Item 21 - Letter from W. K. Clifford to Sir (William) Frederick Pollock

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Letter from W. K. Clifford to Sir (William) Frederick Pollock


  • 29 Oct. 1870? (Creation)

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Trinity College, Cambridge.—Lists and discusses recent elections to the ‘Cambridge Apostles’. At the last Congregation Sedley Taylor proposed that money should be raised for a chair of physics by abolishing heads of houses.

(Dated Saturday.)



Trin. Coll. Cam.

Dear Sir Frederick

At last I have got sight of the secretary’s book, {1} which has been changing keeper lately and so became temporarily invisible. The list of me and my successors is as follows:

165—W. K. C.—Nov. 17 ’66
166—J F Moulton—Jun 1 ’67
167—F. E. Anderson—Nov 2 ’67
168—G. H. Blakesley—Feb 22 ’68
169—C Colbeck—Oct 24 ’68
170—M. R. Pryor—Nov. 13 ’69
171—Hopkinson—Oct 28 ’70

It appears from this that your constant advice about electing people is quite right; for while the average rate of election since the beginning of years has been 3 men a year, we have for the last four years let it get down to below 2. Jackson and Currey have become angels; {2} it appears that Elphinstone was rude to the former at Richmond and hinted that he was staying on too long. Stuart is now secretary. Besides Hopkinson who comes in today we have 2 new men in prospect. The objection to them is that they are all high tripos men to be—I mean mathematical—and this will give too strong a flavour of π to the functions. The last meeting was in my rooms—question wife or mistress?—and you will be glad to hear that with the help of 2 angels we were unanimously in favour of the latter—Stuart making some weak partial protest supposed to be due to a well-known influence. The last news of their shadowy outside is that at a Congregation last Saturday Sedley Taylor proposed to raise money for a physical professor by abolishing heads of houses. 2 of them died on the spot, 3 (including our own) are dangerously ill, and the rest are gone to refresh themselves in the country—we don’t appear to have got the money yet though. I have been sleepless since I came back and accordingly unfit to do anything whatever.

Yours all of us
W. K. Clifford.


The dashes in the table of elections have been added.

{1} The record book kept by the secretary of the Cambridge Conversazione Society or ‘Cambridge Apostles’.

{2} i.e. they had left the Society.

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