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Trinity/Add.Ms.a contains:
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199 Miscellanea
200 Whewell papers
201 Whewell papers
202 Whewell papers
203 Whewell papers
204 Whewell papers
205 Whewell papers
206 Whewell papers
207 Whewell papers
208 Whewell papers
209 Whewell papers
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Additional Manuscripts a

Title Whewell papers
Reference 204
Covering Dates 1831–64
Extent and Medium 1 box
Trinity/Add.Ms.a/204 contains:
1 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF's stay in Cambridge 'were some of the happiest of my life'. He regrets that he did not have the opportunity to have had 'a systematic education within the walls of Trinity'. JDF is devoted to the pursuit of the physical sciences: 'in the present state of Science a liberal basis of mathematical knowledge is indispensible to its successful prosecution'. JDF has never had a lesson in mathematics and has taught himself from book one of Euclid to the integral calculus. 'It is one of the current mistakes of the present popularizing system to imagine that difficulties in the pursuit of knowledge are confined to the lower classes'. Could WW point out to him a course of study to assist his work in the theory of heat and the science of Meteorlogy.
1 doc.
29 May 1831
2 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF thanks WW for his letter and is very satisfied with his recommendations to his queries [see JDF to WW, 29 May 1831]. He has subsequently purchased a copy of Poisson [probably S. D. Poisson's 'Traite de Mechanique', 1811]. JDF has been studying some of the more difficult parts of the Integral Calculus: completing a paper on the Barometer, and conducting an 'experimental examination of a curious question on heat which appears to me to be yet quite unexplained'. JDF read WW's paper on David Ricardo 'with a great deal of pleasure', and gives some minor corrections ['Mathematical Exposition of some of the Leading Doctrines in Mr Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy and Taxation', 1831]. The Edinburgh University library has an incomplete collection of the Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society and would like WW to forward the missing volumes. He hopes WW will make the first BAAS meeting at York. 'Is Herschel's [John Herschel] Treatise on finite differences only to be found in his translation of Lacroix, which is now very scarce?'. .
1 doc.
03 Jul 1831
3 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his last letter. JDF has forwarded the last part of the Transactions of the Edinburgh Royal Society to the Cambridge Philosophical Society. He has alsoenclosed an unpublished paper to WW by his friend Dr. Gregory [Duncan Gregory?], and another paper obtained by Mr Robison (Secretary of the Edinburgh Royal Society and son of the late Professor John Robison) by 'a most ingenious artist in Edinburgh' concerned with the escapement of a clock. Perhaps George Airy would like to see it. JDF has been studying Poisson everyday with 'a great deal of pleasure and advantage'. It will be a while before he understands Joseph Fourier's 'Theorie Analytique de la Chaleur', [1822]. He has begun George Airy's tract on the Calculus of Variations, and been engaged in several enquiries, especially the vibrations of hot metals: 'I have been enabled to arrive at such general laws as will I think demonstrate that Leslie [John Leslie] and Faraday were far wrong in their conjectures'. JDF hopes WW will come to the first meeting of the BAAS at York: 'I have known Dr. Brewster [David Brewster] long enough to be aware that he sometimes takes up particular views with a bigotry which defies conviction, and I am certain that there is no one who can more sincerely regret than myself the most unwarranted attacks he has made upon professors. But how this can affect the York meeting I cannot conceive'. DB will have no superintendence at all of the meeting.
1 doc.
25 Aug 1831
4 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his kind letter . 'I rejoice to say that it [the first BAAS meeting at York] has gone off in a way which left nothing to wish' - despite the absence of so many leading British men of science. Vernon Harcourt, 'one of the most interesting men I have here met with has the entire merit of the 'British Association' which is now fairly set on foot'. JDF is pleased to say that the Archbishop and clergy have also shown the utmost warmth for the objects of the meeting. Next year is fixed for Oxford: William Buckland is to be President and both WW and David Brewster have been elected Vice-Presidents.
1 doc.
04 Oct 1831
5 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks for WW's long letter of December 16. JDF believes 'there is no branch of knowledge more likely to benefit by the exertions of a Society, such as the British Association than Meteorology: - a body indeed was wanting in this country to direct the efforts of detached individuals, and to point out to its own members the mode in which their particular exertions may conduce to a general end'. JDF agrees with WW as to the present unsatisfactory state of Meteorology. JDF hopes to soon put forward some interesting trains of research, especially 'in relation to the conducting power of bodies for heat - the thermo electricity of homogeneous metals and have other electric relations'. In his Meteorological Report for the BAAS meeting at Oxford later this year he will either show the progress of the science or give a complete view of its present state: 'My present idea is to confine the actual and formal report, to the advances made in the science during the last two or three years. But besides to guide a sketch of the present state and future prospects of the sciences', and 'to shew how far previous labours have been misdirected'. JDF's ideas on several specific branches which require production, can be found in the meteorological queries which he drew up for the Report of the Association: 'I have there painted out (quite in conformity with your views) the necessity of some one of sufficient talent taking up the Theory of Hygrometry from the beginning discussing the workings of his predecessors and establishing on the basis of experiment, the correspondence between the moist-bulb and [dew point] hygrometer; which problem contains I believe the whole essential basis of the science'. JDF will now got to far into the general theory of the subject in the report. He has been looking a great deal at the construction of instruments and is about to be involved in a comparison of standard thermometers.
1 doc.
10 Jan 1832
6 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has successfully obtained sparks from a natural magnet upon the principle of Michael Faraday's recent experiments. John Leslie and others have witnessed it and are 'perfectly satisfied'. JDF has been so absorbed in electro magnetical experiments that he has made hardly any progress with his report ['Report upon the Recent Progress and Present State of Metrology, drawn up at the Request of the BAAS', 1832]. How long should it be? .
1 doc.
18 Apr 1832
7 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his letter and hopes he received his account of obtaining sparks from a natural magnet [see JDF to WW, 18 April 1832]. JDF 'was horrified with your self accuastions about the length of your report': JDF's meteorological report is in excess of 130 pages ['Report upon the Recent Progress and Present State of Metrology, drawn up at the Request of the BAAS', 1832]: 'If I understood at all the objects of these reports, - not to be mere showy trifles adapted to public reading, but as you stated in your letter to Mr Harcourt [Vernon Harcourt] of such a kind that 'scientific students may know where to begin their labours and that those who pursue one branch of science may know how to communicate with the enqiries in another''. After the BAAS meeting at Oxford JDF is going abroad and he hopes WW will give him any hints for experimental enquiry or observations: John Herschel is going to send him two of his instruments for measuring the intensity of solar radiation [the actinometer].
1 doc.
03 Jun 1832
8 James David Forbes to George Peacock. Thanks GP for all his suggestions prior to his trip abroad. The letters Lord Palmerston favoured him with have been most useful - especially in avoiding the Prussian custom house. He has been taking many observations in the Alps with his Magnetic and Meteorological apparatus: concentrating on magentic intensity at heights. To eliminate the effect of temperature on his results he has been conducting experiments on the needles in question at different temperatures. Using John Herschel's actometer he has taken observations - 'at stations separated by a vertical column of 6500 feet of air' - to determine the loss of force of the solar rays in passing through the atmosphere. Sends his regards to WW and George Airy.
1 doc.
10 Nov 1832
9 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has lost no time in distributing WW's circulars. His main reason for writing is to suggest Edinburgh for the BAAS meeting next year. Edinburgh is not to be considered a University town: 'The University can do nothing, it has no status, no power , no funds'. While David Brewster promised to give the most entertaining course of lectures ever given at the University [canvassing to become the next Professor of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh: JDF did later that year], JDF adheres 'to the very opposite principle' and will be striving 'to foster a spirit for sound physico-mathematical attainment at present nearly unknown in Scotland'. His lectures will be a 'cautious mixture of pure demonstration with experiment and collateral illustration'. However, JDF feels his labours will be wasted for want of an adequate textbook in theoretical mechanics: 'your mechanics has appeared to me far the best book I have met with for teaching from ['The First Principles of Mechanics: With Historical and Practical Illustrations', 1832]...But for my purpose it is to long: it is on the whole rather too difficult, and in statics, too complete'. JDF would like WW to do an abridgement of it with less mathematics, coupled woth some problems taken from WW's recent work on Dynamics ['An Introduction to Dynamics Containing the Laws of Motion and the First Three Sections of the Principia', 1832]. The only work which approaches JDF's criteria is a textbook by Dr Jackson of St. Andrews University: 'but it is a little repulsive, and does not afford the means of passing over the more difficult parts'. John Leslie's 'book is incredibly bad, but its division into Statics and Dynamics renders it preferable to those which want it'. .
1 doc.
31 Mar 1833
10 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his last letter. He is sorry that there is a view in the south prevailing, which suggests both he and David Brewster have been at 'dagger's drawing' over their late contest [for Professor of Natural Philosophy at Edinburgh University, see JDF to WW, 31 March 1833 ] - the opposite was the case. JDF still thinks that an abridgement to WW's book on mechanics ['The First Principles of Mechanics: With Historical and Practical Illustrations', 1832] 'with some leading propositions for the 3 first sections of Newton (taken from your 'Introduction') and concluded with a comprehensive mathematical theory of Hydrostatics' would be really useful [see JDF to WW, 31 March 1833].
1 doc.
13 Apr 1833
11 James David Forbes to William Whewell. If WW gets 'any safe opportunity to London' JDF would like his thermometer left with Henslow [John Henslow] at the Royal Society.
1 doc.
30 Apr 1833
12 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is now on his way to Paris. He is planning a book on mechanics and would like WW to bear this in mind, and perhaps talk about it with him after the meeting [BAAS meeting in Edinburgh] in June.
1 doc.
10 May 1833
13 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF was 'gladdened' by WW's letter. Dominique F. Jean Arago 'with his confounded politics, is beyond all calculation. JDF is unsure whether Arago will now be coming to Cambridge with him: 'it is not yet settled that he does not do so - but the minister at war having become ill, a debate was put off which our savant thought fit to embrail himself in, about the fortifictaions of Paris, and so we are all in the clouds still'. JDF has nevertheless booked his boat at Calais and will be travelling with Quetelet. JDF is very disappointed with the Parisian savants: 'science in general is at the lowest possible ebb'. Further, 'I have been disgusted with the total and predominant selfishness apparent everywhere'. WW 'need not have the least apprehension of your work being translated - Religion even though [filled] with science is a bitter pill here' [JDF is probably referring to WW's 'Astronomy and General Physics Considered with Reference to Natural Theology', 1833]. .
1 doc.
15 Jun 1833
14 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Since JDF arrived in Edinburgh he has been at work upon the Fundamental principles of Dynamics. He has read everything WW has ever written on the subject: 'I feel convinced with you that the composition of velocities, and the proportionality of velocity to pressure, must be separately proved. What appears to me is this, that your three laws do not correspond to Newton's three laws, though you lead one to suppose they do. My notion is that Newton's third law is not included in yours - that he speaks simply of action and reaction in the ordinary, accurate and statical sense of the words'. JDF believes Newton's three laws should be four: '1st. Inertia 2nd. composition of velocities 3rd Proportionality of Force to velocity 4th Equality of action and reaction. The French like you consider the last a necessay truth and reduce the first principles to Newton's two first laws: - you do the same, but break them up into three'. JDF is not convinced that action and reaction can be satisfactorily argued a priori. 'I cannot tell you what a weight is off my mind since you agreed to modify your mechanics. I am so fully convinced that no inexperienced person can undertake to write a good systematic work - that I had resolved that nothing should induce me to do it at present'. JDF has marked in pencil on the margins of WW's last edition of his mechanics, the parts he thinks should be included in the first volume of the two sugested by WW. He hopes it will be out by October and at a cheap price.
1 doc.
20 Jul 1833
15 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his attention regarding JDF's comments on Dynamics [see JDF to WW, 20 July 1833]. JDF feels a strong need 'to satisfy myself as to the essential aspects of the substructure of Dynamics which I do think has in general been most loosely done'. A student must get very confused sifting the essentials of Dynamics: 'I think great confusion has arisen by introducing at once the phrases Accelerating and Moving Force, instead of explaining as Newton does that this is merely a contraction for 'Accelerating Effect of a force' 'moving effect of a Force''. Accelerating force is characterised by the velocity produced - it has no existence. JDF does not think WW improves the abuse of Force by introducing the term pressure. JDF gives a list of definitions which he considers the clearest way of showing the connection of the Principles of Dynamics and their origin: He would like WW to draw up a half page of some similar list of definitions. Has WW 'got the new edition of Poisson's mechanique [S. D. Poisson, 'Traite de Mechanique', 1st edn. 1811] you will find that so far from converting him about the 3 Laws he has cut his two down to one! viz the law of Inertia deducing everything else a priori'. .
1 doc.
09 Aug 1833
16 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is 'quite pleased' with the 'first part' of WW's work ['An Elementary Treatise on Mechanics', 4th edn., 1833 or 'Analytical Statics', 1833]. He was interested by WW's account of the Poissonian demonstration: 'I knew it was remodelled but have not examined it tho' I have the book. I too have been dabbling recently in Rotation, and a confounded subject it is'. Gives a copy of a memorandum he received from Lord Adare of Edward Sabines description of the Auroras. .
1 doc.
15 Nov 1833
17 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Due to his 'First Six months Course' of lectures he has been neglecting his correspondence. Consequently he has not given enough time to WW's paper on Dynamical laws ['On the Nature of the Truth of the Laws of Motion', Trans. of the Cambridge Phil. Soc., 1834 or 'On the Motion of Points Constrained and Resisted', 1834] to offer a qualified opinion. In the course of the summer JDF prepared a treatise on Mechanics that would 'have almost required a 6 months course to go through with nothing else'. His sylabus which he sent WW via Henslow [John Henslow], had the objective 'to impress general methods than to stave the memory with particular cases to train the mixed rather than give the practical details which are better learned from new books'. Further to WW's paper: In general he thinks 'we are much at one'. WW accedes to JDF's 'views in what I think an important point the derivation of the proportionality of Velocity to Force, - that force being measured by Statical methods with which the student is presumed to be familiar; which gave what I called the measure of a 'definite amount of force' which expression you may remember you objected to'. He approves of WW's explanations about vis viva and the division of the necessary and contingent part of the laws: However, 'I would venture to suggest a change in the expression of your 3rd law which I think you are unwilling to let escape from Newton's Third, though I am quite convinced that his 3rd was your 3rd axiom, and that your third is part of his 2nd'. The subject of Rotation and Dynamics is 'ably treated in an elementary way in a work you should see, Dr. Jackson (of St Andrew's) mechanics I use it as a supplementary to your mechanics with my advanced pupils'. .
