerston. I shall think the worst of the University if he is turned out upon that eternal no Popery cry which I do not think impossible. I cannot however persuade myself to care very much about the matter and am almost sick of hearing of that or any other subject of politics. Principally I believe because I can find no general principles at all to my liking and therefore cannot have the pleasure of applying them. If I could get rid of my tiresome occupations here and find time for some glimpses into your world of moral speculations I should at least have the pleasure of theorizing'.

Biographical notes on John Pearson and a copy of a sermon, 1673, and a copy of Gabriel Towerson's tract on the creed of St Athanasius

Three notebooks with sewn paper wrappers, all tied together with string, possibly created by Thomas Kidd [?], whose son donated the notebooks. The first notebook contains biographical notes on John Pearson, and the second and third notebooks contain MS copies of printed items. The second notebook is a copy of Gabriel Towerson's A briefe account of some expressions in Saint Athanasius his Creed for the satisfaction of those who think themselves thereby oblig'd, to believe all things therein contain'd to be absolutely necessary to salvation. Oxford : Printed by Henry Hall printer to the University, for Tho. Robinson, 1663. The third notebook is a copy of John Pearson's A Sermon Preached November V MDCLXXIII at the Abbey-Church in Westminster. London, Printed by Andrew Clark for John Williams, junior, 1673.

Kidd, Thomas (1770–1850) classical scholar and schoolmaster

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW will be glad to propose RJ's queries to Sir John Malcolm. He wishes RJ would let WW give Lord Palmerston's Committee 'at least one of your works. I do not think it will be a disagreeable business for the university to turn him out upon that senseless obstinacy of feeling against the Catholics; and to turn him out for a man like Copley [John S. Copley - Lord Lyndhurst] whose talents are too much entangled with a character of doubtful honesty to make him a respectable member'.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Old Hummums - WW and his horse should be with RJ by Thursday - the hot weather 'makes me wish to rest a day here'. He hopes to find Herschel in town [John Herschel].

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - The Cambridge Lucasian Chair of mathematics is expected to be shortly vacant, since Turton [Thomas Turton] who holds it, has taken a college living with which it is not tenable: 'Now I doubt whether to apply for it - (The heads are the electors) - but one main doubt is whether Herschel [John Herschel] would offer and would succeed'. WW thinks he would like it and fill the position well. Does RJ know how to locate him?: 'If I were certain that he would not be a candidate I should be tempted to propose myself for as I think I have told you I should like the professorship much'. WW 'could make very grand lectures on the principles of induction in mixed mathematics that I have talked to you about. This would be good - but better still would be Herschel for ever'.

