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Letter from Robert Erskine Childers to Ivor Lloyd-Jones, with provenance letter

A farewell letter written immediately before his death: 'Dearest Ivor, It doesn't matter what you think of me. I know you love me -- the first friendship in my life & indestructable. So in lieu of goodbye & from my heart & soul God bless you & Gwladys & her daughter & give you great happiness. Erskine'.

Accompanied by a letter from Ivor Lloyd-Jones to Norman de Bruyne dated 27 June 1935 donating this letter and [his copy of 'The Riddle of the Sands'] to Trinity College Library, Cambridge.

Childers, Robert Erskine (1870–1922), author and politician

Letter from John W. Graham to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Grand Hôtel des Bergues, Genève
3. Jan 1898.

Dear Mrs. Eddington,

I sent you just one bit of my ideas abt. Stanley as soon as he left us. The rest must follow now.

His presence has been a great pleasure to us. You have got a boy mixed of most kindly elements, as perhaps Shakspeare might say {1}. His rapidly and clearly working mind has not in the least spoiled his character. I don’t know when I have had to do with so modest and gentlemanly a boy. It is a testimony to day schools and home training, (not, I am afraid, my favourite theory.)

His youth has, of course, been just a little against his making friends, but has not been fatal to it. In Clayton, & in Wood & Brown he has nice associates; but he seems more contented alone than most boys are.

His work is all that I expected, & more: & I feel altogether that he is “a precious youth” committed to my charge. I can realise to some extent what Margaret would feel like if she were left alone to bring up our own little Richard.

I remain
Your friend sincerely
John W. Graham

—————

The writing-paper is engraved with illustrations of the hotel, etc. The year is wrong, as Eddington did not enter Owen’s College till October 1898 (see his Notebook).

{1} {1} Graham evidently had in mind Antony’s encomium on Brutus at the end of Julius Caesar: ‘His life was gentle, and the elements | So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up | And say to all the world “This was a man!”’

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

1912 Sept 11
R.M.S.P. Arlanza {1}

My very dear Mother

We are getting near Pernambuco now. The time at sea has passed very rapidly and pleasantly and I shall be very sorry when the voyage is over. The slightly overcast skies which we had about Madeira have given place to continual bright sunshine, but there has been a strong refreshing breeze always. Most of the regular travellers on this route say they have never known it so fresh and cool all the way. The only time I find it really hot is when I come down from the deck at night to the cabin; then for an hour or so it seems very close and I usually read for an hour to get cool again before going to sleep. The dining saloon, decks, & smoking rooms are beautifully cool. Of course I am wearing the thinnest things possible.

We did not land at St Vincent but were surrounded by boats (as at Madeira)[.] These were all occupied by negroes; the little nigger boys were very amusing[;] I tried to photograph them. I saw a shark whilst we were at anchor. We see lots of flying fish, regular shoals of them, skimming from wave to wave. Most of them are very small[,] almost like butterflies. They look very pretty in the sunlight.

I have got to know some of the southern stars now but they are poor compared with the northern ones. The Southern Cross is not visible yet[;] it is the wrong time of the year for it. The Chief Officer took me up on to “Monkey Island” above the Bridge where one gets a good clear view of the sky.

One day is much like another and I hardly keep account of time. We have had Sports, Games, Fancy Dress ball, etc. I went in for several of the Competitions—including spar-boxing (with the pillow), life-belt race, Are you there?, deck quoits, threading the needle (with Lady Grant holding the needle), but did not have much success, except at chess. I got to the Final Round at Chess, and had to play quite a young opponent for the final. We drew one game and he won the replay. They had a specially good dinner to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Independence of Brazil, and some speeches (chiefly in Portuguese)[,] also a dance which did not interest me.

Of course I know a good many people by now. One man that we see a great deal of is Major Caroll (an Irishman)[;] he is a very nice fellow. The Captain comes down to dinner generally; although he is said to be the most popular man in the service I dont care much for him. He seems generally grumbly—a pig-headed old man I think; though I have no doubt as a Captain he is very good indeed. Lady Grant also is a tiresome old lady, with an enormous appetite. The Unwins are quite nice people.

We pass a great number of ships chiefly tramp steamers. The Avon passed us quite close a few days ago and I saw it. We had one little excitement yesterday as a tramp steamer required a Doctor (a man having got an iron splinter in his eye) so we stopped whilst he was brought on board and attended to.

We crossed the Equator about 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon but there were no traditional observances; everyone (at the time[)] was excited about a tug-of-war Married v Single. Atkinson pulled in it as well as Davidson & I. The “married” were ever so much heavier than we were, and pulled us over easily.