1 doc.
29 Mar 1834
18 James David Forbes to William Whewell. It does not look at as if Chalmers [Thomas Chalmers] will be attending the BAAS meeting in Edinburgh due to illness: 'He lamented particularly his having to forego the pleasure of your company'. JDF hopes WW will come up a few days prior to the meeting 'when we shall have a little more peace than during it'.
1 doc.
07 Aug 1834
19 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF was pleased WW left the Edinburgh BAAS meeting with 'agreeable recollections'. He has moved with his sister to the town for the winter. A connection between Edinburgh and the Cambridge bookseller, Deighton, is now completely established by the sale of WW's mechanics. There is no reason now why Deighton should not send down every new book published: 'I beg you therefore to give Deighton to understand that he should send (through Baldwin) one or two copies of every mathematical book he publishes, and several of such books as yours, Airy's, Peacock's and Miller's which I am assured would sell to a certain extent'. The conduct of Cambridge booksellers in London is shameful. .
1 doc.
24 Oct 1834
20 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF gives his explanation for the transition from light to heat at the red end of the spectrum: 'Assume it to be demonstrated that both Light and Heat consist of transverse vibrations of one and the same medicine. Assume that vibrations beyond a certain length cease to affect the eye, but produce the sensation of heat, which shorter ones are unable to do'. The greatest problem is to account for the presence of heat accompanying the light: 'That there is a general connexion between the length and the velocity (and consequently the refrangibility) of a wave Mr Cauchy [A.L. Cauchy] is said to have made out'. JDF has not looked at his results sufficiently to know even if the supposition is correct: 'for instance if it be (as I rather think Mr Cauchy makes it) dependent on Trigonometrical quantites we may have an indefinite number of specific lengths of waves which shall answer the condition of a specific degree of refrangibility, and amougst these only one may be contained within the limits producing the sensation of Light whilst a certain number may belong to the department of heat, and those above a certain length may have no existence in nature, as may be imperceptible to all our senses'. Another important consequence of this theory is the mixture of heat of different qualities: 'When examined by absorbents various kinds of heat are to be found in every ray of the spectrum, in short there is (probably) not a homogenous ray of heat in it'. JDF suggests: 'If we limit the law of dispersion to giving only two numerical values of the length of waves (though our hypothesis requires more) we may have the intensity of heat expressed as below [a graph representing the heat of a spectrum] by the sum of the ordinates of a curve extending the length of the spectrum and folding back on itself (supposing as we must do that the heat increases to a certain point with the length of wave, since a short wave is ony light)'.
1 doc.
16 May 1835
21 James David Forbes to William Whewell. 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 obsevations '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 Foutevrault and the church at Candes'.
1 doc.
26 Jun 1835
22 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has 'an inborn love of mountains and detestation of plains' and consequently 'lingered in the Pyrenees' and explored them all summer: 'On the hot springs and their connexion with geology I have collected a quantity of good facts, while I must try to methodize a little sooner those I have been able to do with the results of my last tour'. He has also been pursuing magentic researches on the Spanish border. However, the Pyrenees 'are not to be named beside the Alps'. The people of Gavarnie have peculiar manners and dress, while their 'language is singularly corrupt, generally approaching the Catalan, and totally distinct from the Basque which is only spoken at that extreminity of the Pyrenees which I did not visit'. Thanks WW for the news he sent concerning the BAAS meeting in Dublin. Does WW like Poisson's book ? [S.D. poisson, 'Theorie Mathematique de la Chaleur', 1835]. JDF has not seen it: Poisson 'refuses still assent to the undulatory theory (an old grudge) says he thinks we shall return to the true theory by the way of Heat; of course I thought exactly the reverse'. .
1 doc.
11 Sep 1835
23 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has read an account of the BAAS Dublin meeting and Professor Powell's [Baden Powell] account of Melloni's [Macedonio Melloni] and JDF's experiments: 'His chief object seems to have been to make out the accuracy of his own papers, and he certainly mistakes Melloni's results as completely as it is possible to do when he makes him say that there are two distinct kinds of heat. On the contrary there are an infinite variety which pass into one another insensibly. He equally mistakes my results when he makes them to depend upon Mr Murphy's [Robert Murphy, 'Elementary Principles of the Theories of Electricity, Heat, and Molecular Actions', 1833] Integration. This is precisely Biot's [Jean Baptiste Biot] objection, viz that the two positions of the plates are not symmetrical as regards the effect of conduction [JDF gives a diagram showing the angles of the plates]. Granted at once. But will the mathematical gentlemen only have the goodness to see the experiment tried and they will see that the effect is of an order quite superior to any effect of conduction whatever - that it is independent of the distances of the plates from one another, which requires, no nicety of adjustment, so that the integration (if practicable) will go for nothing. I have really a right to insist that my experiments shall be seen before they are judged. I admit all the mathematical perturbations, but the chief cause is as clearly developed as the influence of the moon on the tides'. The tables have turned in Paris in favour of JDF's theory: 'Arago [Dominique F J Arago], Libri [Gaglielmo Libri] and Dulong [P. L. Dulong] have taken up my cause, Biot is at last silenced'. Could WW point out to Mr Murphy [Robert Murphy] 'that in the case of Depolarization by the mica plate there is the most perfect symmetry (mathematically) which he can desire'.
1 doc.
02 Oct 1835
24a James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF did not suppose that WW's Report ['Report on the Recent Progress and Present Condition of the Mathmatical Theories of Electricity, Magnetism and Heat', Report of the BAAS, 5th meeting, 1835] would cover his subject [heat], neither was his last letter meant to influence WW's conclusions [see JDF to WW, 2 October 1836]: 'but knowing that your attention had been generally turned to the subject and to Mr Murphy's [Robert Murphy] views I thought it probable that you might have heard the objection which having a certain mathematical plausability might have struck you'. If WW can he should read JDF's short article on the subject drawn up for the Philosophical Magazine - if WW is at Taylor's ask him for a copy. What does WW think of Poisson's views? [S.D. poisson, 'Theorie Mathematique de la Chaleur', 1835]: JDF has 'bought the book but only read the statement of them inserted by himself in the Annales de Chimie. I confess it is very provoking to see him knocking down Fourier's [Joseph Fourier] results right and left (they were on bad terms when he was alive) and above all giving space a temp. of - 13 cent. seems too absurd. Whatever his transcendant merit as a mathenatician may be I have lost a good deal of my respect for him as a physician lately'. .
1 doc.
05 Oct 1835
24b James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF did his best to look after Professor Plucker [Jul. Plucker] of Bonn: 'He seemed pleased with my optical apparatus which is now pretty complete and in the Airy [George Airy] fashion'. Thanks WW for reading his memorandum for the Philosophical Magazine [on heat]. Professor Powell [Baden Powell] 'much to my gratification, disclaims in toto the colour which the reporter has given to his account of my experiments in the Phil. Mag....I don't know what Murphy [Robert Murphy] says. It is only lately that I have grown jealous of any little credit my polarizing might bring me'. JDF is sorry he has not acted sooner on WW's suggestions for tides but will endeavour to get it established. George Airy has asked JDF for advice on taking magentic obsevations, can WW make sure he received JDF's reply. He spent a day with Mr Harcourt [Vernon Harcourt] and urged him to work hard in securing a good attendance at Bristol for the forthcoming BAAS meeting: 'I think the place ill chosen, but yet that it may be one of the best in point of science'. What does WW think of Lord Brougham's book?: 'it is certainly remarkable'. WW should not enlarge his mechanics which JDF still expects it to sell well in Edinburgh. JDF still hopes to publish on the Pyrenean hot waters. He has been examining his thermometer in Bessel's [Friedrich Bessel] way 'which does not do much credit to Troughton [Edward Troughton] and Simms [William Simms] 'standard''.
1 doc.
12 Nov 1835
25 James David Forbes to William Whewell. News on the tide observations being done in Scotland: 'I have seen Mr Dall, under whose directions they are made. They extend to the time of high water and the depth'. Observations are taken twice a day: 'The observer is confidential and well looked after and his watch regulated. I have looked over some of the Tables, and was sorry to find a great many figures put down verbatim from the almanack I presume however that this is only done when the observed and completed times sensibly agree, because no deception can be intended since in the observation book the computed and observed times are placed side by side and therefore detection is immeadiate'. JDF is writing a paper on the Pyrenean springs, their temperature and geological relations for the Royal Society of London. He hopes his work on their temperature proves to be a model for future observers. He hopes to have magnified the effects of polarized heat to an extent that they are beyond doubt. He adopted a technique suggested by George Airy for polarizing by reflection which although convenient and decisive, was inferior to his own method of polarzing via thin plates of mica inclined at the polarizing angle. JDF gives an example with dark heat, and another in which he substitutes the usual heated plate [he gives a diagram] with a tin box filled with boiling water. JDF's students are 'voraciously' reading WW's mechanics ['An Elementary Treatise on Mechanics', 4th edn. 1833]: 'It is out of print; you must give us a new one'. .
1 doc.
07 Jan 1836
26 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF believes he has decisively discovered the identity of heat with that of light: 'I found that Dark Heat is copiously reflected within rock salt at an angle too great for its emergence'.
1 doc.
02 Feb 1836
27 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has not seen the experiments by Biot [Jean Baptiste Biot] on circular polarisation which WW gave an account of in his last letter: they 'must have been made subsequent to, and in consequence of mine'. WW is wrong to suggest to JDF that he has neglected the influence of the crystalline structure on heat: 'Depend upon it that Biot has not got the effects you mention, with Dark heat, and hence the information it gives is only partial, shewing that light and heat disappear together as they always do'. He has been investigating the action of metals on heat which show both remarkable analogies but also differences with light: 'P.S. Since writing the above I have (partly) a doubt which has much perplexed me. The action of metals gives a maximum polarizing angle for heat greater than for Light, whence I concluded that the index of refraction must be greater for the former than the latter, - contrary to my general views'. He finds in David Brewster's paper 'that a precisely similar fact occurs in the action of metals on light; the Red ray is polarized at a greater incidence than the blue'.
1 doc.
10 Mar 1836
28 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF observed the eclipse on sunday with Murchison [Roderick Murchison]. JDF made it the occasion of trying out an experiment to test David Brewster's hypothesis regarding the solar spectrum. According to DB's theory the solar spectrum lines are a product of the sun's own atmosphere: 'if so, the edges of the sun which afford light which must have traversed a much greater thickness of the sun's atmosphere should shew an infinity of lines which are filled up by the more complete light derived from his central parts'. JDF found no difference in the solar spectrum during and after the eclipse, hence this theory of absorption will not hold: 'I presume that the sun's light (like that of the Electric spark etc) is primitively deficient'. JDF thinks that an interesting point worth developing would be to look at 'the variation in the kind and quantity of proof required as demonstration by the human mind in different ages'. Edinburgh University is in need of some good candidates for the Logic Chair - 'I wish you could send us some'. JDF is glad 'you have got some new supporters of the undulatory theory'.
1 doc.
20 May 1836
29 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF would like WW to be at the next meeting of the Council of the Royal Society, where they are going to discuss JDF's paper - 'On the Hot Springs of the Pyrenees and the Verification of Thermometers'. The Society referees suggested the results should begin in a tabular form, which would have meant JDF restructuring more than two thirds of the paper. He complained to the Secretary of the Society and convinced the referees that they were wrong in their suggestion: 'excellent as is the system of Reference employed by the council, it has a dangerous tendency to degenerate into a system of minute interference to which few authors will submit, when papers of acknowledged merit stand a chance of rejection because their form or construction may not coincide with that which the individual to whom they may be referred, may think the best possible'. The paper is soon to be brought before the Council and JDF is keen for it to appear in the next issue of the Transactions of the Royal Society. JDF understands that 'a very engaging young man' (Robert Leslie Ellis) - who JDF met two years ago in Bath - is to be WW's student. JDF has 'set about getting Thermometres constructed up to 25 ft long for sinking in the ground. I mean to have one set in solid Trap Rock and another in sand or clay' [The purpose of these experiments was to ascertain the progress of solar heat in the crust of the globe]. What JDF has seen of Poisson's book on heat [S.D. poisson, 'Theorie Mathematique de la Chaleur', 1835] 'does not at all raise my opinion of him as a Physician'.
1 doc.
21 Sep 1836
30 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF thanks WW for all his support over the years and for his recent intervention in ensuring JDF's paper ['On the Hot Springs of the Pyrenees and the Verification of Thermometers'] was published in the next part of the Transactions of the Royal Society [see JDF to WW, 21 September 1836]. In connection with the proceedings of the BAAS meeting at Bristol, JDF has 'got 12 Thermometers from 3 to 26 feet long, ready for the rites of sepulture'. One set are to lie in a 'warm bed of Trap' rock at the observatory, another in the 'hard cold sandstone of Craig Leith'; and a third set in the 'softly repose in a deep bed of perfectly uniform, dry, incoherent sand. How ofeten do you think they should be observed?' JDF has subjected his magnetic observations taken at the Alps and the Pyranees to calculation and has found a 'distinct indication of a diminution of intensity of about 1/1000 part, for 3000 feet of ascent'. Jean Baptiste Biot has written a very interseting paper about astronomical refractions. JDF hopes to apply Biot's methods to his observations with the actinometer on the extinction of light in the atmosphere. Has WW seen Lloyd's [Humphrey Lloyd] six lectures on the wave theory?: 'It seems to be done in a style much wanted as a model for English works of the kind'. JDF is really looking forward to WW's 'Opus Magnus' ['The History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Present Time', 3 vols, 1837]. What does WW think of the Metropolitan University: 'will it have any effect upon Oxford or Cambridge? If it can hurt anybody it will be our medical schools. Has Murphy [Robert Murphy] got the London College Chair. He wrote to me for a certificate which I declined on the ground of insufficient acquaintance with his department of the Pure Mathematics'.
