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Sedgwick, Adam (1785-1873) geologist
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Letter from William Whewell

WW is sorry to hear that HJR is ill. HJR's old pupil, [Charles J.] Goodhart, is a particular favourite with Thomas Thorp. WW did not mean to suggest he had quarrelled with Miller's Bampton Lectures since he has not read them: 'But I suppose I should have asked you what you mean by your school and my school. I do not know that my views and opinions are those of any class of people and they certainly are not those which have often served as a basis for the jokes of our common acquaintances - your school is I presume the Wordsworthian, and I believe that many of the persons whom, I imagine, you would include in it have exceedingly amiable and deeply seated religious & moral views & feelings - but what these have to do with... Coleridge's rant of etymologico-Platonic speculations is what I have never been able to make out'. They have been fighting in Cambridge over the right of election. Adam Sedgwick 'has just printed a pamphlet on the subject which is quite admirable - I cannot send it you but I beg you to believe on my word that we are exceedingly in the right and that the heads in general & French in particular are greatly in the wrong'.

Letter from John William Lubbock

Naples, Italy - JWL has been taking singing lessons in counterpoint from a top Italian teacher. Gives news of his travels to various places including the summit of Vesuvius. JWL sends his best to Mr Hamilton and Mr Sedgwick if they are in Cambridge, and hopes 'Mr Hamilton's book will do something towards introducing algebraical analysis at Cambridge'.

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'.

Letter from John Herschel

JH sends a certificate in favour of Ritchie who wants to become a fellow of the Royal Society. Would WW also sign it and if [Adam] Sedgwick is around get him to add his name.

Letter from William Whewell

WW has 'spoken with Prickett [Marmaduke Prickett, Chaplain of Trinity College, 1836-38] about his intentions and find as I supposed that he does not hesitate being a candidate for a fellowship next term & so that there will be no obstacle on that head in the way of his belonging in your vineyard. It appears that the Master, who I think mentioned his name to you had not spoken to him of the possibility of such a proposal from you; but it is I think much to the credit of his judgement & principles, as well as a good enquiry for his being a useful & satisfactory assistant to you, that he is particularly delighted with the idea of entering the church under your auspices'. WW is sorry to hear of JHR's asthma. WW has 'only just begun Napier ['Peninsular War']. Sedgwick [Adam Sedgwick] is delighted with the military views which it contains...but he is not insensible to the faults you mention. He seems to think, & Peacock also that it may change people's opinion of Cintra & Moore. I think it was very bad reading for a man with a weak chest & so you seem to have found it'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

It is hard for someone to write a letter when they are working fifteen hours a day. AS describes the areas he has been geologising in Scotland and his planned trips elsewhere. AS is 'delighted with what I have seen of the Highlanders'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS is writing from an inn on the Northwest coast of Ross. He gives an outline of his intended movements. If WW wishes to join them 'I can promise you a most hospitable reception from the Highland ladies'. AS gives an extended description of the south coast of Mull on the Western Isles.

William Whewell to Julius Charles Hare

The Rev. G. Kent wants John Brown to give him a reference for a position at a public school in Truro. WW has supplied the relevant information to Brown except Kent's address (enclosed). Can JCH get from Mr Edward a 'cutting of myself' - WW needs one to send to his sister [Ann Whewell]. He would also like one of Adam Sedgwick to send to Lady Malcolm. WW and Lady Malcolm parted yesterday: 'I can by no means persuade myself that she and I parted yesterday for years'. He did not get to see the children but he did see a 'representation of them' by Mrs Robinson - 'I was not satisfied'.

Letter from Adam Sedgwick

AS will be back sometime between the 15th and 20th. Could WW get Smith to publish a notice of his lectures in the usual way. 'During the last two months I have been toiling hard against the Snowdonian hills and have done some work which I will tell you of when we meet'.

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.

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW is sorry RJ has been ill. However, he is annoyed that RJ did not send his manuscript and get on with the printing of his book ['An Essay on the Distribution of Wealth, and on the Sources of Taxation: Part 1. - Rent', 1831]. RJ should think about coming to hear Adam Sedgwick's lectures - 'the first 3 days of each week at 1 o'clock'.

Richard Jones to William Whewell

RJ has heard that the next Quarterly Review has been advertised with a review of RJ's book in it ['Review of An Essay on the Distribution of Wealth and the Sources of Taxation by the Rev. Richard Jones', The Quarterly Review, 1832]: 'I shall hardly believe it till I see it...Murray and C. are greater noodles still - what the deuce could they all mean with their equivocation and mystery - truly the smallness of the wisdom that governs the literary world deserves to be embodied in a new proverb in which their names should figure. I shall rejoice much to see it. I was prepared to be magnanimous if it was left out - but I knew all along that the circulation of the book depended essentially and mainly on it'. Maria Edgeworth paid RJ a visit - 'tell Sedgwick [Adam Sedgwick] all this. I shall be disappointed if he is not very jealous'. RJ does not know when he will be sending up the manuscript to volume two and hopes WW will not be angry at the delay - it 'is assuming a dignified and attractive shape in my mind'. He has read John Briggs 'Land and Tax in India I wish I had seen it before - but it is clear that that Indian scholars are fighting about the use of language not about facts - I have invented a neutral phraseology which will simply express the facts and avoid disputed names and I regret not to have used it in Rents'.

