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Document number: 2719
Date: 05 Jul 1833
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BREWSTER David
Collection: National Science and Media Museum, Bradford
Collection number: 1937-4805
Last updated: 30th April 2012

My Dear Sir,

I have only this moment received your Letter, <1> and Paper of the 18th June on my return from Cambridge, <2> where I was much disappointed at not finding you, as there was no other Philosopher of any note absent but yourself.

Such a Scene I have never seen, & perhaps never will see again.

I saw there Wheatstone’s <3> beautiful experiments, & was therefore much interested in your paper, where you have described your proposed experiment very clearly.

I have already tried two other salts of chromium beside the oxalate of Potash & Chromium, <4> but I am not sure, till I see my Memoranda, which are at present in the Highlands, whether or not it was the Sulphate. I shall try however to make that salt in the way you mention.

In consequence of the death of my Brother in Law <5> I am just about to take up my residence at Belleville <6> near Kingussie in Inverness-shire where I shall have more time to pursue my scientific inquiries. I am getting a Heliostate <7> made, and most fortunately I have at Belleville an uninterrupted passage within the house ninety two feet long, with an East Window at one end and a West one at the other. This length of transit for the Solar Ray was almost necessary in using the five feet Achromatic Telescope which I have got the use of from Sir Jas. South. <8> It will give me great pleasure to hear from you,

and I am My Dear Sir Ever most Faithfully yrs
D Brewster

July 5th 1833

H.F. Talbot Esqr M.P.
31 Sackville Street
to be forwarded to the Continent
Poste restante


1. Not located.

2. Where the British Association for the Advancement of Science had met from 28 June 1833.

3. Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802–1875), scientist.

4. See D. Brewster, ‘On certain peculiarities in the double refraction and absorption of light exhibited in the oxalate of chromium and Potash’. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1835, pp. 91–94.

5. James Macpherson, brother of Brewster’s wife Juliet, and elder son of James (Ossian) Macpherson (1736–1796).

6. The estate in Badenoch formerly known as Raitts, bought by James Macpherson the elder, and renamed by him; he built a large house there. Locally known as ‘Balavil’.

7. See Doc. No: 02649.

8. Sir James South (1785–1867), astronomer.

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