1 doc.
26 Dec 1836
31 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF looks forward to WW's completed work ['The History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Present Time', 3 vols, 1837]. He has planted all his long thermometers in safety [see JDF to WW, 26 December 1836]. If WW has not yet completed his section on the history of magnetism JDF will send WW proof sheets announcing his law of diminution [see JDF to WW, 26 december 1836]. He has commenced experiments designed 'to measure the Depolarizing effect of different thicknesses of Mica on heat from different sources, and by ascertaining the periods of Maxima and Minima to find if possible the lengths of the waves. I hope also to do something by finding the critical angles of total Reflection'. .
1 doc.
03 Feb 1837
32 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF rejoices to hear that WW's book is so well advanced ['The History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Present Time', 3 vols, 1837]: 'Does it contain any of the Tabular views which I recollect to have seen in your rooms some time since?' JDF has been thinking a great deal about Stevelly's [John Stevelly?] balloon project announced at the Bristol BAAS meeting: 'I feel so much interest in the prospect of an ascent higher than Gay Lusacs (2300 ft) that I would willingly join personally in any scheme recommended by experienced air-travellers. The Association [BAAS] is more likely to take it up than the R. Society'. JDF notes that Dr Ritchie [William Ritchie?] has brought his notions about the velocity of sound before the Royal Society: 'I thought of the matter a day or two after and immeadiately perceived the extraordinary fallacy about the difference of velocity as rarefied and condensed waves to which he seems to allude; - the fact is that cold does to a rarefied wave just what heat does to one of condensation'. JDF gives his mixed view on the anemometer. He has recommended to the Council of the Royal Society that WW's friend, Mr Russell [John Scott Russell?] , has his paper on Resistance experiments published. JDF's paper on terrestrial magnetism is ready: George Airy has asked for his opinion on the magnetic system GA proposes at Greenwich. .
1 doc.
05 Mar 1837
33 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF spent the whole summer in Germany and only returned to Edinburgh ten days ago. Thanks WW for copies of his book on Education and the Mechanical Euclid ['On the Principles of English University Education', 1837 and 'Mechanical Euclid', 1837]: 'I cannot but hope that your book on universities will not be without use. I enter most cordially respecting German Universities. In fact not one who has not examined them can have an idea of the quantity of pure humbug and inefficiency which they contain, and yet we are doomed to have them perpetually cast in our teeth as models of perfection'. JDF saw the article in the Edinburgh Review of WW's work 'with much more regret than surprise' [David Brewster's review of WW's 'History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Present Times', Edinburgh Review, 1837]. JDF has heard nothing on the BAAS meeting in Liverpool: 'I should like to know from you how the Scientific spirit of the thing was preserved'. Has WW any news on George Airy and the magnetic observatory? Gauss [Karl Friedrich Gauss] has published an interesting book of the results of the magnetic simultaneous observations: 'He is an odd and rather disagreeable man: inclosed in an inpenetrable casing of self satisfaction...Very differnt is Encke [J. F. Encke] at Berlin, one of the most agreeable as well as striking men I have met with'. Compared to the English meeting [BAAS], the German meeting 'is now a very trifling matter'. JDF met Von Buck and has been studying his Dolomite theory in the Eiffel and in the South Tyrol. He looks forward to WW's philosophy of induction and hopes 'it will contain the Tabular views which I recollect to have got a glimpse of and which I was disappointed not to find in your volumes'.
1 doc.
01 Nov 1837
34 James David Forbes to William Whewell. A letter introducing James Reid (one of JDF's pupils) to WW.
1 doc.
05 Nov 1837
35 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his book on the Doctrine of Limits ['The Doctrine of Limits with its Applications Namely Conic Sections, the First Three Sections of Newton, the Differential Calculus', 1838], and congratulates him on his award of the Royal Society Medal for his work on tides. JDF has had news that John Herschel is soon to return [from the Cape in South Africa]. JDF has been working hard on the subject of Heat: 'I have got an unexceptionable method of measuring Indices of Refraction of heat (which you are probably aware has hitherto been unsuccesfully attempted - numerically I mean, -) by observing the critical angle of Total Reflection, a method which may probably one day be so far improved as to give the means of analyzing a ray of heat into its component fasciculi between definite limits of refrangibility. In the next place I have worked out numerically the law of Depolarization which when the length of a wave is given will give the retardation and vice versa'. Macedoni Melloni begun his long paper on Depolarization by trying to 'pick holes' in JDF's experiments 'very ungraciously and substitute his own for them', but 'he ends in confirming all my results and adding almost nothing of his own, with a single exception viz. he finds all kinds of heat equally polarizable; I find it less so as the Temp. is lower - obviously a point of great importance for Theory'. His discrepency with Melloni concerns the experimental set-up: 'Melloni instead of using my excessively thin polarizing bundles of mica split by heat, employs the old piles of distinct mica plates as I first used them. the fact is the heat in being polarized passes through so much mica, that it loses its distinctive character and whatever be the source consists at last only of that kind of heat which mica is capable of transmitting'. Conversely, JDF's extra thin mica piles 'suffers heat from different sources to pass with almost equal readiness. so there is an end of the puzzle'. .
1 doc.
13 Mar 1838
36 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Further to WW's letter JDF will visit Cambridge in mid-may. JDF is really pleased to hear that the second part of WW's work ['The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Founded upon their History', 2 vols.,1840] is well in progress. 'The article in the Edinburgh is considered so purely personal that it is seldom mentioned but as such and with the authors name' [David Brewster's review of WW's 'History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Present Times', Edinburgh Review, 1837]. JDF has been working hard reducing the results of his long thermometers, which will hopefully be complete for the next BAAS meeting in August. He read WW's address to the Geological Society with great interest ['Address Delivered at the Anniversary Meeting of the Geological Society of London, on the 16 February 1838']. He is 'a little sceptical as to the efficiency of Herschel and Babbage's new mechanical agent'. .
1 doc.
12 May 1838
37 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF's experiments with his subterranean thermometers have been so successful he has printed an early circular giving a first approximation of the results [attached to this letter - 'Discussion of One Year's Observations of Thermometers Sunk to Different Depths in Different Localities in the Neighbourhood of Edinburgh', private circulation, 1838: The aim of the experiments was to ascertain the progress of solar heat in the crust of the globe - see JDF to WW, 21 September 1836]. JDF notes that Hopkins [William Hopkins] has been giving his views respecting the interior of the earth to the Royal Society: 'Are his results wholly dynamical or partly theoretical'. A pupil of JDF's has been investigating the temperature of the interior of the globe in the manner of S.D. Poisson but with P.L. Dulong and A.T. Petit's law. JDF came to Newcastle shortly afer the BAAS meeting hoping to find WW. He saw Babbage [Charles Babbage]: 'as miserable as a man could well be after all his wanton mischief at Newcastle. He wished to make me a convert to his cause, but even by his own shewing he was so utterly in the wrong that there was no hope for him'. JDF has been at work on heat: 'trying to get the law of reflection at surfaces'.
1 doc.
21 Dec 1838
38 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is pleased that so much is about to be done for magnetism: 'This southern expedition will be a very good thing in various respects and not least so in turning the direction of the public mind to science' [the magnetic crusade]. Robinson [John T. Robinson?] informs JDF that he has built one of Gauss's [Karl friedrich Gauss] magnetometers for Lloyd [Humphrey Lloyd], and that it 'answers admirably'. The government have given money toward the Glasgow observatory which JDF hopes will be a physical and not an astronomical one. JDF hopes something will be done to diminish the number of entrants at the forthcoming BAAS meeting - especially with the railroad to Birmingham: 'the state of matters will be frightful, and destructive I fear of real scientific objects'. JDF is hopefully going to Paris and then to the South-East of France.
1 doc.
28 Apr 1839
39 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF sends WW a memorandum of his experiments [no longer attached]: 'Of the unexpected effect of Roughened surfaces there cannot be the slightest doubt. But whether the fine lines drawn by the surface of salt correspond in their action exactly to opake wires, as in diffractive experiments on light, I am not prepared to say, and indeed so far as direct experiments go I have not found my anticipations altogether verified. Can you suggest any mode of action of ground surfaces which opake fibres would not produce, and which would be analogous to that of Coloration in the case of Light?' JDF has been making some experiments on the form of the elliptic vibrations of heat to verify some formula of Cauchy [A.L. Cauchy] which he sent JDF to test: 'The results seem to come out well - and by a graphical process I can readily project the ellipse, find the direction of the greater axis, the excentricity etc'. Vernon Harcourt has written to JDF on the subject of Watt and Cavendish: 'I certainly think he is bound for his own sake and that of the association to probe to the bottom...he writes me that he has got plenty and most conclusive' [a controversy concerning the work of Watt and Cavendish]. WW has probably seen the 'angry translation of Arago [Dominique Arago] published under the sanction of Mrs Watt. The Edinburgh Review is on the whole I think fair in its criticisms, which rather surprised me considering the evidence of the authorship and the alliance with Lord Brougham [Henry Brougham]'. Has WW or anyone seen 'Lord B's analysis of Newton's Principia?' Does WW 'think it necessary that the light or heat transmitted by an opake grating should always be as the Area of Interstices, independent of wavelength?' .
1 doc.
08 Feb 1840
40 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF returns the proof sheets on heat which WW sent him to check [probably a section of WW's 'The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Founded upon their History', 2 vols, 1840]. WW has no doubt seen Dominique Arago's unimpressed 'Interim reply' to Vernon Harcourt [see JDF to WW, 8 February 1840]. JDF has 'not quite (but nearly) done tormenting heat with gratings and Dusty Diaphragms. All I can do, all kinds of Heat get through the finest gratings (metallic) in precisely equal proportions and that equal to the area of Interstices; yet grooved surfaces exert a powerful specific action. I am reluctantly forced to the conclusion too, that pure metals may be reduced to powder so fine as to affect the quality of the heat transmitted, tho' the thinest gold leaf prevents no appreciable portion of heat to pass'. .
1 doc.
22 Feb 1840
41 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF will probably visit Cambridge at the end of the week.
1 doc.
18 May 1840
42 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has received both WW's mechanics and moral philosophy ['An Elementary Treatise on Mechanics', 6th edn., 1841 and 'Two Introductory Lectures on Moral Philosophy', 1841]. JDF has been reading Sewell's [William Sewell] Christian Morals: 'a very different sort of work - yet one which notwithstanding his ultra views on the church question in which I little if at all sympathize with him, and certain germanesque mystical analogies near the close, has afforded me matter for useful thought beyond any book I have lately read'. JDF will not make the BAAS meeting at Plymouth. He wants to take another view of the French volcanoes and then join Agassiz [Louis Agassiz] and visit the glaciers. JDF thinks he has 'come to some understanding about the queer planes of polarization of the sky which I will send you a little notice of soon'. He has been examining George Peacock's 'most comprehensive Reforms. The note about private Tutors I presume you agree with'. JDF and his sister are going to move actually into town. Kelland [Philip Kelland] 'has been going on with his wave investigations (I mean water in canals) which seem to afford good results'. JDF has been constructing 'a kind of inverted Pendulum for measuring Earthquake shocks'.
1 doc.
17 Mar 1841
43 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF congratulates WW on his iminent marriage [to Cordelia Marshall]. JDF spent a fortnight in the 'wilds of Dauphine' before coming across the Alps to Grimsel Hospice, where he had arranged to meet Agassiz [Louis Agassiz]: 'Our position gave every facility for the study of the mechanism of a glacier'. The area is one of the best for illustrating Agassiz's views: 'the Polished and striated surfaces of this valley seem completely to baffle the ordinary means of explanation - The action of water it is absurd to talk of - The moraines are more difficult'. JDF gives a description of their elementary and cold sleeping conditions. Their position gives them access to the whole of the glacier (20 or 25 miles long): However, JDF doubts 'whether much has been done (or will be) for the glacier theory itself'. He has met many Swiss and other visitors and was particularly impressed by 'Studer of Berne [Bern. Studer] who seems to be much less known as a geologist in England than he deserves'. JDF thinks Beaumont [Jean Baptiste Elie de Beaumont] and the French geologists 'are very desirous to keep his [Studer] labours out of sight'.
1 doc.
22 Sep 1841
44 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDf congratulates WW on being made Master of Trinity College: 'The great influence connected with that station will give additional currency to the views on education and other subjects which I am happy to think that I hold in common with you'.
1 doc.
31 Oct 1841
45 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF again congratulates WW on being made Master of Trinity College [see JDF to WW, 31 October 1841]. The decline of university education in Scotland is not a local or temporary cause, but a general one: 'I apprehend that it depends upon the struggle for education of families which drives so many to emigrate - and the only kind of education which is at a premium is that which fits men for Australia or for Canada. In England on the other hand where university education never have anything like the proportion which it did with us to the wealth or even the population of the country, these causes do not act appreciably on the old universities, tho' they are even more felt than with us in the London medical schools'. JDF has never had a more fruitful summer than the one he just spent viewing glaciers [see JDF to WW, 22 September 1841]: 'People who visit a glacier and return to the civilized world at night think they get a good idea of it, but it is only a protracted residence amongst these icy solitude which imbues one truly with their spirit and enables one to reason confidently concerning things so widely removed from common experience...in truth the whole theory of the mechanism and economy of a glacier is yet in its infancy'. JDF finds plenty of arguments against current theories of glacier motion, although 'the geological speculations of Charpentier [Jean de Charpentier] followed up by Agassiz [Louis Agassiz] appear to admit of more definite treatment'.
1 doc.