It is curious having no letters or English news of any sort. We have not even had the daily Marconigram since leaving Lisbon—have heard nothing whatever. I hope you are getting on well.

We expected to be in the Doldrums the last three days—a region of calm close air with rain—but instead of that we have had delightful fresh weather[;] it is most unusual just here.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

I hope Winnie is having a got {2} time at Lynton[.]

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Numbered ‘3’ at the head in pencil.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed.

{2} A slip for ‘good’.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

1912 Sept 15
R.M.S.P. Arlanza {1}

My very dear Mother

It is now the last day on the steamer, and we are to reach Rio at about 7 o’clock tonight; I do not think we shall land until tomorrow morning.

We did not go on shore either at Pernambuco or Bahia as they are neither of them very healthy places. At Pernambuco there is no real harbour and we anchor someway out at at† sea but Bahia is a magnificent bay. The land is very low all the way between them; and the coast (which we keep in sight) is monotonous, only there is a curious white sand all the way along which makes it look like chalk cliffs.

The most interesting thing is seeing the whales, which are quite numerous. You see them spouting frequently and sometimes catch a glimpse of the whale itself. We left Bahia on Friday, and yesterday (Saturday) the rain came down in torrents; it was the first time we had had anything more than the slightest showers. In the evening the rain stopped, and the wind got up, and we really pitched quite a lot it was quite pleasant for a change. Today is a perfect day again, clear, and with brilliant sunshine. It is quite cool again and I am wearing my usual English clothes.

I know all the Officers now pretty well; the Chief Officer is a very nice man and a great favourite with the passengers.

I had a letter from Rio at Pernambuco which was very satisfactory; Lee {2} has visited all possible sites. I rather think we shall go to Alfenas further inland than Christina but do not know yet. The Brazilian government is going to do us well. I have met several passengers who know the country well. They say we are sure to have fine weather, and the country is a regular health resort, where the inhabitants all live to be centenarians.

Some of the passengers bought little marmoset monkeys at Bahia; they are sweet little things that you could put in your pocket but I was not tempted to go in for one.
I will not add more as there is a fine bit of coast outside that I want to see and then I must get my packing done.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Letter-head of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Numbered ‘4’ at the head in pencil.

{1} ‘R.M.S.P.’ is printed.

{2} ‘the Interpreter’ has been interlined above a caret, in an unidentified hand. The person referred to is T. N. Lee, an Englishman deputed by the Brazilian Government to as-sist the expedition. See The Observatory, xxxv (1912), 410.

† Sic.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Passa Quatro | Minas Geraes
1912 Sept 26

My very dear Mother

I was very glad to have your letter of Sept 5, which reached me here yesterday afternoon. It was a long time to be without news of you. We spent Friday & Saturday last week pretty quietly in Rio; our baggage (instruments) at last departed on Friday midnight. We left at 9∙30 p.m. on the São Paulo express for Cruxeiro with Lee and Worthington; it was a very comfortable train and we reached Cruxeiro at 2∙30 a.m. Our plan was to sleep in the waiting room and superintend the transfer of the instruments to the narrow-guage† line as soon as it was light; but on arrival we found the instruments had only got a little way and would not reach Cruxeiro until the next day. The waiting room was rather crowded, so I slept very comfortably on my trunk on the platform. We caused much amusement to the porters.

We breakfasted off black coffee, bread and bananas; and Davidson & I had a good walk. It was rather cold cloudy weather, but the country was very wild & beautiful. We left Cruxeiro by a goods train (on to which however they put a saloon car for our benefit). It took nearly 3 hours to do the 20 miles to Passa Quatro, but there was a steep climb all the way. We wound up a very remarkably engineered track and it was a most enjoyable journey with splendid mountains all round.

At Passa Quatro we have a clean and comfortable inn kept by M. Rénier who is in charge of the government meteorological station here. He and his family take meals with us. The other occupants of the inn are de Souza and his wife who is (until Morize arrives) in charge of the Brazilian party’s arrangements; and Stephanik†, and his assistant, who form an official French expedition sent by the Bureau des Longitudes. They are all very nice people; but we very much dislike Lee and Worthington (especially the latter) and it is hard work to avoid a regular rumpus.

Our eclipse camps are about a mile away at a Fazenda near the railway. This site seems a very good one though it is rather surrounded by hills. Since the first day we have had splendid weather—clear blue skies with hot sun but cold in the shade and freezing at night. There are no mosquitoes snakes bugs or cockroaches so far. The Brazilian butterflies are very fine; but they are not very numerous as it is too early for them. I have seen some very large ones.

