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Maxwell, James Clerk (1831–1879) physicist
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James David Forbes to William Whewell

3 Princes Buildings, Clifton, Bristol - JDF gives an account of his ill health: 'I believe that there is no reason to conclude as yet that tubercles have been formed'. He is reading WW's pamphlet ['Of a Liberal Education in general...3. The Revised Statutes 1851-1852', 1851]. He has been asked to continue Playfair's and Leslie's dissertations on the progress of science to the present time - 'an arduous task - which I am hesitating whether to engage in or not'. JDF is pleased Guthrie Tait was senior wrangler - 'He is a pupil of mine and a hard headed fellow of whom I always thought well. Does Clerk Maxwell attach himself to the studies of the place?'

James David Forbes to William Whewell

Weston-Super-Mare - JDF is disappointed that he developed such a bad cold at the time WW was in Clifton: 'It is one of the trials incident to the invalid state that I could profit so little by your stay at Clifton'. He went to Torquay for three days for a change of air, but really wants to try 'the bracing air of the higher Alps'. He was glad to read in the newspapers and hear from WW, that Clerk Maxwell gained his scholarship: 'Pray do not suppose, though I take an interest in him, that I am not aware of his exceeding uncouthness, as well mathematical as in other respects; indeed, as he has passed through my examinations, I have been a sufferer from it, and cannot flatter myself that I exerted almost any possible influence on him. I thought the Society and Drill of Cambridge the only chance of taming him, and much advised his going; but I have no idea that he will be senior wrangler. But he is most tenacious of physical reasonings of a mathematical class, and perceives them far more clearly than he can express'. JDF has been re-reading WW's history and philosophy: 'The metaphysics of the latter I must leave quite on one side as too hard for me at present, or perhaps at any time'.

James David Forbes to William Whewell

Edinburgh - JDF has not passed an autumn without illness since 1851, and gives WW a long description of how his good health has been achieved. The sudden death of Edward Forbes 'has produced a profound sensation'. Only a few days ago JDF had attended one of his lectures. JDF would have put aside his dispute with Louis Agassiz, and should have been glad to see him if he could be persuaded to come over: 'but unfavourable reports of his views of geology connected with scripture, the unity of the human races etc are here in circulation, of the truth of which I know nothing'. Clerk Maxwell is currently with JDF - he is much improved by his stay at Cambridge, and 'spoke to me in a very manly way about his disappointment of a fellowship'. Maxwell has made some 'ingenious experiments and deductions about combinations of colours..and also about Daltonians or Idiopts'. How does WW feel about the government drawing away Stokes and Willis to become lecturers in London 'to (at best) a very limited class of students, thus peculiarly favoured'. JDF is sorry to hear of the 'serious difference' between Challis and Adams.

James David Forbes to William Whewell

Pitlochry - JDF thanks WW for sending the minutes of the Council of the Royal Society: 'I am deeply gratified by your kind exertions to obtain for me a recognition of my labours which I had long ceased to expect'. Lady Affleck must not think JDF has 'forgotten my promise about her brother' [JDF wrote an obituary of Robert L. Ellis]: 'William Thomson has given me a few notes on his mathematical qualities of mind, which is the only other assistance I have sought'. JDF returns the printed minutes of the council, and 'was exceedingly gratified that Prof. Miller seconded my nomination. It was the more flattering because his friend Weber was in the field'. He is pleased that Clerk Maxwell is proposed for a Royal Medal for his 'masterly paper on colour'.

Letter from W. K. Clifford to William and Mary F. Clifford

Trinity College, Cambridge.—Thanks them for a dressing-gown. Is feeling better, and got through his Whewell lecture without ill effects. There is concern that the Tests Bill will be shelved again, but the evidence presented by the Master and Appleton is good. Maxwell comes to see him and gives him ideas. Hopes they are both better.

Letter from W. K. Clifford to Frederick Pollock

Monte Generoso, [Mendrisio, Switzerland].—It is very cold. Gives an account of their travels since they left Malta. Refers to a review by [P. G.] Tait. Hopes that the news from Belgium ‘has given all the cardinals the stom-ach-ache’.

J. M. E. McTaggart: college stories

Trinity College stories gathered by McTaggart from Henry Jackson and others, numbered and arranged by date from 1896 to 1922. Following the main grouping of stories are light verses related to College matters by James Clerk Maxwell, J. P. Postgate, F. M. Cornford, Kennedy, and J. K. Stephen, and a cutting of a poem about William Whewell by [Tom Taylor?]; printed obituaries of William Hepworth Thompson, a letter from James Mayo dated 20 Jan. 1905, and two letters from Henry Jackson dated 8-9 Oct. 1879.

McTaggart, John McTaggart Ellis (1866-1925) philosopher

Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his sister Mary "Minnie" Benson

[Sent from Terling Place]:- Announces that he and Nora are not going to Rome as they had planned, partly due to his academic work, and partly due to the fact that he has 'been drawn more and more into some [local] quasi-philanthropic work at Cambridge' which involves the reconstructing of the old Mendicity Society on the principles of the London Charity Organisation Society, and which requires his presence there at Christmas time. Discusses the difficulties of the task; in his view, the 'people who ought to be helped 'are 'so often just trembling morally on the verge of helpless pauperism', and it is hard to say whether help 'will cheer and stimulate a man to help himself, or 'push him gently into the passive condition of letting society take him in hand and do what it will with him'.

Discusses Rayleigh's possible transfer to Cambridge, and refers to all the mathematical professors having signed a memorial to urge him to come and succeed Maxwell as Professor of Experimental Physics. Remarks that it is unusual to give up leisure and the comforts of a country house 'unless one is quite sure that one's duty to society requires it.' Asks her for her opinion of Ada [Benson, engaged to be married], and asks her to send him Ada's address. States that they were 'very much delighted to hear of it' and that [Henry Weston?] Eve has told them 'good things of him [Andrew McDowall, Ada's fiancé].' Reports that they have seen Arthur, but not William, who is not very well. Sends his and Nora's love to Edward and the children, and asks how much came from the 'Personal Appeal' after all.

James David Forbes to William Whewell

Phesdo by Laurencekirk, N.B. - WW has 'been looking into our Transactions I may mention that the author of not the most inconsiderable or least original paper in the collection Mr James Clerk Maxwell (the paper is on the Mathematical Theory of Elastic Solids) is about to enter himself as a freshman at St Peters. He is about 18, is a nephew of Sir George Clerk, not a little uncouth in manners, but...one of the most original young men I ever met with, and with an extraordinary aptitude for physical enquiries'.