Item 21 - James David Forbes to William Whewell

Identity area

Reference code

Add. MS a/204/21


James David Forbes to William Whewell


  • 26 June 1835 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

4 pp

Context area

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Nantes - JDF spoke to Arago [Dominique F. J. Arago] about the tide observations - at least regarding those being made this month: 'he had represented the matter in the strongest terms in the Chamber of Deputies as you may have seen by the newspaper - he read an extract from your letter, and told the minister of Marine that what was doing in England put him to the blush, and quoted yours and Mr Lubbock's [John W Lubbock] Papers. With regard to the Brest observations he assures me that they are half-printed and going on'. JDF was not so successful regarding Arago's magnetical observations 'which I much fear he will never print'. Arago 'lives in a perpetual turmoil, in which science has no serious part, and yet he seems to feel that he was born for that and not for the petty concerns of daily objurgations'. Biot [Jean Baptiste Biot] attacked JDF's experiments on polarised heat 'in most unmeasured terms: this pleased JDF 'because it shewed how much importance he attached to them'. Biot regretted that JDF had not brought his apparatus with him so as to repeat the experiments: However, JDF offered to repeat them 'with the aid of a few bits of Mica to shew the chief results to Melloni [Macedonio Melloni, who argued that light and radiant heat are effects directly produced by two different causes]...This I did, and afterwards more at large to Mr Libri [Guglielmo Libri] who has taken up my cause very warmly and is perfectly satisfied'. JDF was astonished that even though Biot and Melloni attacked his experiments, neither of them 'had attempted to repeat one of the experiments'. There would have been a meeting at the Institute last week in which Libri was to defend JDF. The only person doing anything of value is 'as usual' Poisson, who is just bringing out his book on heat: 'I know of nothing else doing at the moment in Paris'. JDF has 'never seen anything connected with the origin of Gothic which appeared to me nearly so interesting as the Abbey of Fontevrault and the church at Candes'.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

    Script of material

      Language and script notes

      Physical characteristics and technical requirements

      Finding aids

      Allied materials area

      Existence and location of originals

      Existence and location of copies

      Related units of description

      Related descriptions

      Notes area

      Alternative identifier(s)

      Access points

      Subject access points

      Place access points

      Genre access points

      Description identifier

      Institution identifier

      Rules and/or conventions used


      Level of detail

      Dates of creation revision deletion




          Accession area