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Sedgwick, Adam (1785-1873) geologist
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William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW notes that the Tithe Bill is got through the Commons and is now in the Lords [see WW to RJ, 9 April 1836]: 'I hope you have now a fair prospect of success both in your public and private project'. WW has taken the opportunity in the new edition of his book to say a word about the controversy between him and the Edinburgh Reviewer ['Astronomy and General Physics Considered with Reference to Natural Theology', 3rd edn., 1836]. Adam Sedgwick's Bevesleiad is reprinted: 'I am afraid that from it and Lord Lyndhurst's [John Singleton Copley] speech people will suppose that at Trinity we practice ourselves in calling names. They ought to make Sedgwick a bishop and put him against Copley'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick to Everina Frances Affleck

On his journey to Dent AS felt so tired at Newark station that he rested for two hours before going on to Leeds by a later train - 'now I am nearly well'. He found his brother [John Sedgwick] in a 'state of such disability - so weak as to be quite unable to keep up a conversation'.

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.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

Could WW give AS details of the approximate time and day he expects to arrive. It does not look like George and Richarda Airy will be joining them: 'Airy is so busy with the moon that he has not time for any one else'.

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.

William Whewell to Julius Charles Hare

If Ma-Man is still with JCH on the 6th, WW will try to come to them for a day. He gave Mrs Augustus Hare a copy of his short critique of Hegel's vagaries to pass to JCH [On Hegel's Criticism of Newton's Principia, 1849]: 'There is nothing which so entirely deprives men of all respect for German heads in the matter of reasoning as the way in which they have allowed Hegel to dominate over them. It appears to me that on every subject he is equally fanciful and shallow though he may not be so demonstratively wrong as in the matter of Newton. Sedgwick [Adam Sedgwick] is mightily delighted and entertained with my paper'.

Letter from William Whewell

WW sends HJR a document of some customary payments owed to him from Trinity College - 'its being the last of such literary essays which you will receive from me'. All WW's duties keeping accounts have been passed on to somebody else. WW is pleased 'to hear a good account of your university [HJR was Professor of Divinity at Durham University]... I wish most heartily among other novelties you would some of you discover or write a system of morals which might take the place of Paley & Locke. Sedgwick [Adam Sedgwick] tells me he has sent you his sermon; when you read it you will see that he has declared war against both Paley & Locke. This puts them in a different footing in Cambridge from that on which they have hitherto been; for though opinions to the same effect were in very general circulation in the place, they were never I think clothed with anything like an authoritative expression before. The task of writing a system of ethics is certainly not easy, for it must not only be erected on sound principles, but so framed as to bear an advantageous comparison in its logic and execution with the best of other systems, for instance, with Paley's book - which is no easy condition. I am afraid, from what your Brit. Mag. says of Wardlaw's Christian Ethics, he has not solved this problem'.

Letter from Julius Charles Hare

Herstmonceux, Hailsham - JCH would be delighted if WW could come and visit. Has WW any news regarding the Malcolm family since their house, Warfield, was to be sold about this time. What do Trinity men and especially Adam Sedgwick say about the attack made upon him: 'The Reviewer seems to me to be often unfair, though not unintentionally so: but he is a man of no common powers'.

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