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Draft of a letter from A. S. Eddington to Arthur Schuster

Transcript

(copy)

Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London, S.E.
1909 Nov. 15

Dear Dr. Schuster

You will, I am sure, not be surprised that I have delayed a little replying to your important letter. I had not at all thought of such a change, and it was a matter requiring very careful consideration. Whilst the idea of returning to Physics, and perhaps especially to academic work, was in many respects attractive, I have however decided that it is best for me not to leave my present work. I need not trouble you with the reasons that have led me to this difficult decision; rightly or wrongly I have concluded that the suggestion and opportunities that I meet with in a large observatory are more likely to lead to good research work on my part {1} than any I could hope for elsewhere.

With many thanks
yours sincerely
A. S. Eddington

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The letter is headed ‘copy’ but, since it contains a correction, it is probably a draft.

{1} ‘the suggestion …. on my part’ has been altered from ‘the suggestion and opportunities of research work that I meet with in a large observatory are more likely to lead to good results on my part’.

Draft of a testimonial by A. S. Eddington for W. M. Smart

Transcript

Observatory, Cambridge
21 May 1936

Dr W. M. Smart’s application for the Chair of Regius Professor of Astronomy in the University of Glasgow has my warmest support. He is a man of established reputation in astronomical circles who would fill the office with distinction; and he has proved himself very successful as a lecturer and teacher. He would be much missed from this Observatory and from the University; but promotion to a professorial chair would be a fitting recognition of his work.

Dr Smart has been Chief Assistant in the Observatory and John Couch Adams Astronomer since 1921. There is only one other Assistant. The policy of the Observatory has been to avoid routine undertakings and to develop new methods. Two main lines of work have been developed during his tenure—an improved method of determining photographic proper motions of stars, and measurement of stellar magnitudes with a photo-electric cell. As regards the former it may, I think, be claimed that the Cambridge results set a new standard of accuracy for large series of proper motions. Photo-electric work is still confined to two or three observatories (Cambridge being the only British one). After a long struggle with pioneer difficulties the work is now proceeding with great success, and astonishing accuracy is obtained. A large share of the credit for these results is due to Dr Smart.

On the theoretical side his earlier work was in celestial mechanics. But in connection with the practical work above-mentioned his more recent interests have {1} been mainly in proper motions and other branches of stellar statistics, to which he is one of the most active contributors. He is a member of the Commission of the International Astronomical Union on Stellar Parallaxes and Proper Motions.

His teaching work covers elementary lectures on astronomy, advanced lectures on celestial mechanics and on stellar motions and a practical class at the observatory. Judging from the response of the students he is a stimulating lecturer. He normally supervises one or two research students.

An important part of his experience is his work as Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society during the last five years. This brings him into touch with astronomers in all parts of the world, so that he is in full contact with all modern developments. It is perhaps not irrelevant to mention that he is Treasurer of the Royal Astronomical Society Dining Club—an office (of which the duties are by no means confined to the care of money) which is a tribute to his popularity with his colleagues.

To sum up:—He has shown himself able to make the most of the resources of a small observatory; he is well-known and esteemed internationally; he is successful with students; and is well used to administrative activity.

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The various cancelled words and passages in this letter have not been recorded, except for the mistaken deletion noted below.

{1} Struck through by mistake.

Letter from Giacomo Casanova to Carlo Casanova

Transcript

Dux 2 xbre 1791

Signor Nipote Carlo

Ho fatto subito jeri pagare all’onorato mercante Sala otto talari che gli dovevo, e ch’egli medesimo politamente mi disse l’anno passato che glieli pagherei al mio ritorno a Dresda, offrendomi ancora altra cioccolata se volevo, onde al vostro solito avete mentito.

Voi mi avete scritto una lettera da pazzo scapestrato impertinente, insolente, e mal onesta, che mai creditore scrisse a debitore, che mai nipote scrisse a Zio. Qual mai fu l’effetto, che la vostra vuota, ed ignorante testa pretese di ritrarre dalle ingiurie che mi dite in quella lettera?, voi che mi avete detto cento volte che non siete sensibile che alle parole, che le bastonate istesse in confronto delle parole vi sembrano carezze, voi che domandandomi à Venezia il mio divin perdono dopo il vostro latrocinio mi diceste un giorno di bastonarvi più tosto, ma di non mai rimproverarvelo. Ed io né vi rimproverai, né vi bastonai, né vi feci mettere in una fortezza, come vostro padre mi scrisse che dovevo fare, ma vi perdonai, e non vi rimprovero adesso la vostra infamia che per la cagione che la temerità con cui mi scriveste mi dimostra che ve la siete dimenticata. Ditemi, se eravate ubbriaco, quando mi avete scritto quella lettera, e vi accorderò il divin perdono che domandereste fino alla morte, che otterreste sempre, senza profittarne mai. Volete che vi rimandi la vostra impertinente lettera, che mi ha fatto tanto ridere? Ve la rimanderò: rispondetemi. Spero che rileggendola avrete quella vergogna che, impudente, non avete avuto a scrivermela.