07 Nov 1841
46 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his letter: 'I feel the position in which you are placed and perhaps you had over rated what I could reasonably have expected or asked you to do' [this could be JDF asking WW to help him gain a Royal pension, which he later received for his scientific studies in 1845]. JDF hopes that by the time the Cabinet Ministers have his application they will be familiar with his name: - 'be predisposed to consider it favourably by knowing that persons in whose judgment they are likely to confide in questions touching scientific merit, enetertain a favourable opinion of the qualifications of any person who is proposed to receive a public mark of distinction'. If WW gets a chance of saying so much to Henry Goulburn - referring to JDF's application made via Lord Aberdeen - 'it is as much as I can expect'. .
1 doc.
21 Dec 1841
47 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF thanks WW for the Smith's [Prize] Paper. He gives his comments regarding the 'offensive' article in the Edinburgh Review on WW's philosophy ['the Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Founded upon their History', 2 vols., 1840]: 'I apprehend the Editor or Publisher must for the character of the work put a stop to such articles in future - and I have heard that he is quite aware that they will not be tolerated any more'. JDF is particularly annoyed since he had committed an article to the journal before it appeared: 'which I wish had not been sullied by such a piece of spite and injustice'. JDF's review would have appeared in the Quarterly Review had not Louis Agassiz already offered an article: 'I have hopes that my article will make a good impression, will correct many erroneous views prevalent on the glacier theory, and will direct the progress of Discovery, which is what a really good Review ought to do instead of being made the vehicle of self adulation and vituperation of others'. Further to his application to government [see JDF to WW, 21 december 1841]: 'Lord Aberdeen and Sir George Clerk both expressed themselves in a very favourable, and the latter even in a sanguine, manner; Sir G. C. brought it before Sir R. Peel who does not seem to have discouraged the application'. JDF received a stunning reference from John Herschel, and two others from George Airy and Francis Baily. WW will be consulted at a later date. JDF is reducing observations made in the Alps with Herschel's actinometer.
1 doc.
20 Feb 1842
48 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has receivedthe enclosed [no longer attached] from Mr Robertson of Elgin, a friend of Louis Agassiz: 'I had never asked for an expression of his opinion' [a dispute between JDF and Agassiz, over who discovered the veined structure of a glacier and the idea that its centre moves faster than its sides]. He hopes WW will put JDF's case to the Trevelyans who spent alot of time with Agassiz last year. .
1 doc.
23 May 1842
49 James David Forbes to William Whewell. George Airy has probably told WW of 'the fate of the Eclipse [from Turin] which for me at least was as nearly a failure as the circumstances admitted'. JDF has tried to put an end to his controversy with Louis Agassiz [see JDF to WW, 23 May 1842], however, Agassiz 'replied very coldly declining to see me'. JDF has been well recieved by Studer [Bern. Studer], Charpentier [Jean de Charpentier] and his other Geneva friends, and his controversy with Agassiz has 'in general here as well as in Paris ...been correctly enough interpreted'. He has been able to 'establish many things about the movement of glaciers which so far as I know have never been solved directly': It is a physico-mechanical question: Does a glacier move uniformerly at all its points of its length and breadth? Does it move at all seasons? From the measurements he has already made, JDF thinks that the glaciers movement probably depends on the temperature: 'Nevertheless the variation of day and night scarcely modifies the glaciers march. Whilst, hitherto, the proof of glacier motion has been watching the progress of a block of stone from year to year by some rough measurement from a fixed point, I have constructed a glacier dial on the face of a Rock, on which it not only apparently 'moved from day to day' - but on which I can trace its march from hour to hour!'. A glacier moves slower the nearer it is to its origin as opposed to its extremity, and fastest at the centre of its breadth: 'contrary to the opinion hitherto universally entertained that the edges move fastest'. The circumstances of the movement of a glacier (in all its points) can be determined in a few days at a particular season. He has made a number of observations of the veined structure of ice glaciers [it was JDF's description of this coupled with an outline of the various speed of parts of the glacier in his article in the Edinburgh Review which sparked his priority dispute with Agassiz]: No one had 'imagined that structure existed generally, until my paper was published'.
1 doc.
31 Jul 1842
50 James David Forbes to William Whewell. It is of great importance to examine the condition of one glacier at different seasons. JDF has been able to 'compare my general observations as to the structure and permanent phenomena on a great number of glaciers'. On one of his excursions he went with Studer [Bern. Studer] - 'the great Swiss geologist (and one whose merit has not been sufficiently recognized elsewhere partly owing to the jealousy of the French)'. JDF has made numerous drawings of the glaciers: 'I have arrived beyond all doubt at the normal type of the structure of all glaciers'. He has put his account in three letters which he has sent to Jameson [Robert Jameson], and which WW will receive when printed: 'I think I now see my way to a scheme of glacier movement...in which gravity continually acting on a semi solid - ie a solid always near its melting point - produces with time the same effect as it would speedily do with a viscous substance. I have no doubt that the glacier moulds itself to its bed like a viscous body - and falls down in the centre more rapidly than at the sides which are retarded by friction moulding itself into curves'. JDF will try to prove this by a comparison of two classes of facts: Firstly, the measures of motion in different parts of the ice at different seasons. Secondly, the statical facts of structure which JDF will try to show to be in accordance with these dynamical measures: 'I wish to explain to you that what I consider as original and important in my summers work is this: - that where as hitherto, so far as I know without exception (that is until the lectures which I delivered on glaciers last winter and my article in the Ed. Rev.) people have thought a theory of glaciers by looking at them simply, conceiving a cause a priori (as gravity, or dilatation) and have sought to prove it by direct experiments on the nature and structure of the ice, its temp. and the like, - I put the question of glacier motion as one of pure mechanics to be determined a posteriori from a knowledge of the empirical laws of that motion which are as definite and as determinable as the Elliptic Emperical Law of Planetary moton - thence to deduce the cause. I also was the first beyond any doubt to apply methods of determining the diurnal motion of the ice which involves the whole practical solution of the problem'. .
1 doc.
21 Sep 1842
51 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF enjoyed his stay in Cambridge. While Edinburgh University is a declining institution, 'the continued prosperity of the English universities is one of the happiest signs of the Times'. JDF congratulates WW on officially being made Vice-Chancellor of the University. He has sent WW a forth letter on 'all the most essential elements of a mechanical theory' of glaciers. Robert Peel has taken no notice of JDF's application [I think for a Royal pension, see JDF to WW, 22 December 1841]. JDF's paper on solar radiation for the Royal Society is to be made the Bakerian Lecture.
1 doc.
20 Nov 1842
52 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is 'surprised with your astronomers [James Challis] speculations about the comet'. JDF is convinced it is a comet - especially since so many astronomers independently around Europe saw it more-or-less in the same orbit: 'But it is like Challis's old crotchet on the undulatory theory'. JDF is going to write up his European travels ['Travels through the Alps of Savoy and other parts of the Pennine Chain with Observations on the Phenomena of Glaciers', 1843]. Adam Sedgwick expressed himself favourably to JDF regarding the glacier priority dispute between JDF and Louis Agassiz [see JDF to WW, 23 May 1842]. JDF thinks Hopkins [William Hopkins] comments may be interesting, but no more than the idea 'that the heat of the earth keeps the ice constatntly detached from the sides and bottom except at the surface in winter'. All this will not move glaciers: 'it is essentially plastic and semi fluid, and this semifluidity is I am persuaded the main and almost the sole cause of its motion as I shall attempt to demonstrate in my book'.
1 doc.
13 May 1843
53 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF encloses two sheets of glacial theory he wants WW to comment on. He is off shortly to Somerset but must return in order to be married.
1 doc.
16 Jun 1843
54 James David Forbes to William Whewell. WW must have missed a footnote which answers the observations he made regarding the two sheets he sent him on glacial theory [see JDF to WW, 16 June 1843]: the structural shells 'arise at any point of the glacier from the tendency to separation of the surfaces, determined by the line of least resistance'. JDF describes an experiment (with pictures) he has constructed to show the movement of the glacier: 'I think that your difficulty about the motion of any particle of the ice being urged upwards over its neighbours in front, will appear to you to vanish when you recollect that the whole resistance to the motion of a particle is compounded of the resistance in front from the stiffness or viscosity of the particles in advance and the weight of the particles above'.
1 doc.
22 Jun 1843
55 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is determined to spend the winter in the south: 'I had a serious, even alarming pulmonary inflamation at Bonn in July and August', although he is quite well now. JDF and Mrs Forbes are now on their way to Naples and Sicily, and intend to spend the spring in Rome. He is grateful for WW's 'approbation' of his book and would appreciate any comments he has concerning difficulties with his theory ['Travels through the Alps of Savoy and other parts of the Pennine Chain with Observations on the Formation of Glaciers', 1843]: 'It is very odd tha Hopkins [William Hopkins] seems to persist in considering my theory to be in opposition to his experiment whereas I have always admitted that his experiment, so far as the excessively minute gravity which the earth's heat can melt (1/25 inch per annum) can be of any avail, is very ingenious and to the point, and that it will help my Glacier down, but it is neither the cause of its moving, nor can it very materially affect the manner of it'. He would like WW to look at the models of viscous fluids which he has sent Heath [John M. heath?], since they help in understanding its structure. He has had positive reactions to his book from Bischoff, Studer and Elie de Beaumont, 'all of whom adopt my views'.
1 doc.
15 Nov 1843
56 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is pleased he decided to spend the winter abroad, and has nothing but praise for his Edinburgh colleagues (Thomas Henderson and Philip Kelland) who offered to fill in for him while he was absent. At Naples he saw small scale continual eruption within the crater of Veseuvius: 'I saw lava flowing and had an opportunity of comparing it in various states with the conditions of a glacier'. His findings are generally favourable to his glacier theory and he has communicated his observations in a letter to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. .
1 doc.
18 Mar 1844
57 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his letter and proceeds to answer his query regarding the veined structure of Glaciers: WW objects that 'the shells produced by the rupture of the parts of the ice, caused by excessive friction should get all parallel to the sides and bottom of the trough of the glacier, instead of being inclined from the sides inwards and forwards towards the centre and from the bottom upwards and forwards'. JDF has tried to explain his argument for the veined structure in the final chapter of his book ['Travels through the Alps of Savoy and other parts of the Pennine Chain with Observations on the Formation of Glaciers', 1843]. It is the most difficult and least obvious part of his theory. JDF gives a detailed outline with drawings of his argument: 'The tearing asunder of the particles of the glacier owing to the friction of the sides is nearly but not quite parallel to the sides, for this reason, that the lines of greatest strain are determined naturally by the force of gravitation which urges the particles forwards, but there is a drag towards the centre of the stream in consequence of the greater velocity there...The veined structure of the ice corresponds to the ripple of the water, a molecular discontinuity whose measure is not comparable to the actual velocity of the ice, and therefore the general movement of the glacier, as indicated by its moraines, remains sensibly parallel to the sides'. The same thing happens in lava flow.
1 doc.
18 May 1844
58 James David Forbes to William Whewell. They are returning home from the continent. JDF hopes to see WW at the BAAS meeting in York. He has carried out some experiments 'which I consider important as establishing directly the flexibility and viscosity of the ice, i.e. that the form of a transverse line even in the compactest part of the glacier does not become zig zag, thus [gives a picture], as it ought to be if the ice was jostled down in fragments but forms a sensibly continuous curve with slight inflections'. William Hopkins glacier papers suggested these experiments: 'I cannot say I think much of his theory, in so far as it differs from that of viscous motion, and I think he has exaggerated the differences and suppressed the coincidences. I think too that the papers afford an unfortunate specimen of the application of analysis where the ABC of gravity and mechanics would be much better. In this respect they afford I think a very bad example in philosophizing. Several of there so called demonstrations merely repeat what has been formerly plainly said in words'. .
1 doc.
08 Sep 1844
59 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his letter. JDF is waiting for William Hopkins article in the Philosophical Magazine to appear before he gives a reply [presumably to Hopkins differences with JDF's theory].
1 doc.
27 Dec 1844
60 James David Forbes to William Whewell. William Hopkin's paper in the Philosophical Magazine is hardly worth noticing: 'It is an abstract of his former memoirs in which some of the weaker parts are omitted; although the investigation of the Temp. of the interior of a glacier is really too absurd a misapplication of mathematical powers not to make those who see that it really proves absoluely nothing, feel a little hurt at an attempt to put symbols for arguments, and facts to boot, so evidently intended to overawe the unitiated. His attempt too to shew that I have confounded flexibility with fluidity or plasticity is an unhandsome one , and I believe unfounded'. JDF goes on to show why it is unfounded. He would appreciate WW writing a few words to the Philosophical Magazine in answer to Hopkins's criticisms: 'Mr Airy who kindly made a very careful study of the mechanical part of my theory, rates him even lower than I do. It is not therefore from the worth of the arguments themselves that I think they want refutation, nor am I afraid of their gaining any general acceptance beyond what the array of symbols produces in the mind of the ignorant: but I am chary of my reputation at Cambridge...and I know the great, the too great weight with which Hopkins's opinion impresses the younger men'. A word in support from WW would really help him: 'The public, always swayed by names , would think better of me if sustained by you'. JDF as written a paper about the focal adjustment of the eye to distances: 'I shall shew that the correction of spherical by the variable density of the crystalline is a mere dream of optical writers' ['On a Possible Explanation of the Adaption of the Eye to Distinct Vision at Different Distances', Trans. of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1845].
1 doc.
08 Jan 1845
61 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is very pleased with WW's published lettter on the glacier question [see JDF to WW, 8 January 1845]: 'the observations are excellent and I think unanswerable'. He received a 'pretty rude shock from looking over Hopkins's volumous paper', in which he has developed a 'set of truths stolen from me which he formerly utterly repudiated, and yet professes to find them as mere corollaries from or [un]important concomitants of, his x and y process'. JDF brings other aspects of Hopkins argument to WW's attention which he feels are suspect and injurious to his reputation: 'may I hope that you will again put in a word in my defence...a competent judge like yourself would not only set me straight with a majority, but would act as an antidote abroad, where Hopkins's pretended demonstrations will be received as law by those ill disposed to me already, and unable to either understand or refute anything expressed in matehmaticallanguage'.