Richard Jones to William Whewell

Brasted - RJ knows as much as WW regarding John Herschel's movements. However, RJ 'can answer for him as boldly as if I was present to his thoughts - 1st he will not stand if there is a chance that he would be in your way or I think Peacock's [George Peacock] - 2ndly He will not stand if he has to canvass the heads with a chance of an opposition so far I am sure 3rdly I do think he would accept the professorship with the expressed and implied condition of lecturing if you and Peacock were out of the question and it was offered him unanimously'. However this will not happen. Herschel further has an 'aversion to the very thought of a Cambridge professorship - he wrote to me with some surprise and some apparent sorrow when you first talked of the mineralogical chair but promised if you got it, to with hold for the future more of the contempt he had been endulging in against the university professorships'. RJ does not think WW should give up the Mineralogical professorship for the Lucasian since the former is tenable and the latter is not. Hence if WW wants to stay in Cambridge and get married, as he has always maintained, he should stick with it -'If moreover you are ever to give way to Peacock I had rather it were now than on some future occasion, because to say the truth, I am intimately persuaded more you will get it now and that if Newton himself were to come to life as a plain Master of Arts the heads would give it to French without hesitation and perhaps with an additional relish from the mere weakness of the job - I say this without any ill will to Peacock - there are not many men I wish better to - I am supposing you to be sure of the mineralogical'. If Julius Hare is not in Cambridge RJ is willing to come and listen to WW's thoughts. WW should not wait to hear from Herschel and would himself have a better chance than Peacock and King for the Lucasian Chair - 'I do not know why but Peacock is not popular in the University'.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW has had confirmation that Herschel [John Herschel] will not be coming forward for the vacant office of Lucasian Chair of Mathematics. 'Babbage [Charles Babbage] is making application and has written to people here on the subject. He has no chance whatever and it is mere extravagance, at least as appears to me, his taking up the thing. I do undoubtedly believe that he would be a good Professor now, but it is too much to expect that our heads should understand not only his merits, but the varying shape of them as time and circumstances may have modified it'. WW thinks Peacock [George Peacock] the most desirous candidate: 'I suppose Airy [George Airy] will not think of offering him for though he would be a better professor, it would be ungracious in him to fight Peacock - and after all it makes no difference. For French if he be a candidate will undoubtedly be elected'.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - If WW gets a chance tonight he will send RJ the results of Airy's [George Airy] 'enquiries about wages etc - you will see that they apply to a particular district'. It now seems that no tutor or lector is eligible - Airy who is no lector, though a lecturer, is a candidate. Of course he has no chance which is a pity as he would make the best professor of all of us'.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Old Hummums - WW gives the value and etymology of the hectare. Sends RJ a pamphlet [by Brereton?] which he thinks gives 'lots of support to your speculations - or if you disdain this - of coincidence with your results - as to the increase of population having occurred in the non-agricultural classes, while the number of the cultivators have been stationary or in some instances declined - of the greater steadiness of labour produced by the new agriculture - of the bad effects of the poor laws upon the people and of the magistrates on the poor laws - of the sufficiency of the demand for labour and various other laudable lucubrations'. WW has purchased one or two other pamphlets - one being 'On the Price of Corn and Wages of Labour' by Edward West. WW likes the pamphlet he has sent RJ because 'all the facts naturally find their place in the theory as they rise'. He has sent RJ a map of the world which he wants him 'to paint in the most brilliant colours by which rent can be represented'.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW is preparing the sermons he is to give at St. Mary's in February. He is shortly departing with Sedgwick [Adam Sedgwick] on an expedition to Paris. He is behind in writing the sermons: 'with time enough I should not fear the greater part of the work - all the argument about the activity and omnipresence of the Deity, but when I come to the indications of benevolent design in the moral frame of society I have not such an habitual familiarity with the view of the subject in its details as merits with the confidence and vehemence which would be becoming. I have no doubt I should get on better if I had you at my elbow'. Babbage is in Cambridge canvassing for the Lucasian Chair - John Herschel is here to support him - 'but all in vain'. George Airy has been elected. WW thinks this a good choice - he 'will reside and give lectures - practical and painstaking ones - who is par eminence a mathematician - and whose reputation will all go to the account of the university'.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW is sorry that he caused RJ any uneasiness in his last letter [see WW to RJ, 10 December 1826]: 'I never intended to publish, and I do not think that I shall preach any thing which will brush the most delicate bloom of novelty off your plums'. Moral considerations are only considered in WW's last sermon, the others are mainly concerned with the physical sciences. He will not 'in fact have any possible room for more than a very short attack on the principle of population'. WW is aware 'that I see all this far more clearly than I should otherwise have done, in consequence of our discussions on such matters...The principal advantage I shall derive from knowing your views - and indeed it is one of the greatest possible - will be that I shall talk confidently of that which I do not prove and assent loudly that a good deal more may be known and will be so when any body comes with the right kind of wisdom to the task'.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW has just preached his last sermon: 'I have got through them without getting quite up to the moral part of my subject...No population and in short nothing but one or two analogies from the natural world to illustrate the probability of our being very fairly ignorant of the non general law of the moral world [see WW to RJ, 15 December 1826]. The wish was an attempt to make science fall in with a contemplative devotion which I don't think was difficult though people seem from the notion they had of scientific men to have thought it must be impossible'.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW has been waiting for the arrival of RJ's work on population. He would like to see his work on rent appear first 'because I think it will impress people most with the originality and tendency of the book' ['An Essay on the Distribution of Wealth and on the Sources of Taxation: Part 1. - Rent', 1831].

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - Lady Malcolm has been ill for some time now and will have to forget about going to India. WW hopes to get abroad. RJ should try and get a copy of John Herschel's address to the Astronomical Society - 'it is very eloquent and spirited - I understand he talks of going to Madeira'.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - Further to Herschel's intention of going to Madeira [see WW to RJ, 28 May 1827]: 'he has some half intention of going farther - probably to Teneriffe to add to his stock of volcanic observations - I was told too that he did not wish these plans to be talked of, as his lady mother will most likely set her face against them'. WW needs to become more 'acquainted with mineralogy if I really am to be professor...To confess to you a secret, which I hardly confess to myself, I much doubt whether this professorship is a business I shall make anything of. It will take a long time to turn me into a good mineralogist and lead me into paths out of the way of my favourite pursuits'.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW has sent RJ various travel books which he hopes will answer his ends. 'Lady M. [Lady Malcolm] is ill and unsettled but I think getting better and M.M. is speculating in conjunction with the guesser at truth [Julius Hare], who has been for some time with them and is almost domesticated in the family. I expect him here today or tomorrow as he is to spend the summer here in translating Niebuhr's [Barthold Georg Niebuhr] Roman history'.

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