Alla mia partenza da Dresda in Agosto dell’anno scorso vi dovevo (se non sbaglio) quaranta talari. Appena arrivato qui in Dux ve ne mandai venti. Dunque restano venti, e se fossero di più non negherò il mio debito tanto più che dite, cosa della quale non mi ricordo, che vi ho fatto una cambiale. Sappiate che un uomo onesto possessore di una cambiale non ha il dritto di dire ingiurie al debitore: il solo dritto che ha è quello di fargliela presentare nelle regole, e di procedere secondo le tranquille regole della giustizia, se non la paga. Fate dunque così ancor voi. Feci l’anno passato a Dresda due cambiali al mercante da panni, le mandò qui alla scadenza, e ventiquattr’ore dopo le pagai. Voi dunque, che volete far il mestiere di mercante, imparate a farlo con le leggi civili dell’onestà. Non sarà mai vero, povero nipote mio, che il denaro che io posso dovervi, abbia ad esser cagione che scappiate un altra volta da Dresda. Prima di arrivare a quest’eccesso gettatevi un’altra volta à piedi di vostro padre, domandategli il divin perdono, ed astenetevi dal dargli maggior afflizione, preparandovi però a ricevere con animo compunto la paterna correzione in parole, e vergognatevi alla fine di dire che preferite le bastonate, linguaggio di Galeotto, che sembra d’eroe alla vostra testa matta.

Andate dunque domani dal Signor Sala, portategli la cambiale che qualifica il mio debito, pregatelo di mandarla a Toeplitz al suo corrispondente, ed io quando l’avrò veduta la ritirerò pagandola, e così non avrete più ragione alcuna di dirmi ingiurie.

Non crediate che per questa vostra stramberia io sia in colera con voi—No. Spero che ne siate già pentito, e voglio finire la mia lettera, dandovi un buon consiglio. Eccolo.

Cambiate di condotta avanti che vostro padre paghi alla natura il grande inevitabil debito, o prevedetevi miserabile fino alla morte. Cominciate intanto a disporvi di palesargli tutti gl’imbrogli in cui vi siete immerso, e che mi son noti. Dio vi benedica.

Sono sempre con verità
Vostro affettuosissimo Zio
Giacomo

[Direction:] A Monsieur | Monsieur Charles Casanova | Au troisieme étage de l’hôtel de Saxe | à Dresde

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Translation

Dux [Duchcov], 2 December 1791

Mr Nephew Carlo,

Yesterday I had the eight thalers paid at once that I owed to the respected merchant Sala. Last year he himself told me politely that I could pay him when I returned to Dresden, and he offered me more chocolate if I wanted it. So as usual you’ve lied.

You’ve written me the letter of a reckless madman, impertinent, insolent, and dishonest, such as no creditor ever wrote to a debtor and no nephew to an uncle. Whatever did your empty and ignorant head expect to accomplish with the insults in that letter? You who have told me a hundred times that you’re sensitive only to words and who said that compared to words a beating would seem like caresses to you; you who begged my ’divine forgiveness’ in Venice after you stole; you who once told me to beat you rather than reproach you. And I didn’t reproach you, or beat you, or have you locked up, as your father wrote to tell me I should, but I forgave you; and I’m not reproaching you now for that disgraceful action, since the audacity in your letter shows that you’ve forgotten all about it. Tell me, were you drunk when you wrote that letter? If so, I will grant the ’divine forgiveness’ you’re asking for right up until death, and you’ll always receive it without my taking advantage of it. Do you want me to return the impertinent letter that made me laugh so hard? I’ll return it; just let me know. When you reread it I hope you’ll feel the shame that you didn’t feel when you were writing it.

