Autograph letter signed to Charles Waterton

Phillips, John

Published by Yorkshire Museum, 1837
From Jeremy Norman's historyofscience (Novato, CA, U.S.A.)

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Phillips, John (1800-1874). Autograph letter signed to Charles Waterton (1782-1865). Yorkshire Museum, January 6, 1837. 1 page plus integral address leaf. 230 x 185 mm. Creased where previously folded, light soiling on address leaf. Phillips was the nephew and ward of the famous British geologist William Smith. After completing his education, Phillips accompanied his uncle on various research tours made in connection with Smith's geological maps, and assisted Smith in giving courses of geological lectures in York. In 1826 Phillips became keeper of the Yorkshire Museum and secretary of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society. In 1831 he helped to found the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and served as the BAAS's first assistant secretary from 1832 to 1859. In 1834 Phillips was appointed professor of geology at King's College, London; and in 1856 he succeeded William Buckland to the readership of geology at Oxford University. During his tenure at Oxford Phillips helped to found the Oxford Museum, and served as curator of the Ashmolean Museum from 1854 to 1870. The English naturalist Charles Waterton, to whom Phillips's letter is addressed, is best known for introducing the anesthetic agent curare to Europe, and for his scientific explorations of Guyana, described in his Wanderings in South America (1825). He is also credited with building the world's first nature and wildfowl reserve (located on the grounds of his estate in Yorkshire), and for inventing the bird nesting box. Waterton was famed for his eccentricities, which included pretending to be a dog and biting the legs of his dinner guests under the table! Phillips's letter to Waterton, written in his role as secretary of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, is an attempt to persuade Waterton not to relinquish his membership in the Society. Phillips appeals to Waterton's interest in ornithology: Ever since I received your letter requesting that your name might be withdrawn from the list of Hon. Members of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society I have been hoping that some fortunate circumstance might arrive on which I could found a reasonable plea to intreat you not to persevere in your intention of withdrawing your name-and I would fain hope that the progress now making in our Museum toward a more adequate representation of ornithology might be admitted as such a plea. I can assure you that when I mentioned the subject to the Council of the Society a very general expression of regret followed. On such matters no step is ever taken by the Council till the Annual Meeting in February (the first Monday), after which day, if unfortunately we can not prevail with you to remain associated with us, I shall very unwillingly omit your name in the next printed list. With the most sincere regard & esteem Believe me to be, Yours very truly, John Phillips Sec'y YPS Wikipedia, "John Phillips, geologist," and "Charles Waterton". Bookseller Inventory # 40122

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Autograph letter signed to Charles Waterton

Publisher: Yorkshire Museum

Publication Date: 1837

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

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