We have a special engine on which we go to and fro to the Fazenda. It takes us down at 8 am, brings us back to déjeuner at 11; takes us down again at 1 and brings us back at 6. The meals are quite good but rather French in style—all sorts of little meat courses. We have various weird vegetables and concoctions—no black beans as yet. One speciality here is fruit-cheeses, which we have at lunch every day.

We started the building of the piers for the instruments on Monday and they were ready for use today. Our baggage turned up on Monday night and was dumped by the side of the railway opposite the Fazenda. It took us practically all Tuesday afternoon to convey it (in bullock carts drawn by 6 oxen) to the actual field of operations; and it was pretty heavy work loading the carts and unloading them.

These last two days we have been hard at it, erecting huts and getting out a few instruments. I daresay it will be a week before we can slacken off our efforts. We have one boy engaged to assist us but he is not very much use.

The Argentine & Chilean expeditions were going to Christina about 50 miles further on. The former (Perrine & his 3 assistants) came to dinner with us at our hotel in Rio on the Thursday evening and we had a very jolly time I hope to have time to visit their camp at Christina before the eclipse.

I find my helmet very useful but have not worn my drill suit. It is really wonderfully cool weather and one could hardly imagine we are in the tropics. The country here is lovely.

With very dear love to both
ever your affectionate son
Stanley

I hope Winnie had a good trip.

—————

Numbered ‘6’ at the head in pencil.

† Sic.

Letter from A. S. Eddington to Sarah Ann Eddington

Transcript

Funchal
1919 March 27

My very dear Mother

We have been here nearly a fortnight, and though we are anxious to be getting on to Principe, it is very delightful being here and I am not at all tired of Madeira. We have had a variety of weather; but there is always a good deal of hot sunshine every day. At first we had three days of “leste”, a hot dry east wind coming from the Sahara; it blows in gusts—dead calm for a long time then quite suddenly a furious wind for about 10 minutes. It did a good deal of damage to the trees and to the tiles on the roof here. Afterwards we had brilliant weather all day, but not quite so hot. This last week we have had a good deal of rain—chiefly at night but some sharp showers in the day as well—with snow on the tops of the mountains. Now it is comparatively cold; but that is only relatively speaking; because I am still wearing my thinnest shirts & vests and can sit out of doors even at night.

I have been two good long walks on the mountains. The funicular railway is not running regularly but there are occasionally excursions. We went up one day starting at 12 o’clock and reached the top—Terreira de Lucta—(2800 feet) about one o’clock. Cottingham and I took some sandwiches, and walked on at first by road and then on the hillside, making for a special view-point in the centre of the island. He found it too hard work, so I left him for 1½ hours and finished the climb alone. The view-point, Ariero Observatory, is 4800 feet above sea-level, and is a balcony overlooking a magnificent gorge at least 2000 feet deep which winds down to the sea on the other side (north) of the island. After seeing this, I rejoined Cottingham and we walked back to Terreira de Lucta which we reached about 5 o’clock, and then came down into Funchal in a toboggan a run of about 4 miles.

The second expedition was to the Grand Curral a point further round to the west. Cottingham and I started at 9 o’clock, and we got back about 5∙30. The walk was nearly twenty miles; but the weather was cooler so it was easier. Most of the way was along paved roads often very steep. We got many fine views on the way; and in places the gorse was out, and looked very pretty. The Grand Curral (=great cattle-fold) is a small plain almost entirely surrounded by a ring of mountains—like the crater of a volcano. We looked down on it from a saddle 3300 feet above sea-level and more than 2000 feet above the Curral. On all other sides the mountains were much higher. It is extraordinary, how much of the land is cultivated, all the steep sides of the mountains are terraced into tiny fields up to a great altitude. There is an elaborate system of irrigation; the artificial water-courses (called “levadas”) tap all the rivers near their sources, taking away nearly all the water and leaving only stoney† beds.

The main place of resort in Funchal is the Casino. We often go there in the afternoon for tea. The tea (the beverage) is much better than at the hotel; it has been very scarce in Madeira. There is a roulette table which is well-patronised and it is interesting to watch the players.

The beach is very poor, very steep and stony; and is unattractive, because it is used as the general rubbish-heap. But it is interesting to sit on the pier especially when any of the large steamers are in. There has been no mail from England since I came; but we are expecting one today—the Chepstow Castle—. I did not know I should be here so long or I would have asked you to write here.

