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Letter from Michael Foster to Lord Kelvin

Shelford.—Discusses arrangements for a forthcoming dinner of the Royal Society.

(Dated Monday.)

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Transcript

Shelford. Monday. Ev.

My dear President,

Telegram to hand—This is very annoying; it was such a real good toast list.

I think now it will be best to ask Lord Salisbury to propose the toast instead of replying to it—& to “couple” your “name” with it. Your response as being that of an official of the Society can be quite brief & without sitting down you can go on to propose the Medalists†—this will save us a speech and we have a quite long enough list {1}

But Harcourt’s failing puts us in another corner—With the Lord Chancellor & Harcourt both speaking the way was clear to ask Ld Ashbourne—this from your telegram you have done. But it will look onesided to have Salisbury & Ashbourne as against Chancellor.

If he falls out we certainly ought to ask Shaw Fevre {2}—in fact we ought even if he accepts, & Rhodes fails—perhaps even if Rhodes does not fail. Let me know what you think.

I go up to Burlington House on Wednesday to finally arrange table—shall be there from mid-day onwards—Please write to me there your opinion of the above & if you have to wire on Wednes. wire me there—Perhaps you will authorize me to write in your name if necessary. On Wednesday we shall know more definitely who is coming, & what answers you have had—& we must then do our best & I will write to whom we may decide on, if there is need. If may be desirable for me to wire you on Wednes. aft, & get an immediate reply—perhaps you will arrange for this

Ever yours
M. Foster

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Letter-head of the Royal Society, Burlington House, London, W. Kelvin was President of the Society from 1890 to 1895, and Foster was Secretary from 1881 to 1903. The letter concerns arrangements for the Society’s annual anniversary dinner on Friday, 30 Nov. 1894, at which the Lord Chancellor, the Marquess of Salisbury, and Lord Ashbourne, all mentioned in the letter, were present (see The Times, 1 Dec. 1894, p. 10).

{1} Foster’s suggestions were adopted. See the Times article cited above.

{2} G. J. Shaw-Lefevre, who had attended the dinner in 1892 (The Times, 1 Dec. 1892, p. 6).

† Sic.

Letter from G. G. Stokes to Sir William Thomson

Observatory, Armagh.—Will come and see him, unless something unforeseen arises.

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Transcript

Observatory Armagh
4th Septr 1876

My dear Thomson,

I have just got your telegram. I was nearly on a balance and your telegram makes the go side preponderate; at least unless some unforeseen hitch arises. So I will say expect me unless you get a telegram to the Contrary. I hope you have not kept for me anything but the smallest room at your disposal as I come alone.

I intend to go by the later Mail boat and stick to it (i.e. not go by rail from Greenock) so as not to get in inconveniently early.

Yours sincerely
G. G. Stokes

Letter from James P. Joule to Sir William Thomson

5 Cliff Point, Higher Broughton, Manchester.—Thomson’s paper was well received by the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society.

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Transcript

5 Cliff Point | Hr Broughton | Manchester 23/3/70

Dear Thomson

We had the best meeting of our Society {1} there has been this year, nearly every one of any mark in the Manchester scientific world being present. Your paper {2} was received with a great deal of interest and is now in the printers hands so as to give you time to see a proof

Yours ever truly
James P Joule

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{1} A meeting of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, held the previous day. Joule was president.

{2} Thomson’s paper, ‘Voltaic Potential Differences and Atomic Sizes’, printed in the Society’s Proceedings, vol. ix, pp. 136–41.

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