Letter from Somerville to Murray3, 5 Apr 1871

Author(s): Somerville, Mary


5th April 1871
Dear Mr Murray

I thank you very sincerely
for your valuable gift of Darwin
which interests me exceedingly although
I believe that the prehistoric
races of men were often little superior
to mere animals, I cannot as yet
pay due respect to the gorilla as
my ancestor, but I am only reading
the first volume

I had a visit from almost all
the astronomers who came to
Sicily to observe the total eclipse
among others Mr Peirce who is
professor of Math. & Astron. in the
Harvard University at Boston and
Superintendent of the coast survey
of the US. Since he returned to
America he has sent me one of the
lithographic copies of a very
remarkable work he has published

on Liniar Associative Algebra
It is difficult, and although I
cannot study it for more than two
hours at a time without being
fatigued, I am happy to say I have
not lost my facility in mathematics
I have several works bearing on the
subject in question but I would be
much obliged to you if you would
send me Sir William Hamilton's
lectures on Quarternions-

Though I fear there will not be
a second edition of my last work
during my life, I have brought it
up to the present year by adding
Tyndalls on the
colour of the sky, [Huggins] on the
motions of the stars &c. and lastly
on the structure of the Sun & the
nature of the corona which according
to the late observations will probably
afford direct proof of the existence
of the ethereal medium hitherto
hypothetical though on it the
undulatory theory of light and all
its consequences depend. I am
continually adding to the narrative
of my life so I have been very

busy, besides during the war the
newspapers occupied much of my
time but I had plenty of it for
the autumn and winter have been so
bad that I could seldom drive out

We had a very short visit from
Pentland, he is so much disgusted
with the state of Rome that I should
not be surprised if he did not return
he will surely not pass through
Paris in its distracted state I have
no sympathy for the French they
are so ungrateful for the bounty of
England. The British fleet has
been here for a short time, I had
a visit from Admiral [¿]ton
who is an old acquaintance, a
first rate iron clad remains supplied
to be as a refuge for the Pope, but
he seems to be inclined to remain
at the Vatican protected by his

Our beautiful view is shut out by a
wooden building for a Naval exposition
and will be for some months which is

great nuisance I hear it does not
promise much

My daughters unite with me in
kind remembrances to Mrs and Miss
Yours very sincerely
Mary Somerville
1871 Apl 5
Somerville Mrs


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Letter from Somerville to Murray3, 5 Apr 1871

Document Information

Document ID 199
Title Letter from Somerville to Murray3, 5 Apr 1871
Year group 1850-1900
Genre Personal writing
Year of publication 1871
Place of publication Naples, Italy
Wordcount 490

Author information: Somerville, Mary

Author ID 249
Forenames Mary
Surname Somerville
Gender Female
Year of birth 1780
Place of birth Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Occupation Author, mathematician
Father's occupation Military
Locations where resident London, Italy
Other languages spoken Latin, French