1 doc.
05 Feb 1845
62 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is 'really touched by the kindness of your promise to defend my reputation on the glacier question' [see JDF to WW, 5 February 1845] . He gives the references to what WW wants to know regarding glacier and lava flow.
1 doc.
13 Feb 1845
63 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for the letter he wrote in support of JDF's glacier theory: 'which has relieved more than anything else could possibly have done the annoyance which I have felt about Hopkins [William Hopkins]'. He encloses a paper he has written on a theory of adaptation and the 'infactuation which optical writers have had to insist on a Density connection of spherical aberration - when there was not the least reason to imagine that there was one spherical surface in the eye' [['On a Possible Explanation of the Adaption of the Eye to Distinct Vision at Different Distances', Trans. of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1845, see JDF to WW, 8 January 1845].
1 doc.
05 Mar 1845
64 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF encloses the ninth letter he has written on glaciers: it 'contatins conclusive evidence in favour of the facts and results maintained by me deduced from the observations of Agassiz's [Louis Agassiz] friends'. WW will shortly be receiving an article by him intended partly as a reply to William Hopkins, and secondly to state his reluctance engaging in 'an endless and unconvincing controversy'. JDF will act upon anything WW says: 'even should it be your decided opinion that I ought not to take any notice of Mr Hopkins'.
1 doc.
02 Apr 1845
66 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his suggestions regarding the proofs to his forthcoming article defending his glacier theory against William Hopkins criticisms [see JDF to WW, 2 April 1845], and has consequently 'not only adopted these, but softened the expressions throughout almost every part of the article...I added a P.S...on the subject of his remarks on my models and experiments with his own. As usual he simply denies whatever does not suit him, such as the striated structure being produced by the Differential motions. His own experiments were made by moving the centre of his glacier mechanically not by gravity or the reaction of the parts of the model upon one another; and he states that in comparing the Results with his Theory, it is immaterial in what manner the movement was produced. Am I not thus perfectly justified in affirming that such experiments being irrespective of the cause of motion cannot affirm one cause rather than another'. .
1 doc.
27 Apr 1845
67 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has accepted James Challis's invitation to Cambridge Observatory. He is pleased that WW formed a favourable opinion of his article on William Hopkins [see JDF to WW, 27 April 1845]. 'You ask about our university Tests. As on all similar subjects men's minds seem to be undergoing a curious revolution on this.The result of the late discussions in our senate surprised me excessively. From the first I had resolved to take no part in it whatever. As an episcopalian I felt too much interested in the removal of them to trust myself to vote on that side; my prepossessions being certainly favourable to some species of test generally...every Professor present including old Presbyterians, Freechurchmen, Lawyers, several conservatives, and all the Episcopalians, voted for the removal of the Tests, except the Principal (Lee) and myself who did not vote...This curious result satisfied me that the minds of moderate sensible men in Scotland attached to Presbyterianism are in favour of the removal of the Tests which in our University at least have so long been nominal'. JDF is pleased WW likes his paper on the eye ['On a Possible Explanation of the Adaption of the Eye to Distinct Vision at Different Distances', Trans. of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1845, see JDF to WW, 5 March 1845].
1 doc.
27 May 1845
68 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has had WW's letters reprinted with instructions to send them to Mrs Marshall's at 21 Upper Grosvernor Street, London. 'I see that you have perceived that Herschel has a notion of the glacier moving piece-meal like a load of stones shot from a cart: and that this is especially different from the viscous theory which admits of strains on the parts as well as thrusts. It is plain that Sir J. H. dashed at the subject without considering it'. A year ago JH said 'I had not formed quite a clear idea' of my own theory, he also gave the above example in the form of 'a crush coming out of the Theatre'.
1 doc.
18 Aug 1845
69 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his 'A Liberal Education' ['Of A Liberal Education in General, and with Particular Reference to the Leading Studies of the University of Cambridge', 1845.]. JDF hopes WW's plans of reform at Cambridge prove successful. 'I am full of anxiety to hear of Faraday's [Michael Faraday] discovery which must I conceive be far the most important of our time, beyond Davy's [Humphrey Davy], Oersted's [Hans Christian Oersted], or any other. What a first and noble reputation he has achieved! Nine years ago I tried to magnetize a needle by circularly polarized light, without success - but I suspect I had been in the right track'.
1 doc.
15 Nov 1845
70 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is pleased WW approves of his review of Humboldt [Alexander von Humboldt, 'Cosmos'], and that WW's 'History and Philosophy' are to be reprinted with the additions ['Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences: Founded upon their History', 2nd edn., 2 vols., 1847]. 'In the Philosophy, I suppose that you will do battle with Mr Mill' [John S. Mill]. JDF is glad that WW still intends to do something regarding the Cambridge system of education but realises that 'it will be a struggle'. JDF assumes WW has the sequel to the 'Vestiges': 'It seemed to me an improvement on the book itself and to be written with considerable skill and temper; and to have clearly the upper hand with the Reviewers on several points. I must say the Edin. Review seemed to me a grievous failure - I do not mean in point of argument, but in the method of putting it and the temper in which it was put. It was to me utterly unreadable - I did not read a quarter of it - and so it was generally felt here. The author of the vestiges [(who is now generally beleived to be a denigen of modern atheus)] has shewn himself a very apt scholar, and has improved his knowledge and his arguments so much since his First Edition that his deformities no longer appear so disgusting. It was well that he began to write in the fulness of his ignorance and presumption, for had he begun now he might have been more dangerous'. WW will see from JDF's tenth letter on glaciers that Louis Agassiz 'has found his way into my mortar tub at last; though whether he will admit it or not...remains to be seen' [For the Agassiz dispute see 23 May 1842].
1 doc.
08 Jan 1846
71 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has been assured by someone interested in the Cavendish and Watt controversy, that WW wrote the article in the Quarterly Review [George Peacock, Qt Rev Dec 1845]. JDF does not think he did but would like this confirmed. He is pleased a former student of his, Duncan Sandeman, has become 3rd Wrangler and 2nd Smith's prizeman. 'Kelland [Philip Kelland] remarked that this is the second or third time that the Smith's prize examination has recently changed the results of the Senate house, and one need not go far to see the reason - the Senate house papers being full of quirks and remote questions straining after novelty instead of utility. Newton has almost disappeared from them. When will you be quit of the tyranny of the fancy men and private tutors?'.
1 doc.
17 Feb 1846
72 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Letter of introduction for Lord Mackenzie and Mrs Mackenzie. They want to visit Cambridge and examine 'something of the mode of conducting the studies of the place' prior to sending their son to Trinity. Thanks WW for the information regarding the Watt versus Cavendish question: 'The Wattites are I hear exceedingly exasperated, and have a quantity of documents with which they hope to blast the fame of Cavendish'. JDF does not view with much satisfaction a measure which will divide his episcopal college with their presbyterian neighbours, 'with whom hitherto, especially in matters of education, perfect anuity has long prevailed. Being by far the minority in point of numbers, education in this college must I fear have somewhat of a sectarian cast'. .
1 doc.
11 Mar 1846
73 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Mr and Mrs Forbes are to go on an excursion to Cumberland. JDF will search for traces of glaciers in the lake country, and compare his findings with those he made at Skye last year. His conclusions from the latter 'appear to have been adopted with more than common unanimity by geologists holding various opinions' ['Notes on the Topography and Geology of Cuchullin Hills in Skye and on the Traces of Ancient Glaciers which they Present', Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, 1846]. Although JDF has not read through Michael Faraday's 'big memoir...it seems to me that he has formed an undue estimate of the importance of his discoveries in this instance and has put them forth with a prominence which he used not to display'. Roderick Murchison's work on Russia is a fine piece but too 'exclusively technical' ['The Geology of Russia in Europe and the Ural Mountains', vol. 1, London, 1845]. Charles Lyell will not increase his reputation by publishing anymore 'American Notes' ['Travels in North America', 2 vols., London, 1845].
1 doc.
02 May 1846
74 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Mr and Mrs Forbes have just returned from an enjoyable visit to Cumberland and Westmoreland. At Ambleside they were 'kindly entertained by Mr and Mrs Wordsworth'. Also in the neighbourhood, amongst others, was Miss Martineau, and Archbishop Whately who was visiting the Arnolds [Matthew Arnold].
1 doc.
29 May 1846
75 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his new edition of the 'History of the Inductivce Sciences'. Mr and Mrs Forbes are to take a cottage in the Highlands for the sumer vacation. But intend to first take a short excursion - possibly as far as Paris - and would like to take Cambridge in on the way. However, if WW is not there he would hesitate in making the visit: 'Pray have the kindness to advise me'.
1 doc.
29 May 1847
76 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW and Cordelia Whewell for their hospitality in Cambridge. Thanks WW for his 'beautiful book of hexameters', although he has trouble appreciating that kind of verse. WW will be pleased to hear that Fischer [W.F.L. Fischer] has been elected to St. Andrews: 'I have little doubt that he was the best candidate, but his election was rather the result of circumstances than choice'.
1 doc.
16 Jun 1847
77 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF would like to see WW's correspondent's letter on the phenomena of moving mud at Malta. JDF has been reading the work of a French engineer called Collin: 'He has given geometrical sections of sliding banks of railway cuttings and the like, which have given way under quasi-hydrostatic pressure, which have the most perfect analogy with glacier-forms, and the mere inspection of which suffice to show that I had rightly seized at first the remarkable peculiarity of viscous motion which, so far as I know had not before been mentioned, namely, the upward thrust of the particles producing the swollen surface'. JDF gives a diagram of their paths. Due to the importance of viscous motion to engineers, JDF has undertaken to produce plastic models - 'making quantitative measures of the movements, lateral as well as forward, of certain points on the surface'. Louis Agassiz has published a large book 'with a beautiful map of his glacier'. On the whole JDF believes most people will find the text dry reading. Agassiz confirms in every particular, down to the minutest detail, JDF's theory without acknowledging him:'I am persuaded that no impartial person can regard it otherwise than as setting the seal to the adoption of my theory'.
1 doc.
16 Jul 1847
78 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF gives WW advice on the leading figures of French science based in Paris: 'The best physicist by far is Regnault [Henri Victor Regnault], and you will be pleased to see him in his laboratory at the College de France - but I shall be surprised to hear that he takes the trouble even to call upon you. He has published a very considerable work upon the numeical coefficient of phenomena connected with the steam engine' ['Cours Elementare de Chimie', 3 vols., 1847-1849]. JDF would like to use the description of mud flow in Malta given by one of WW's correspondents [see JDF to WW, 17 July 1847]: 'If he is still at Malta and the mud is not cleared away, he might determine the velocity of some of its parts if it is yet moving'. JDF enjoyed John Herschel's astronomical observations ['Results of Astronomical Observations made...at the Cape of Good Hope', 1847], and recently received a long letter from George Airy giving a description of the Pulkawa Observatory. .
1 doc.
08 Dec 1847
79 James David Forbes to William Whewell. [Possibly a P.S. to JDF's letter to WW dated 8 December 1847]. JDF knows of no one in Paris but Martius who takes an interest in glaciers. 'E. de Beaumont is geologically against them. In London I thought myself ill used a year ago on the subject of the Royal Medal to which I conceived my paper in the Phil. Trans....All the geologists except 2 (I believe) refused even to enetertain it'.
1 doc.
10 Dec 1847
80 James David Forbes to Edward Sabine. JDF was surprised when the BAAS Treasurer, Mr Taylor, told him that he had been instructed not to pay certain tradesmens bills for expenses connected with the Anemometer at Edinburgh, and had thus returned them to the original parties: 'I feel sure that common courtesy would have naturally dictated any enquiry preliminary to so strong a measure as returning bills for work done, to the parties'. JDF outlines the facts of the case as he understood it: 'I do not think that the idea of my being made personally liable for this expense ever occured to me'. The main cost came from the expense of the actual paper and printing of blank forms for more than three years: 'Are we to pay for the very materials which, after having been covered with valuable information by the labour of years, has long since passed from our hands, and was claimed by the Committee of the Association a year and a half, or more after the alleged recall of the instrment to Kew?'.
1 doc.
11 Jan 1848
81 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for the account of his Paris trip and gives his reactions to it. JDF has had a letter from a friend of his, Pentland, 'who knows Paris well saying that the communists will soon come to a struggle with the present rulers...It will be very sad if the continent is to be shut up for a series of years. It will be undoubtedly to their own loss'. JDF does not think WW should take any interest in the affairs of the Royal Society: 'I cannot but fear that it has got into the hands of a few persons who are too fond of trying experiments. I always thought the project of the reduction of admissions almost suicidal, and absurd besides. 15 admissions per annum will not make the R.S. like the Institute of France, a body of Elite; and it will cramp the funds grievously. In short it will be going contrary to the whole spirit and practice of the Institution from its commencement'.
1 doc.
16 Mar 1848
82 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF will be curious to see how the BAAS meeting passes off. He notes in the Athenaeum that Kew Observatory is to be stopped - something JDF 'strongly advocated at Cambridge'. He also notes that Philips has a proposal on reducing the expenses of the meetings. For JDF 'the grand economy to be made is in the Transactions which have become most ponderous and expensive publications'.
1 doc.
14 Aug 1848
83 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his 'frank and candid' comments on his essay ['The Danger of Superficial Knowledge; an Introductory Lecture to the Course of Natural Philosophy in the University of Education', delivered on November 1 and 2, 1848], but is dissapointed that WW 'should disuade me from expecting or attempting to influence a wider public than that to which my discourse maybe addressed, yet I am a little consoled by finding that you admit that Macaulay has set us a puzzle by a few sentences...which surely cannot be unworthy of a refutation, even if an indirect one' [Macaulay's thesis on the absurdity surrounding fears on the danger of superficial learning]. JDF recognises that WW may have reservations about coming into conflict with 'so expert a fencer as Macaulay. This would not in itself greatly influence me, had you been satisfied of my reply being based on right grounds, and stated in an effective manner'. JDF hopes WW will write something on 'this important subject...for it really does appear to me to be in some degree a new theme, particularly worthy of being attended to in universities' [WW, 'On Mr. Macaulay's Praise of Superficial Knowledge', Frazers Magazine, August 1849]. JDF gives his distinction between wisdom and knowledge: 'a wise man will make a little knowledge go further than another who posseses more knowledge'. .