When I left Dresden in August of last year, I owed you (if I’m not mistaken) forty thalers. As soon as I arrived here in Dux I sent you twenty. So there’s still twenty, and if it’s more than that I won’t deny whatever you tell me it is; I don’t remember having given you a promissory note. You should know that an honest man who has a promissory note has no right to insult his debtor. The only right he has is to make him pay according to the rules, and if he doesn’t do that, to proceed peacefully in accordance with rules of justice. Then do so. In Dresden last year I gave two promissory notes to the clothing merchant, who sent the clothes when they were ready, and I paid him twenty-four hours later. You therefore, who want to become a merchant, should learn to do likewise, in accordance with civil law. It can never be, my poor nephew, that money I owe you should be the reason you flee from Dresden again. Before you go to that extreme, throw yourself once more at your father’s feet, beg him for his ’divine forgiveness’, and refrain from giving him greater affliction. Be prepared, however, to receive paternal correction with a contrite mind, and lastly, be ashamed to say you would rather be beaten. That’s the language of a galley slave, though it seems heroic to your crazy head.

So go to Mr Sala tomorrow, take him the promissory note that records my debt, and ask him to send it to his correspondent in Toeplitz. When I’ve seen it I will remit payment, and then you won’t have any reason to insult me further.

Do not believe that I’m angry at you for your strange behaviour. No, I hope you’ve already regretted it, and I want to end my letter by giving you some good advice. Here it is:

Alter your conduct before your father pays the great inevitable debt to nature, or I foresee that you will be wretched until your own death. Meanwhile prepare to reveal to him all the imbroglios you’ve gotten into, which are well known to me. God bless you.

I am always truly
Your most affectionate uncle,
Giacomo

[Direction:] To Mr | Mr Charles Casanova | Third Floor, Hôtel de Saxe | Dresden

Letter from W. W. Greg to H. S. Bennett

Standlands, River, Petworth, Sussex.—Refers to his catalogue of English manuscripts in the Library of Trinity College (see O.11.5), and to his plan—long since abandoned—of compiling a corpus of all English manuscript works down to 1500.

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Transcript

Standlands, River, Petworth, Sussex
25 Sept. 1944

Dear Bennett

When I drew up that catalogue of 100 English MSS at Trinity, at the time I was librarian, I naturally hoped that the College might see its way to print it. Then came the last war and any idea of the sort had of course to be abandoned. By the time things settled down again I was busy in other fields, and moreover the catalogue I knew had become in some respects out of date. Had I examined it I should probably also have found it unsatisfactory. So I did no more about it and finally deposited the MS in the Library for the use of any one who might be interested. I need hardly say that it is at the disposal of you or of any body else who should be able to use it as a basis for further work.

During the last war I dreamed of compiling a corpus of all English manuscript works down to 1500. It would have been a big undertaking. I estimated, on a very rough basis, that there [are] some 5000 MSS surviving, exclusive of legal and diplomatic documents, private letters, and collections of recipes. I envisaged the work in three parts. (1) A catalogue, possibly roughly chronological, of the actuall† MSS, with full bibliographical descriptions, giving particular attention to the make-up and growth of the MSS when these were not written all at one time. (2) A catalogue of the works they contained, giving the MSS of each and such information as was possible concerning the relation of the MSS. (3) An atlas containing some hundreds of facsimiles of pages from the manuscripts, especially the dated or datable ones, with transcripts and palaeographical notes. I also had in mind a catalogue of all works to 1500 giving a brief literary account of each with and† specimen of some 50 lines transcribed exactly from the oldest or most authentic MS. An ambitious project! which I need not say I have long since abandoned.

Best wishes

Yours
W. W. Greg

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Marked at the head in pencil, ‘Letter to H S Bennett, Emmanuel College, given by H S Bennett to Trinity College Library.’

Letter from Miss E. Tritton to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

British-Asian and Overseas Socialist Fellowship, Transport House, Smith Square, London, S.W.1.—Asks him to address a meeting of the Fellowship, at which Jayaprakesh Narayan will be the chief speaker.

(Signed for the International Department, Labour Party.)

Letter from Ian S. Campbell to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

British-Asian and Overseas Socialist Fellowship, Transport House, Smith Square, London, S.W.1.—Thanks him for addressing a meeting of the Fellowship at short notice. The meeting was a success, despite the absence of Jayaprakesh Narayan.

(Signed as Secretary.)

Letter from Lord Casey to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Commonwealth Offices, Treasury Place, Melbourne, C.2.—Asks permission to use a letter he wrote to Pethick-Lawrence in his book (Personal Experience, 1939–46). Hopes to have a draft ready when he goes to London in March, via the United States.

Letter from Lord Casey to Lord Pethick-Lawrence

Commonwealth Offices, Treasury Place, Melbourne, C.2.—Has already agreed to submit a draft of his book to Norman Brook for governmental approval (see 1/115). Intends to submit copies of the text to publishers in London in April.

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