HERSCHEL, SIR JOHN FREDERICK WILLIAM. (1792-1871). English polymath, astronomer and photography pioneer; son of the astronomer Frederick William Herschel. ALS. (“JFW Herschel”). 2pp. 4to. N.p., N.d. [1822 or later]. To GEORGE BURGESS WILDIG (1784-1853)].
“I have delayed a long while answering your letter, but the whole matter appearing to be likely to take an unsatisfactory turn, I did not know exactly how to proceed. The fact is that the present Astronomer Royal is exceedingly averse to the new appointments – so much so that it is very doubtful whether the change proposed in the system of the observatory will ever be made – or at least ever be acted on with any confidence. Under the circumstances all that I could do was to throw in a caveat in your favor should the alterations ever take place, and be of a satisfactory nature – by mentioning your wishes to the President of the R[oyal] S[ociety] in confidence and should I hear more about the matter will not fail to give you intelligence, and if you then desire it, make your wishes on the subject publicly known, as the nomination to the officer will I presume rest with the Pres[iden]t. & Council of the R.S. I think you underrate your claims graciously when you say ‘you know nothing of astronomy.’ I am happy meanwhile to hear of your being so comfortably situated and that you still retain a penchant for x and y. Jones you know is married and leads an exemplary & sober life – his wife has been very ill. I do not hear that there are signs of the principles of population being brought into action in his family yet. Babbage desires to be k[in]dly remembered & I am, dear Wildig, yours sincerely…”