There are lots of bananas here and I usually get through about a dozen a day. There is not much other fruit. Prices are generally a bit lower than in England but there is not much difference. The meat here—mutton, veal, beef—is extraordinarily good the best I have ever tasted I think. We can get good cigarettes at 10 a penny; but I chiefly smoke a mixture of native tobacco at a penny an ounce with imported tobacco at a shilling an ounce—the native stuff is too dry to use by itself.

We made friends with a gentleman from the telegraph (cable) station, and he got us permission to see round it yesterday. It was very interesting. They have a lot of new improvements since I was at the station in Malta.

There was a British warship here one day, and they had a football match against the Cable station, which we went to see. The weather was more suitable for watching than for playing. They must have found it terribly hard.

We know a number of people in the hotel. Ritson a commercial traveller from Manchester, Ash a queer old gentleman, Mrs. Caswell a merry widow and her daughter, Mr and Mrs Thomas from Swansea and others. Most of them intend to go on to the Canaries next Sunday. The landlord & landlady Mr. & Mrs. Jones are extremely pleasant & good-natured people.

Three ships were torpedoed by submarine in Madeira harbour during the war, and one sees the masts of two of them sticking up out of the water. The town was also bombarded and there are a few traces visible.

I hope all is going well at Cambridge. I shall be glad to hear news of you when I reach Principe.

With very dear love from
your affectionate son
Stanley

—————

Numbered ‘3rd’ at the head. Four passages have been marked off and emended in pencil by a later hand.

† Sic.

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

—————

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’.

Print of ‘A consultation previous to an aerial voyage from London to Weilburg in Nassau on the 7th day of November 1836’, engraved by J. H. Robinson from the painting by John Hollins

The men depicted in the illustration are, from left to right, Walter Prideaux, John Hollins, William Milbourne James, Robert Hollond, Charles Green, and Thomas Monck Mason.

(No caption. Title and date supplied from British Museum No. 1858,0613.402. )

Letter from Charles Green to P. N. Scott.

Transcript

My Dear Sir /

I duly received your kind letter and the paper Containing the parragraph for which I return you many thanks and shall prize it greatly it being so much to the purpose—I have made several enquiries of the Postman who says had it been sent from the Norwich Post office I shd have had it he is sertain I am sorry you have had so much trouble and beg you will not think I wish to impose on good nature by making your granting me one favor the foundation of asking others—I shall use every exertion to get it further noticed if possible and endeavor to get aprint† of Major Money to morrow as I hope to be able to go to town—I sent an article on my projected voyage across the Atlantic wich is recited[?] verbatum with the Editors remarks I have purchased a Copy for you and shall send it the first opportunity

With best regards to Mrs Scott likewise Mr Crowshay† & family

I am Dear Sir | Yours truly & much obliged
Chas Green

Highgate
Jany 27—1840

[Direction:] P. N. Scott Esqr | St Giles Street | Norwich | Pre Paid

—————

Postmarked as ‘Paid’, 28 January 1840. The spelling and punctuation are occasionally irregular.

† Sic.

Print of a rotary balloon designed by John Luntley

A model of this balloon was exhibited by Luntley at the Great Exhibition of 1851 (see the Official Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue, ii. 435: Class 10, No. 237). This print has no caption, but the copy in the Library of Congress is captioned ‘ROTARY BALLOON. Model exhibited in Class X, No. 137 [sic]. By J. Luntley.’

Letter from George Airy

Swansea - GA will be 'extremely glad' to have Neale as a pupil. However, further to his correspondence with Myers, he does not know whether Mr Hare had or had not already engaged a tutor for Neale. Could WW answer some questions further to the fellowship examination - 'In the first place must I sit at all? In the next place supposing that I sit, by what time must I be at Cambridge?'"

Letter from George Airy

Observatory - Gives a note on perturbations intended for John W. Lubbock: 'If perturbations are applied to x y & z, there is no practicability of dividing the time of an apposition into different parts, as the calculation does not give the means of correcting the elements for the beginning of each part. Consequently the series used must be such as will apply from the beginning of an apposition to the end. It seems to me very probable that 5th or higher powers may be wanted'.

Letter from George Airy

Observatory - Henderson [Thomas Henderson] is with GA: 'I intend to bring him to hall; pray dine there if you have nothing better to do'. GA gives the two things which need correcting in his Venus paper.