1 doc.
19 Oct 1848
84 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his second round of comments on JDF's paper ['The Danger of Superficial Knowledge; an Introductory Lecture to the Course of Natural Philosophy in the University of Education', delivered on November 1 and 2, 1848: See JDF to WW, 19 Oct. 1848]. He is particularly gratefull for WW exposing the obscurity of some of his arguments. However, 'whilst you justly convict me in one instance of using Macaulay's terms of profundity and shallowness as applied to the attainments of great men in different ages, my thesis is exactly that which you so well state that 'the knowledge of later times is more advanced, more extended: but not more profound, necessarily, except in more profound minds'. You add that you doubt whether I shall easily allow this; but it indeed expresses my very meaning'. 'Lord Brougham is a perfect index to the grand distinction between knowledge and wisdom' and personifies 'the very beau-ideal of Macaulay's 19th Century man'.
1 doc.
29 Oct 1848
85 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his letter and essay [presumably a version of his 'On Mr. Macaulay's Praise of Superficial Knowledge', Frazers Magazine, August 1849]: 'it is not without satisfaction that I observe, how in the main, our arguments seem to fortify rather than oppose one another'. JDF has decided to 'claim your good offices with Mr. Parker and to publish my essay' ['The Danger of Superficial Knowledge; an Introductory Lecture to the Course of Natural Philosophy in the University of Education', delivered on November 1 and 2, 1848].
1 doc.
15 Nov 1848
86 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for the second part of his memoir on the Fundamental Antithesis ['Second Memoir on the Fundamental Antithesis of Philosophy', 1848]: 'I confess that I find metaphysics rather beyond me'. As WW predicted JDF's recent publication on superficial knowledge ['The Danger of Superficial Knowledge; an Introductory Lecture to the Course of Natural Philosophy in the University of Education', delivered on November 1 and 2, 1848] 'has scarcely returned a single echo'. .
1 doc.
21 Feb 1849
87 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is about to visit London to re-new 'acquaintances, associations and interests'. If WW is in town let him know where he will be. Has WW heard the 'sundry bickerings' in London about whether the BAAS is to meet in Edinburgh or Ipswich in 1851: 'If they prefer Ipswich it would be bad manners in us to criticise their taste. But Sabine [Edward Sabine] has not behaved well and there has been a split in the council'.
1 doc.
13 May 1849
88 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has 'undertaken with Mr Airy's active assistance and liberal contribution of facts, to draw up what is intended to be a popular account of the Economy of an observatory; a subject certainly very interesting to amateurs and but little understood by them. It is intended for the Edinburgh Review'. His review of John Herschel's 'Results of Astronomical Observations made at the Cape of Good Hope', 1842, is to apear in the next Quarterly Review.
1 doc.
21 Jun 1849
89 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his long letter: 'How pleasant it is to have a good old fashioned guard epistle!' JDF is especially grateful for the attention WW gave his remarks on colours and the reference to Merimee, but thinks the diagram WW refers to has some defects. JDF prefers the triangular arrangement of Mayers to the concentric circles of Merimee [he gives the diagrams], since 'the true relations of the colours to one another and to grey are preserved'. He has received some correspondence generated by his recent paper on the application of probabilities to doublestars ['On the Alleged Evidence for a Physical Connexion between Stars forming Binary or Multiple Groups, arising from their Proximity Alone', London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, August 1849]: 'not one of whom seems to entertain any doubt that Mitchell and all his followers were labouring under a complete deception, when they considered the calculus of probabailities applicable to such a question'. JDF went to the BAAS meeting in Birmingham: 'the most prosaic that I have been at ; no marked failure, no enthusiasm or great success...The depreciated value of our Transactions strikes everyone, even the 'Athenaeum'!' JDF can give no infomation on the subject of the life and letters of Newton, but has heard that David Brewster wants a copyright which nobody will give. He is pleased the Trinity College MSS are to be printed. JDF has been to the Orkney and Shetland Islands with Mr and Mrs Airy. .
1 doc.
20 Oct 1849
90 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Their duty regarding the BAAS is much simpler than WW supposes. There is a thick pamphlet which was circulated at the meeting in Birmingham containing all the recommendations the BAAS have made since the first ever meeting at York, of which, they have to revise all those made concerning the Mathematics and Physics section. 'The Royal Society of Edinburgh has had an official communication from Dr Robinson desiring them to write with other bodies in applying to government (1) to send a Reflector on Irish principles, and an observer (Irish no doubt) to the Cape:-and (2) to publish the British one of the meridian. The first, as was sufficiently plain from Robinsons whole tone at Birmingham, was to put an extinguisher on Herschel's labours at the Cape. I thought it right to consult Sir John - and found him, as I expected, averse to it, and he refused to act in the matter on a committee to apply to govt. So I am glad to say that we have kept clear of this business'. JDF wants to know what 'people say in the South, of Prince Albert's exhibition? I cannot but fancy that Scot Russell has more to do with it than his Royal highness'.
1 doc.
12 Dec 1849
91 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his work on induction in answer to John S. Mill ['Of Induction, with Especial Reference to Mr. J. Stuart Mill's System of Logic', 1850]. Further to their work on revising the recommendations of the Mathematics and Physics section of the BAAS [see JDF to WW,12 Dec. 1849], JDF thinks it important that new experiments in the area of heat should be devised - as suggested by Philip Kelland's report 'On the Theory of Heat' (1841). JDF is undecided whether he will remain this year for the BAAS meeting, since he is very keen to embark on a continental trip. Murchison [Roderick Murchison] has written to him with suggestions on how best to spend the recent �1000 left to the Royal Society. .
1 doc.
17 Feb 1850
92 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Mr and Mrs Forbes are hoping to go to Germany in a fortnight for two months. They will return sometime prior to the BAAS meeting in Edinburgh. They 'are very anxious' that WW and Mrs Whewell will 'favour us with your company at that time' (31 July to 7 August). JDF read WW last 'little book you sent me ['Of a Liberal Education in General...2. Discussions and Changes 1840-1850', 1850]: and I can well believe that your judicious desire for a pause, in order to let your arrangements work themselves out - will not be particularly gratified by Lord John's [John Russell] most unexpected announcement of his Royal Commission [of inquiry into University reform]: but this ministry is not famous for carrying out its propsals'.
1 doc.
27 Apr 1850
93 James David Forbes to William Whewell. One of JDF's children is ill and consequently 'Mrs Forbes has forgave the pleasure of accompanying me and my sister abroad, as the child is not yet able to travel'. JDF looks forward to hearing WW's travel plans - perhaps they can meet in Hamburg.
1 doc.
30 May 1850
94 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF received WW's letter forwarded from Frankfurt, and is sorry that it now looks as if they will not meet on the continent. JDF's old physician friend in Bonn has sent him to this 'rather out of the way place...I ought gratefully to add that I have profited much by drinking the water and bathing. It posseses a union of the saline and chalybite qualities, and has certainly a most admirable effect on the system'. He is disapointed WW will not be attending the BAAS meeting in Edinburgh.
1 doc.
19 Jun 1850
95 James David Forbes to William Whewell. After he left Kissingen [see JDF to WW, 19 June 1850] he went to Switzerland. He saw Studer, von Buck and Charpentier, and had two 'capital days' of glacier walking.On his return to Edinburgh he was seized 'with a painful sort of belious attack, which confined me to bed for 2 days'. The BAAS meeting was thus an uphill struggle although he manged to enjoy the last few days: 'on the whole I observed a good deal of surrender of personal feeling to the general cause of harmony on the occasion'. JDF gave another version of his paper on the application of probabilities to doublestars ['On the Alleged Evidence for a Physical Connexion between Stars forming Binary or Multiple Groups, arising from their Proximity Alone', London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, August 1849]: 'Mature consideration and conversation with others has satisfied me completely, that Mitchell's famous reasoning about double stars, the Pleiades etc - so far as founded on the calculation of probabailities is utterly baseless. Herschel has written a review in the Edinburgh (last no.) in which at page 34 (I think) he tries to answer my objections, but in fact gives the real question at issue the go by altogether'. [see JDF to WW, 20 Oct. 1849].
1 doc.
30 Aug 1850
96 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Since WW has 'been looking into our Transactions I may mention that the author of not the most inconsiderable or least original paper in the collection Mr James Clerk Maxwell (the paper is on the Mathematical Theory of Elastic Solids) is about to enter himself as a freshman at St Peters. He is about 18, is a nephew of Sir George Clerk, not a little uncouth in manners, but...one of the most original young men I ever met with, and with an extraordinary aptitude for physical enquiries'.
1 doc.
30 Sep 1850
97 James David Forbes to William Whewell. A letter of introduction for James Clerk Maxwell who is about to migrate from Peterhouse to Trinity College [see JDF to WW, 30 Sept. 1850].
1 doc.
23 Jan 1851
98 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Advising WW to look at a speech made by the Duke of Argyll made to a Glasgow popular literary association, 'which revives the question of 'superficial knowledge' and which I think well done' [see the letters from JDF to WW starting 19 Oct. 1848]. .
1 doc.
08 Feb 1851
99 James David Forbes to William Whewell. The artic midnight exceeded JDF's expectations and the 'whole scenery along the coast is wonderfully interesting'. JDF gives further details of his artic trip.
1 doc.
20 Jul 1851
100 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Could WW send Professor Jameson 'a complete and authentic copy of the lecture delivered by you at the Society of Arts for publication in his journal now in the press' ['The General Bearing of the Great Exhibition of the Progress of Art and Science', 1850]. JDF took a second trip to London 'to make a more careful study of parts of the exhibition and to endeavour to procure some modest instruments for my collection in connection with my lectures'. This proved very difficult as 'the better class of exhibitors' did not want to part with them. However, Mr Biddell (a cousin of Mr Airy's), was in charge of the machinery department and in the end he was able to procure 'more than I could have hoped for the college nearly �200 worth of apparatus, chiefly models of machinery and engineering matter'. The Norwegian glaciers are very similar to the ones in Switzerland. 'We have got a favourable part of a committtee of the H. of Commons on the urgency of the trigonometrical survey of Scotland. we are now opening a battery to press for the geological survey'.
1 doc.
28 Nov 1851
101 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF gives an account of his ill health: 'I believe that there is no reason to conclude as yet that tubercles have been formed'. He is reading WW's pamphlet ['Of a Liberal Education in general...3. The Revised Statutes 1851-1852', 1851]. He has been asked to continue Playfairs and Leslie's dissertations on the progress of science to the present time - 'an arduous task - which I am hesitating whether to engage in or not'. JDF is pleased Gutherie Tait was senior wrangler - 'He is a pupil of mine and a hard headed fellow of whom I always thought well. Does Clerk Maxwell attach himself to the studies of the place?'.
1 doc.
06 Mar 1852
102 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF had intended to pay his respects to Cordelia Whewell 'but I found myself a little fatigued after my ride'. He hopes WW goes to Chepstow tomorrow and brings them a full report.
1 doc.
05 Apr 1852
103 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is disapointed that he developed such a bad cold at the time WW was in Clifton: 'It is one of the trials incident to the invalid state that I could profit so little by your stay at Clifton'. He went to Torquay for three days for a change of air, but really wants to try 'the bracing air of the higher Alps'. He was glad to read in the newspapers and hear from WW, that Clerk Maxwell gained his scholarship: 'Pray do not suppose, though I take an interest in him, that I am not aware of his exceeding uncouthness, as well mathematical as in other respects; indeed, as he has passed through my examinations, I have been a sufferer from it, and cannot flatter myself that I exerted almost any possible influence on him. I thought the Society and Drill of Cambridge the only chance of taming him, and much advised his going; but I have no idea that he will be senior wrangler. But he is most tenacious of physical reasonings of a mathematical class, and perceives them far more clearly than he can express'. JDF has been re-reading WW's History and Philsophy: 'The metaphysics of the latter I must leave quite on one side as too hard for me at present, or perhaps at any time'.
1 doc.
02 May 1852
104 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Mrs Forbes has given birth to a little girl. They have been to Malvern 'in search of hill air', and are now in Grasmere: 'I have unquestionably benefitted in my general health by coming here'. JDF's preperations for his proposed dissertation 'make very slow and desultory progress' [JDF has been asked to continue Playfairs and Leslie's dissertations on the progress of science to the present time: See JDF to WW, 6 March 1852]. He fears that the vastness of 'the work will break down under its own magnitude'. If WW is going to the Belfast BAAS meeting, JDF hopes he 'will return this way'.
1 doc.
16 Aug 1852
105 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is disappointed that 'on the very eve of quitting the north [to avoid the weather] I learned by your kind note that we might have hoped to see you today'. Mr and Mrs Airy have been to stay for a couple of days. Since he has been ill, JDF has been struck by the sympathy he has received from his Cambridge friends. .
1 doc.
23 Sep 1852
106 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW and Cordelia Whewell for the offer of their house at Lowestoft. They have left Clifton for a change of air: 'there is a doubt whether sea air will agree with me' - at least along the south coasts, JDF thinks it might be different on the East. They had originally thought Lowestoft too distant before ther received their letter, and had determined on Tunbridge Wells and a trial of the air at Folkstone: 'perhaps a few hours will decide the effect which sea air is likely to have upon me'. They will then send a letter to Cordelia Whewell's agent as to whether they want to stay at Lowestoft.
1 doc.
27 Jun 1853
107 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Mr and Mrs Forbes now intend going to France [see JDF to WW, 27 June 1853].
1 doc.
