Publisher Information: London: 1855.
“Every Possible Assistance to You in Yr. Experiments”
Argyll [Campbell, George, Eighth Duke of Argyll (1823-1900).] Autograph letter signed to William Scoresby (1789-1857). 3 pages. London, December 17, 1855. 186 x 117 mm. Fine.
From George Campbell, eighth duke of Argyll, who held several important positions in the British government in the second half of the nineteenth century; he was also a noted writer on science and economics, and a leader in the scholarly opposition to Darwinism. His correspondent was British explorer and scientist William Scoresby, best known for his studies of terrestrial magnetism and its effects on navigation. In December 1855 the 66-year-old Scoresby was preparing for the scientific voyage recorded in his posthumous Journal of a Voyage to Australia for Magnetical Research (1859), undertaken to prove his claim that an iron ship changed its magnetic signature after crossing the magnetic equator. Scoresby had asked Argyll, who was then serving in the British Cabinet, for assistance in communicating his objectives to the Colonial Office; Argyll replied as follows:
I am rather taken aback by yr. announcement that you are yourself going to undertake a voyage to Australia in order to correct & confirm yr. conclusions on the magnetism of iron ships. But I need hardly say that any assistance which I, or the Govt. can give you is due to yr. devotions to a cause of such great importance both scientific & commercial.
I think no introduction can be necessary for one whose name is familiar to every Englishman. But I doubt not I can get for you from the Colonial Office letters requesting the Governors of the colonies you may visit every possible assistance to you in yr. experiments . . .
Scoresby acknowledged the help he received from Argyll in the first chapter of the Journal of a Voyage to Australia: “From each department, comprising the Admiralty, the Compass Department at Woolwich, and the Colonial Office, the communications with the last of which were kindly made for me by His Grace the Duke of Argyll, my several applications for furtherance or aid in my objects . . . were promptly and liberally responded to” (p. 9).Book Id: 42856