Item 1 - Richard Jones to William Whewell

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Richard Jones to William Whewell


  • [1 Oct. 1819] (Creation)

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4 pp.

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RJ looked at the appearance of a friend's first book with great pleasure [WW, 'An Elementary Treatise on Mechanics', 1819]: 'The Book they tell me is pronounced good but the introduction a puzzle - in truth I think while writing it you forgot for a moment the thick darkness by which you are surrounded - 9 tenths of the people old and young at Tonbridge I take it know exactly nothing about the question as to constant precessions of phenomena efficient courses[,]etc. and you have earnt nothing but abuse and curses by paying them the compliment of supposing they did - for myself I find fault with you for using the term necessary truth as applied to physical conclusions for thinking you escape, from what even you mean in spite of your former pretty promises to think the blot of an experimental foundation to your statics'. RJ believes WW does this by resorting to metaphysics. He thinks that one must always suppose some sort of experiment and induction before one can get through it to a physical conclusion - 'will you fight?'. RJ's Rectorship in Wales has been postponed. Rose [Hugh Rose] has been preaching at RJ's with 'great applause from the better sort as well as the mob'. Rose tells RJ 'that the old mathematics have died and faded away with scarcely an audible groan before the bright flood of analytic love which has been poured in upon them and you therefore I take it have been revelling uncontrolled in the luxury of long brackets filled with cabalistical characters - I give you joy but alas for the poor geometers! methinks I hear their mutterings loud and deep echo through the sympathising courts of St. Johns and Queens'.

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