17 Jul 1853
108 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Mr and Mrs Forbes were very concerned over the health of Cordelia Whewell, although now feel more assured after receiving a favourable report from Lady Monteagle. Could WW send him Arago's essay on Young [Thomas Young]. .
1 doc.
02 Nov 1853
109 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is interested in WW's 'anti-Chalmerian [Thomas Chalmers?] speculation. I can well believe that your logic will tear down rather rudely his elaborate oratory. I mean that the arguments he uses are not of a nature to bear exact scrutiny'. WW asked JDF some time ago about the densities of the planets: In 'Grant's excellent history of astronomy are many of the determinations of the masses'. JDF's book on Norway is about to be published ['Norway and its Glaciers visited in 1851: Followed by Journals of Excursions in the High Alps of Dauphine, Berne and Savoy', 1853].
1 doc.
07 Nov 1853
110 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his 'elegant and interesting Christmas gift...I have read five chapters with great and increasing interest' [WW, 'Of the Plurality of Worlds: An Essay', 1853]: 'It would not be easy to conceal the authorship - but I find that it is already perfectly understood here so that I presume you have been at no pains to conceal it'.
1 doc.
26 Dec 1853
111 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has been unwell and gives a long description of his illness. Consequently his studies have been interrupted for some two to three months. JDF is pleased in the recent appointment of his namesake , Edward Forbes, to Edinburgh University. He is sorry that Lord Rosse has resigned from the Royal Society: 'Lord Wrottesley though a very worthy man seems hardly suited for so public a post, so far as I know of him. I think on the whole Murchisson [Roderick Murchisson] would have done it well. I do not think the Royal Society seems flourishing. The council is not strong and the new elections below criticism'.
1 doc.
19 Jul 1854
112 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has not passed an autumn without illness since 1851, and gives WW a long description of how his good health has been achieved. The sudden death of Edward Forbes 'has produced a profound sensation'. Only a few days ago JDF hsd attended one of his lectures. JDF would have put aside his dispute with Louis Agassiz, and should have been glad to see him if he could be persuaded to come over: 'but unfavourable reports of his views of geology connected with scripture, the unity of the human races etc are here in circulation, of the truth of which I know nothing'. Clerk Maxwell is currently with JDF - he is much improved by his stay at Cambridge, and 'spoke to me in a very manly way about his disapointment of a fellowship'. Maxwell has made some 'ingenious experiments and deductions about combinations of colours..and also about Daltonians or Idiopts'. How does WW feel about the government drawing away Stokes and Willis to become lecturers in London 'to (at best) a very limited class of students, thus peculiarly favoured'. JDF is sorry to hear of the 'serious difference' between Challis and Adams.
1 doc.
29 Dec 1854
113 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has now finished his 'Dissertation' on the history of science to the present day ['A Review of the Progress of Mathematical and Physical Science in more Recent Times and Particularly Between the Years 1775 and 1850', Encyclopedia Britannica, 1853 and seperately 1858]: 'A vast number of persons whose names are entitled to appear in a History of science are wholly omitted. My selection will be criticised as a matter of course'. He has often looked at WW's 'History' and 'Philosophy' ['The History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Prsent Time', 3 vols., 1837 and 'The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Founded upon their History', 2 vols., 1840]: 'but you well know that if one really tries to make a subject their own, one must not depend upon such helps however valuable'. JDF is sorry that George Airy has got such a high value for the Earth's density and thus throw doubt on the previous determinations: 'I am in hopes that an examination of the strata may yet diminish it'.
1 doc.
08 Mar 1855
114 James David Forbes to William Whewell. On the limitations of his recent historical work ['A Review of the Progress of Mathematical and Physical Science in more Recent Times and Particularly Between the Years 1775 and 1850', Encyclopedia Britannica, 1853 and seperately 1858]. JDF gives WW the various densities of the planets.
1 doc.
7 October 1855
115 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF feels a great regret that he will be unable to invite WW to stay in Edinburgh at the time he is expected at Glasgow. JDF is sorry and astonished by the 'species of persecution to which you had been subjected by Sir D. Brewster, and I heard privately that your forbearance on the occasion had been remarked with admiration'. JDF has an incomplete series of WW's tidal researches and wants him to supply him with the missing ones. .
1 doc.
25 Oct 1856
116 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for the tidal papers. JDF thinks of the mechanical theory of heat 'pretty much as you do. I intended to speak of it with great caution, and it seems to me that I have done so. I believe that there is a basis of fact for it or for part of it' [probably JDF's 'A Review of the Progress of Mathematical and Physical Science in more Recent Times and Particularly Between the Years 1775 and 1850', Encyclopedia Britannica, 1853 and seperately 1858]. JDF expects that 'Thomson [William Thomson] and his friends' will be annoyed that he did not give Joule [James Prescott Joule] a section to himself: 'Thomson (admirer as he is of Faraday) would certainly not allow to see [Faraday] superior to Joule, about whom he is, to my conception, scarcely rational'. Has WW sent his suggestions to the Parliamentary Committee of the BAAS about promotion of science by the state?: 'I have recommended (selfishly no doubt) the endowing of existing professorships of science; but (not selfishly) that they should begin with those of Cambridge and Oxford'.
1 doc.
02 Nov 1856
117 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Is it true that Robert L. Ellis has died? Ever since JDF first met him some twenty years ago in Bath, 'I have felt a lively interest, amounting to a kind of fascination' in him. If he is dead 'I hope that some one who could do him justice will write a short memorial of him'. Has WW heard anything of a 'supposed discovery by Dr Tyndall [John Tyndall] in the theory of glaciers?' From what JDF has heard, it 'consists in showing the brittleness of ice and the facility of its redintegration. Now this I thought had been proved by me to be the cause of the 'veined structure' as resulting from the partial sliding of a infinity of bruised surfaces into which the ice is split when ever the differential velocity of the glacier is considerable'. .
1 doc.
22 Jan 1857
118 James David Forbes to William Whewell. References to Henri Victor Regnault's researches on steam and his formula are given in the Memoires de l'Academie des Sciences and occupy a whole volume printed in 1847 ['Memoires de l'Academie des Sciences', 21, 1847]. HVR's Hygrometer [an instrument which measures the humidity of the air or other gases] is superior to Daniell's [John F. Daniell]: 'It acts by drawing air by aspiration through ether in a tube, whose exterior is silvered and receives the dew'. JDF has difficulty answering WW's question about the Polarity of Bismuth: 'My impression on reading Tyndall's paper was in his favour, but not quite confidently [John Tyndall. 'On the Existence of a Magnetic Medium in Space', 1855]. On the other hand I do not know what opinion Faraday has of late maintained. I confess that his language and that of Thomson (who is understood to agree with him) is almost metaphysically obscure and that Thomson in his later published correspondence with Tyndall seemed to me almost to admit the fact except in words'.
1 doc.
1 Feb 1857
119 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF encloses a letter he received from William Thomson, in which he answers a question JDF put to him regarding 'Faraday's and Tyndall's views of the polarity of Bismuth. For myself I can attach no meaning to the magnetic of space per se' [John Tyndall. 'On the Existence of a Magnetic Medium in Space', 1855].
1 doc.
19 Mar 1857
120 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Further to an enquiry WW made relative to the origin of the oblique arch, JDF has seen a reference to its origins in the 'Civil Engineer' journal for 1842, vol.v, p. 39: 'it is ascribed to Chapman in 1787; who it is stated claims it for himself in the article oblique arch in Rees Cyclopaedia'.
1 doc.
23 Mar 1857
121 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF saw WW's name on the lists at the BAAS meeting at Dublin: 'I am pleased to find that you still attend occasionally'. JDF's health is not up to the 'hurry, heat, and bustle' of such meetings. He notes from Dr. Lloyd's [Humphrey Lloyd] 'most excellent address', that 'it would appear that the 'Dynamical Theory of Heat' finds much favour at Dublin. Indeed I was surprised at the approbation with which Rankine's theory of 'Molecular Vortices' [W.J.M. Rankine, 'On the Mechanical action of Heat, especially in Gases and Vapours', Trans. of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 20, 1852] was mentioned by Dr Lloyd: 'I cannot say that I ever understood it. But it appeared to me repulsive from its gratuitous assumption and interminable mathematics. I observed also that it was spoken of as an established discovery in the article on De la Rue in the Edinburgh Review'. Is JDF right that WW has unpublished 'schedules of the process of induction for other sciences than astronomy and optics which are published in your philosophy', if so can he at some stage see them.
1 doc.
09 Sep 1857
122 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF hopes WW will travel another half a day and stay with him. He is currently lecturing three days a week. JDF is 'not at all indisposed to several of the proposed improvements' to Edinburgh University: 'But of course I am annoyed by the absurdities and misrepresentations of our eccentric (though not unamiable) professor of Greek. With Sir John McNeil's pamphlet I thoroughly agree. And not least in his denunciation of the competitive examination system for the civil service'. .
1 doc.
10 Jan 1858
123 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is interested in what WW has to say regarding Barrow ['Barrow and his Academical Times', 1859]. He is sorry to hear of Robert L. Ellis's very ill state. Is it true that Adams [Couch Adams] has accepted the mathematical chair at St. Andrews? There is endless talk on the improvement of the British universities and JDF thinks they 'may be materially improved; but the misfortune is that those who combine to make a clamour have few ideas in the least in common...I do not think however that the worst of us would do anything more ridiculous than Oxford has done with her associates'. Can WW advise him what to do regarding John Tyndall's 'papers which profess to rectify my theories about glaciers. I am not disposed now-a-days to enter into controversy if I can help it...and there is an especial difficulty in this case that Tyndall has gradually paved away so much of what was definitely controvertible in his earlier papers that one does not know where to hold him, the differences become so fine'. JDF would not therefore worry, but 'On the other hand I have been informed that he makes a considerable impression in London and that his repeated returns to the subject, and my silence, create an impression that he has obtained a victory'. Could WW find out what the prevelent opinion is?. .
1 doc.
1 Apr 1858
124 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF congratulates WW on his marriage to Lady Everina E. Affleck. 'Our university Bill lodges enormous powers in the hands of certain commissioners and courts. Thus far we think it a matter of some anxiety. But in Edinburgh the evil of town council domination and the absence of endownments have been so keenly felt, that we are nearly unanimous in favour of a change even although we cannot tell precisely how it is to work. We have much to gain and little to lose'. JDF agrees with WW's advice 'not to meddle with Dr Tyndall' [see JDF to WW, 1 April 1858]. In a recent lecture given by Tyndall at the Royal Institution, he 'has admitted the slender difference between his opinion and mine and on the whole has shown the wish to render me full justice'. .
1 doc.
15 Jun 1858
125 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is pleased that WW and Lady Affleck are thinking of coming to Scotland: 'We have a convenient English church here recently erected'. They have no room for them in their cottage and think it best to secure them accomodation in the local hotel - 'you will spend all day with us. The hotel is a good one, barely a quarter of a mile distant'.
1 doc.
04 Sep 1858
126 James David Forbes to William Whewell. The Forbes family have pleasant memories of WW and Lady Affleck's recent visit - 'which I sincerely hope maybe repeated'.JDF has read WW's 'Review of Bacon with interest since you told me where to find it. Mr Spedding's publication now assumes a formidable magnitude' ['Review of Spedding and Ellis's edition of Francis Bacon', 1857]. JDF has just had a letter from William Thomson 'asking me to be present at a public dinner to be given to him in Glasgow in connection with the Atlantic Telegraph. That, as you know is not in my line. And while cordially rejoicing in our excellent friends distinction, I cannot help severely regretting that he has mixed himself up so much with the commercial branch of the affair - which besides is far from prosperous. He is not only a Director but a Patentee in connection with it'.
1 doc.
09 Jan 1859
127 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF thanks WW for sending the minutes of the Council of the Royal Society: 'I am deeply gratified by your kind exertions to obtain for me a recognition of my labours which I had long ceased to expect'. Lady Affleck must not think JDF has 'forgotten my promise about her brother' [JDF wrote an obituary of Robert L. Ellis: 'William Thomson has given me a few notes on his mathematical qualities of mind, which is the only other assistance I have sought'. JDF returns the printed minutes of the council, and 'was exceedingly gratified that Prof. Miller seconded my nomination. It was the more flattering because his friend Weber was in the field'. He is pleased that Clek Maxwell is proposed for a Royal Medal for his 'masterly paper on colour'.
1 doc.
16 Jul 1859
128 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has decided to become a candiadate for the Principalship of the United Colleges of St. Andrews , to be vacated by Sir David Brewster (who is to become the new Principal of Edinburgh): 'May I ask you to use any influence you may have with Sir George Lewis (or Lady Theresa Lewis) or with any other member of the government. But it is stated to be directly in the gift of the Home Secretary'. The next most influential figure is Lord Brougham, who 'was yesterday elected chancellor of this university by a large majority'.
1 doc.
29 Oct 1859
129 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF thanks WW for all his support on the Council of the Royal Society, especially since it 'placed you in the always disagreable position of being in a minority' [WW's attempts to obtain for JDF recognition of his scientific labours. See JDF to WW, 16 July 1859]. With regard to his dispute with Louis Agassiz - 'that would have been easily disposed of': LA's experiments 'were instigated in consequence of a suggestion made by me during our joint residence on the glacier in 1841, when I not only counselled him to make these observations but instructed him how to do so'. JDF thanks WW for writing to Sir George Lewis in support of his application to become the Principal of the United Colleges of St. Andrews [see JDF to WW, 29 October 1859].
1 doc.
07 Nov 1859
130 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has received notice from the Home Office that he has been appointed Principal at St. Andrews. He has heard that William Hopkins has had had a lecture printed on glaciers 'which seems to have been industriously circulated in London. Can you tell me anything of it?'.
1 doc.
