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Document number: 6007
Date: 10 Oct 1847
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: GROVE William Robert
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 27th April 2012

Oct 10

Dear Sir

I lately passed through Bath on my way to my Revising Circuit <1> & wish I had known you were there <2> as I could have explained matters much better vivá voce <3> than by letter There have been great difficulties to contend with Every good working man <4> is anxious for scientific reform but every one has a plan of his own which differs from his neighbours, & thus no change is made<.> The Ph. Club <5> has at length now got together & although it is quite probable that better things might be done still I think if you should attend any of the meetings you will be of opinion that much good will come of it<.> At all events you may speak your mind freely there & every thing hitherto has been freely & yet courteously discussed The great object is a reorganisation of the Royal Society <6> not the formation of a new body <–> two centuries of human labour should not be put aside – notwithstanding its present defects the RS has done much & every effort should be made to keep that up even at some sacrifice of what would be more agreeable & more immediately useful<.> A separate society formed of such men as compose the Ph Club would if it [illegible word] at once throw over the RS & if not would create an antagonism greatly injurious to science –

[illegible deletion] You will see that there are 3 or 4 evenings on which there is no meeting of the RS & then the discussion my be prolonged to any extent. We have already had some most interesting ones & the dinners have been excellently attended [illegible word] the [2 illegible words] Faraday <7> Herschel <8> R Brown <9> &c &c. have been present I hope you will be at the Next

Yours vy Truly
W R Grove


1. Grove was a leading barrister on the South Wales circuit of assize courts. A Revising Circuit was a periodical series of courts held at the various towns on a circuit in order to bring up to date the local list of parliamentary electors. Milford [now Milford Haven], whence Grove was writing, is on the Pembrokeshire coast.

2. See Doc. No: 05999 dated from Bath, to which this is the reply.

3. by word of mouth; in person

4. In this context, an active scientist.

5. The original Royal Society Club was formed largely for social purposes. However, dissatisfaction over the loosening standards for electing Fellows led to the formation of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society in 1847. As a dinner club, it sought to preserve the standards of the Royal Society, to encourage respect for science in Britain, and to allow members to make special presentations of their studies. It lasted until 1901, when the two clubs were merged. See also Doc. No: 05825 and Doc. No: 05999.

6. Royal Society of London.

7. Prof Michael Faraday (1791–1867), scientist.

8. Sir John Frederick William Herschel (1792–1871), astronomer & scientist.

9. Robert Brown (1773–1858), botanist.

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