Letter from George Airy

Flamsteed House, Greenwich - Thanks WW for the ale [see GA to WW, 10 October 1839]: 'we shall consume it I believe before time has done it justice'. GA has not seen WW's lecture to the Philosophical Society on tides: 'I should much like to see it; and shall be glad if you can send it to me. I have not duly consulted Herschel, but I remember his general notions about forced oscillations and so far in application to tides they must agree with mine. By the bye, my correlative terms are forced tide wave and free tide wave. In the simplest cases which can be conceived, the two are mixed together so as to produce phenomena that, viewed as observations from which empirical laws are to be deduced must appear inextricably confused. In one case only, namely when a limited space is very small, the tide becomes a simple tilt, like that of water in a basin. This cannot be the case in a sea so large and (comparatively) shallow as the Pacific, but upon one supposition one of the waves there may predominate, and there may be phenomena something like Fitzroy's. But I should like to see what you have said'.

Letter from George Airy

Royal Observatory Greenwich - GA has looked at the account of [John Scott] Russell's Forth tides in the Athenaeum and 'think you will find that Russell's notion of the southern and northern waves exhibiting themselves separately is wholly untenable, both from theory, and from the consideration that they ought to shew themselves as well in the coast tides; but in fact if there are two they become one inseparable tide. The real explanation I have no doubt is in the theory of deep waves in shallow canals'. GA gives the formula and coefficient (for the rise of tide / depth of channel) showing the height of the water after running over a shallow bottom for a certain distance. GA has looked over WW's tide paper and has a problem with the figures and arrangement of the data given in the tables of Plymouth observations.

Letter from George Airy

Flamsteed House, Greenwich - Could WW send him a tracing of the Kamschatham waves? - preferably the whole course of the water in rising and falling.

Letter from George Airy

Flamsteed House, Greenwich - It was GA who brought the tide disturbance of January 3 to the attention of the Admiralty: 'The tide in the Thames was 6 feet lower than it ought to have been. I have received several of the Admiralty observations: the tide at Leith seems to have been scarcely affected' [see GA to WW, 21 January 1841]. GA gives a long descriptive and mathematical answer to WW's query regarding oblique arches.

Letter from George Airy

Flamsteed House, Greenwich - GA returns 'Hewett's papers (letter, table, and picture) for which I am much obliged'.

Letter from George Airy

Royal Observatory Greenwich - GA has put [Pierre-Simon] Laplace's theory of tides 'in a shape in which other people can read it, and a very beautiful theory it is. But as Laplace left it is so atrociously repulsive that I do not think that any person ever mastered it (for no body refers to it) and I imagine that no person living but myself has fairly attempted it. In this I think I have done good service to the literature of mathematics'. GA gives a solution to the age of the tide: 'The time of high water is accelerated, but more for the moon than for the sun. Consequently (referring to solar time) the moon's high tide on any day, happening earlier than corresponds to the moon's position, does happen at s solar time corresponding to the day when the moon's transit was earlier - that is to a preceding day; the solar tide corresponds equally (in solar time) to all days; and therefore their combination corresponds to an earlier day. Thus we have age of the tide'. Can WW give any accounts on the height of waves, experiments on waves generally and a notion of the changes which WW's 'researches will make in your old cotidal lines?'

Letter from George Airy

Royal Observatory Greenwich - Thanks WW for his History of Induction [The History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Present Time', 3 vols., 1837]. The next time WW is in London he should come and see them.

Letter from George Airy

Royal Observatory Greenwich - GA acknowledges a letter WW recently sent concerning the Smith's Prize paper: 'As regards the paper and your comments on it, first I was glad to find that you think lightly of [William?] Hopkins's attempt to force in mathematics where [they?] have no business. In my opinion, Hopkins has done more to injure the credit of mathematics than any person that I know. This is the fault of the geologists (who would praise without attempting to understand), and I think, primarily the fault of Sedgwick.. In the next place , I was glad to see a question concerning the mathematical theory of waves. This is a subject which ought, I think, to be in some way brought into the curriculum of the university'. Although he has not yet settled the longitude of Valentia [see GA to WW, 2 Nov. 1844], 'I expect it will turn out an excellent work of its kind. We are much more puzzled in making the geodetic computations to compare with it (in large triangles upon a spheroid of assumed dimensions) than in the astronomical and chronometrical part: but after repeated trials I think we have managed to compute round the three sides of a triangle nearly or more than 100 miles each and to return within two or three feet to our starting point. This was to be the criterion of our method'. GA's paper on Irish tides is being printed. Similarly the printing of the Reduction of the Greenwich Planetary Observations 1750 to 1830 is finished. The reduction of the Greenwich Lunar Observations (1750 to 1830) is in the main finished: 'I am preparing to correct the elements of the Tables: and this I think upon the whole one of the greatest works that has ever been done in Astronomy'.

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