08 Nov 1859
131 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF thanks Lady Affleck for sending him a report of WW's sermon given at St. Paul's cathedral: 'I notice the strong hint you give about the regime of Public Schools. But can we find better education? Even if not, that does not hinder us from improving the best we have got. As one's sons grow up, the thought of educating them well becomes a very anxious one. Training has no doubt great weight. Example even more. But the result of my observation leads me to attribute more to physical constitution than I used to do, and this of course applies to races'. The new Scottish Universities Act gives certain important powers to the Senior Principal of the University, under St. Andrew's reugulations he is the junior. Does WW think George Stokes would apply for his professorship at Edinburgh when he vacates it - 'the commisioners will make it worth about �600'.
1 doc.
05 Feb 1860
132 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for his volume on the Philosophy of Discovery ['On the Philosophy of Discovery', 1860]: 'I have looked (though imperfectly) into the theological part of your volume; and am pleased to see, as usual, the manly expression of Religious Thought, which so many so-called strong minded men seem to regard as an expression of weakness'. JDF is glad that WW referred him for the interpretation of WW's remarks on Public Schools to 'Tom Brown' and 'Eric' [see JDF to WW, 5 February 1860]: 'My own judgment of Tom Brown as a book to be put into the hands of young people was no favourable, but I found I could not well keep it out of the hands of my boys. But when Eric was given to them in a present by an intimate friend, I fairly rebelled and locked it up. You, of course object still more to the thing, than to the telling of it. Yet I cannot conceive that a premature aquaintance with the ways of vice can be a safeguard to its attractions. I consider Eric to be an indefensible book'. They have had to appoint a new President to the Edinburgh Royal Society due to the death of Thomas Brisbane. JDF would have easily been elected but decided not to stand. Consequently it has gone to the Duke of Argyll - who 'was elected as a Scottish nobleman fond of science'.
1 doc.
04 Mar 1860
133 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF 'heard that Huxley's [Thomas Huxley] attack on the Bp of Oxford in re Darwin [Charles Darwin]', at the BAAS metting in Oxford, 'was most indecent'. What is JDF to do regarding John Tyndall's recently published book on glaciers? JT has implied that JDF suppressed Rendu's glacier theory in a way which 'is so cunningly constructed to mislead that I fear it will be inevitable for me to notice it'. .
1 doc.
14 Jul 1860
134 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF thanks WW for the account of the eclipse he witnessed from Bayonne in Spain - 'certainly the most wonderful spectacle in nature'. He is 'greatly indebted' to WW for the advise he gave regarding John Tyndall and will act upon it [see JDF to WW, 14 July 1860]. He was going to write a reply in the Athenaeum - 'but I am now satisfied that this would provoke needless controversy the London Weekly Periodical critics are too many for me'. He will therefore write a pamphlet in the tone WW suggests - ''rather for the information of others than to justify myself'' ['Reply to Professor Tyndall's Remarks in his Work 'On the Glaciers of the Alps' re. Rendu's 'Theorie des Glaciers'', 1860]. He has had correspondence in support from Lyon Playfair even though he is 'a warm admirer of Tyndall', and M. De La Rene - 'an old aquaintance and correspondent of Rendu'. Will WW consider writing an article on the subject in the Quarterly Review 'which is not yet committed'.
1 doc.
31 Jul 1860
135 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF will shortly submit to WW his reply to John Tyndall ['Reply to Professor Tyndall's Remarks in his Work 'On the Glaciers of the Alps' re. Rendu's 'Theorie des Glaciers'', 1860]: 'If you find anything redundant, or unsatisfactory or out of temper, you will do me a favour by marking freely'. Did WW receive his letter in Paris, in which 'I ventured to suggest your writing an article on the glacier theory in the Quarterly, where the question is still open' [see JDF to WW, 31 July 1860]. He has received surprise support from John Moore Heath, 'with whom a year ago I had a rather unsatisfactory correspondence on the subject. He was then apparently on Tyndall's side. He now writes that Tyndall's own Book has fully convinced him that I am entirely in the right and he gives in his letter a masterly refutation of some of his alleged demonstrations against viscosity'.
1 doc.
19 Aug 1860
136 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF understands WW's objections to reviewing [JDF asked him to review John Tyndall's book on glaciers. See JDF to WW, 19 August 1860]: 'It was a mere suggestion on my part'. He will be sending WW his reply to Tyndall in two days time ['Reply to Professor Tyndall's Remarks in his Work 'On the Glaciers of the Alps' re. Rendu's 'Theorie des Glaciers'', 1860]. JDF thinks it curious that the Athenaeum has not yet taken any notice of Tyndall's book. WW is to give any positive or negative comments he has on its content, style and length, and his view on the form in which it should be published.
1 doc.
24 Aug 1860
137 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is seeking more advice from WW regarding his reply to John Tyndall ['Reply to Professor Tyndall's Remarks in his Work 'On the Glaciers of the Alps' re. Rendu's 'Theorie des Glaciers'', 1860. See JDF to WW, 24 August 1860]. Should he notice the parts in Tyndall's text in which he attributes an equal share of JDF's glacier theory to Louis Agassiz.
1 doc.
27 Aug 1860
138 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for all his corrections regarding his reply to John Tyndall ['Reply to Professor Tyndall's Remarks in his Work 'On the Glaciers of the Alps' re. Rendu's 'Theorie des Glaciers'', 1860. See JDF to WW, 24 August 1860]: 'I have availed myself of nearly all your suggestions and the pamphlet will be published without delay'. JDF has noticed 'a striking change in the tone of the Athenaeum towards Tyndall' which he cannot explain.
1 doc.
06 Sep 1860
139 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has just returned from a tour of the south and west of England. Has WW heard of Mr Graham's 'new observations on the condition of ice when nearly melting? Lyon Playfair sent him details in which Graham describes it as a 'gelatinous like glue, and like that body will stick and cement together. This gelatinous condition however he does not think is 'viscous' - on the contrary he believes it to have elasticity and that it is compatible until its rupturing or crevassing point...Graham has just communicated to the Royal Society a paper on the 'Colloid condition of Bodies'. It does strike one as somewhat singular that the 'glue like' state of bodies may not be described as 'viscous'. It is clear that the English language requires to be 'Tyndallized''. They are attempting to restore the main features of an English College hall at St. Andrew's - any advice WW has would be appreciated. JDF is trying to learn about the altered state of the English Universities under the new Acts, 'with reference to examinations and education generally'.
1 doc.
15 Jun 1861
140 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is enjoying he new position and life at St. Andrew's: 'Altogether I feel that God has been very good to me'. He is grateful that WW still maintains an interest in the glacier question, and gives his views on two recent articles. JDF believes that his reply to John Tyndall 'has opened the eyes of some' ['Reply to Professor Tyndall's Remarks in his Work 'On the Glaciers of the Alps' re. Rendu's 'Theorie des Glaciers'', 1860. See JDF to WW, 24 August 1860].
1 doc.
03 Feb 1861
141 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF forgot to give his symapthy in his last letter 'to the loss which your friend and connection Mr Marshall sustained by the death of his wife'. He also omitted to recommend the Royal Society of Edinburgh and St. Andrew's University as the best Scottish destinations for WW to send his book on Barrow ['Barrow and his Academical Times', 1859].
1 doc.
05 Feb 1861
142 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF has 'frittered away' the summer and has now returned to St. Andrew's for the winter. He read 'Arago's posthumous writings on Photometry and I do not think highly of them'. His chief reason for writing 'is to ask whether I can find anywhere in print the formalities used in your University' ceremonies. He was not at the BAAS meeting at Manchester: 'It seems to have been organized on too gigantic a scale'. George Airy's lecture on the Ecliptic was presumably the 'chief novelty: but so far as one can judge from abstracts the results are just what we already knew'. William Hopkins '(who is now to be general secretary) could not let glacier theories alone; but has carefully abstained from printing forth any abstract'. JDF 'visited William Thomson at his place in Arran. He is still fearfullly lame'.
1 doc.
15 Oct 1861
143 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Thanks WW for a copy of the 'Ceremonies' used at Cambridge [see JDF to WW, 15 October 1861]. From what he has seen it does not appear that Cambridge assemblies, except at church, are opened by prayer. JDF is called upon 'not unfrequently to use Latin prayers in public. I have naturally looked about for some fitting models and not altogether sucessfuly. Might I ask whether any such occur to you and where they may be found in print? Is it the case that at your formal meetings such are not employed'.
1 doc.
19 Oct 1861
144 James David Forbes to William Whewell. A railway is currently being built 'proceeding direct from Perth to Inverness. It is strange how one becomes accustomed to anything, and we all find an interest in seeing engineering difficulties overcome, and in studying a little the not unamiable character of the multitude of working men thrown amongst us'. JDF finds plenty of work to do at St. Andrew's - 'I have not found time heavy'. Has WW seen John Tyndall's recent publication, 'Mountaineering in 1857'?: 'I felt my blood rise some what at the audacity of the attempt to give Mr Hopkins the credit of discovering the mechanical action of glaciers on their rocky beds; a matter in which neither Mr Hopkins nor I have the smallest part, belonging as it does in its entirety to the Swiss school, and Dr Charpentier in particular. With a duplicity peculiar by his own Tyndall names De Charpentier, Agassiz etc in second rank to Hopkins, as if they had been his followers in this matter!!' JDF has written a reply to the book intended for the Atheanaeum, but has decided against sending it.
1 doc.
29 Jun 1862
145 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF declines WW's invitation to the BAAS meeting at Cambridge: 'In addition to the fatigue of the journey and the bustle of the occasion I should have to meet in te section with persons who look at me with unfriendly eyes, and with whom I have not now nerve personally to contend...I have withdrawn from the struggle, though I can defend by the pen what I believe to be true. At the Association, General Sabine, Mr Hopkins and Dr Tyndall will be in the ascendant, and I should feel uncomfortable; - possibly they might also'. JDF sends the letter [still attached] he had intended to send to the Athanaeum as a reply to Tyndall's recent book [see JDF to WW, 29 June 1862]. .
1 doc.
16 Aug 1862
146 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF gives his answers to WW's questions. Firstly, 'crevasses' - 'it is now generally allowed...to have a very secondary importance in the theory of glacier motion'. The 'zig zag form of the glacier complicates matters very much by superimposing different systems'. JDF has always maintained that the direction of crevasses is perpendicular to the veined structure, which is often almost the same as perpendicular to the curves of motion. JDF gives an historical overview of the views of the principal scholars involved in glacier theory, and their views on glacier motion. Secondly, 'veined structure' - 'From the very first I affirmed that the veined structure 'appears' to be perpendicular to the lines of greatest pressure'. John Tyndall and William Hopkins simply reiterate this. 'Nor can I for the life of me make out that Tyndall has found or stated any physical reason why pressure produces the effect, beyond William Thomson's explanation of the fact, which I fear is too subtle to be true'. JDF has 'never pretended to be able to define with precision forms which on my theory of differential motion of a semifluid or plastic mass, the vents, producing by reattachment the veined structure, would assume'. He does not think anybody in this country - except perhaps William Thomson, George Stokes and maybe George Airy - 'could grapple with the problem. The quasi fluid pressure of a plastic mass and its comparatively small tangential resistance, cannot be left out of account'. JDF's mechanical principles are generally adequate to the explanation. Above all he relies on 'Plastic models, to the results of which (on this subject) my adversaries have never dared to allude'. The models show the forms of fluid motion and were reproduced by Tyndall in the Philosophical Transactions 'with an almost illusory acknowledgement to me'. However, his most impressive model in which powdered surfaces are 'broken up by tangential motion' and realigned into 'thread like bands' corresponding to those on glaciers, as well as posessing partial crevasses exactly perpendicular to them, 'have been kept studiously out of sight'. Tyndall and Hopkins no longer send him 'copies of papers or books in which I am most deeply interested, and in which my name is most freely used'. .
1 doc.
12 Sep 1862
147 James David Forbes to William Whewell. Has WW seen in the Philosophical Magazine for July, August and September a controversy involving John Tyndall and James Joule over 'a question of priority, much resembling Tyndall's advocacy of Rendu at my expense?' The dispute centres on the ''Dynamical theory of heat' or the 'convertibility of force' and the meteonic theory of the sun's heat'. Tyndal gives the credit of these theories to 'an unknown German physician named Mayer'. William Thomson and Joule 'are treated a good deal in the way I was'. Both have written replies, Joule in the Philosophical Magazine and Thomson in the Glasgow periodical called 'Good Words'. JDF gives a long quote from Thomson's piece.
1 doc.
02 Oct 1862
148 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF sends a photograph of himself and hopes WW will return the compliment and send one of himself. Thanks WW for his lectures on political economy ['Six Lectures on Political Economy', 1862]. He has informed his printer to send WW an address he gave to the Edinburgh Royal Society, which although of mainly local interest, touches on wider issues concerning the working of scientific societies. It also has attached a biography of M. Necker of Geneva - 'a very particular friend of mine'. Gives news regarding his two sons. The University Commission in Scotland has finished: 'I believe they have done their best. I think they have done much good'.
1 doc.
23 Jan 1863
149 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF thanks Lady Affleck for the literary remains of Robert L. Ellis - 'the best monument that can be erected to the memory of an intelectual man'. He has received interesting correspondence from 'a certain Mr Reily, an Irish gentleman of fortune formerly of Oxford, and now bitten with Alpine mania. He has taken the disorder however in a much more rational and thorough-going way than most of the members of that long legged fraternity'. JDF invited him to Scotland and gave him lessons in using the Theodolite, which he then took with him to Switzerland: 'He has made a beautiful little map founded on his own survey'.
1 doc.
25 Dec 1863
150 James David Forbes to William Whewell. The Forbes are making their way back to Scotland next week, and would like to take in Cambridge on their return: 'All this must depend upon whether I should find you at Cambridge as otherwise I should not think of going'.
1 doc.
09 Jun 1864
151 James David Forbes to William Whewell. JDF is sorry WW will not be in Cambridge when they had intended to visit [see JDF to WW, 9 June 1864]: 'a visit to Cambridge when you are away would seem so flat that I cannot think of it'. His health has profited a great deal through his stay at Norwood - 'which appears to me to be nearly the pleasantest outlet from London'.
1 doc.
11 Jun 1864

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