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.

Letter from George Cayley to Adam Sedgwick

Brompton - GC is 'so immersed in the ferment of politics' that he has been slow to respond to AS's circular [possibly a request urging money for education]. The subscription started very modestly and it would have been better to have had a few of the founders attaching a 'few hundreds' to their name. GC Cannot go to the Oxford [BAAS] meeting but hopes it will be in Cambridge next year. This 'British Institute' must 'be studiously and strenuously kept open as a genuine republic of science'.

William Whewell to Julius Charles Hare

Adam Sedgwick's Commemoration Day sermon was 'as I think you know, a beautiful and profound dissertation as he delivered it; and having been rethought and rewritten since it is much more beautiful and coherent; and along with certain notes which he has appended to it, it forms an essay upon philosophy, morals, and academical education which it will delight you to read' ['A Discourse on the Studies of the University', 1833]. George Peacock preached 'a sort of political essay in the duty of regulating our views and feelings in accordance with the new and reformed state of things, which though by no means devoid of cleverness and dignity sounded rather like an article in the Morning Post than a sermon'. Something much better was given by the Trinity student Birks [Thomas R. Birks, 2nd Wrangler 1834] who gave a dissertation on the subject ''that there is a moral truth which in its own way is as certain as mathematical truth' such as I really do not know any other person who could have written - the philosophy was most profound and consistent, and the views of the nature of morality of the fine and elevated kind which I hope we shall always hear from our best men here...His images often reminded me of Bacon's; - a mighty flash of ornament with a clear thread of poignant analogy sparkling through it'. WW is to concentrate on his own philosophy 'such as shall really give a right and wholesome turn to men's minds'.

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 William Daniel Conybeare

WDC is sorry that he wasted any of WW's time. He had thought both WW and Sedgwick had attributed to him an unfounded degree of ignorance which made him annoyed. WDC is now flattered with the attention WW has paid him over his query, which accept for 'some differences rather metaphysical than physical between us' has been settled. When he first made it he only had Faraday's papers before him and had forgot to look at 'earlier writers and see if they had not determined the law of the tangential electro magnetic force, which of course would give me the result I sought as to the Time of revolution by the simplest process'. Barlow [Peter Barlow?] has found the tangential force of galvanic particles on magnetic to be inversely as the squares of the distances and therefore the Times will be directly as the squares of the distances. WW corrects him on his notion of force; 'its strict definition as the cause of change of motion'. WDC accepts this as long as one agrees that motion exists in the first place: 'but here physics seems to me to pass into metaphysics and I cannot conceive but that, recurring to the origin of things a state of rest is more natural than a state of motion - Hence I have a lurking fancy to understand by force not only the cause of a change of existing motion but the original cause of the motion whatsoever...if a tangential force had not been impressed in them at their creation, they would all have huddled together in an heap'.

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

William Whewell to Richard Jones

Trinity College - WW is pleased RJ's Statistical Society has started well: 'I should have been sorry if you had not taken it for granted that I wished to be one of you'. WW would be pleased to be on the council if it is clear other people as well as RJ wish it. WW is against the University Whig reformers who want to see unrestricted admission and graduation for Dissenters: 'Their petition appeared to me very wild, except as a mere ministerial move. As to the substance of the petition, it throws down before the Dissenters the College fellowships, which they did not ask for, but which being thus offered to them they will of course claim. I think the fellowships a necessary support to the established church; and I think the church a necessary part of our social system'. WW is disillusioned with the views of Musgrave [Thomas Musgrave?], Sedgwick [Adam Sedgwick] and Peacock [George Peacock]. WW encourages RJ to get on with his work on wages: 'your book is of more consequence than a cart load of such petitions'.

William Whewell to Julius Charles Hare

WW sends JCH his second pamphlet on the Connop Thirlwall controversy ['Additional Remarks on...Mr Thirlwall', 1834. For the controversy see WW to JCH, 28 May 1834]: 'You will see that I have ventured a little further into politics than I did before'. WW would like to send him two Cambridge newspapers which contain another branch of the controversy between Sedgwick [Adam Sedgwick] and Selwyn [William Selwyn]: 'I fear you will think that Sedgwick has been rather overbearing'. In Thirwall's second letter ['A Second Letter to the Rev. T. Turton Containing a Vindication of Some Passages in a Former Letter on the Admission of Dissenters to Academical Degrees', 1834] he says of WW 'that I am a friend who has spoken in the tone and language of friendship'.

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