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Document number: 3328
Date: 12 Jul 1836
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: PEACOCK George
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA36-43
Last updated: 7th March 2015

Trinity College, Cambridge
July 12. 1836

My dear Talbot

I should have been most happy to have accepted your kind invitation to Lacock Abbey if I had not had already two invitations on my books – one to the Master of Magdalene’s at Botleigh

& the other to Bowood; I assure you that I very much regret my inability to come to you

I hope you are getting on with the printing of your paper <1> & it is a most valuable accession to our knowledge of a part of analysis which is not very extensively cultivated: Have you seen Poisson’s memoir in Crelle’s Journal? <2> I saw it yesterday for the first time I have been reading Jerrard’s <3> memoirs on the resolution of Equations of the 5th & higher degrees: <4> I believe his position to be quite untenable: the assumption of more than n (the degree of the equation [illegible]) in the series

[illegible deletion] P + Qx +Nx2 + Sx3 [&c &c] = Y= 0

which is necessary for his method appears to me to be fatal to the whole [illegible]: for xn, x2n, x[3n?] … x [illegible]n may be always expressed by means of the primitive equation, by terms of the [illegible deletion] powers of x which are less than n [&?] the coefficients of the equation. Hamilton started this objection & has shown that his [illegible deletion] reducing equation ([illegible] form) will seem illusory by its terms being all zero. I shall give the whole question a thorough examination before I come to Bristol

Believe me My dear Talbot most truly yours
Geo Peacock

H. F. Talbot Esq
31 Sackville St


1. WHFT, ‘Researches in the Integral Calculus, Part Two’ Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.

2. Simon Denis Poisson (1781–1840), mathematician; August Leopold Crelle (1780–1855), German mathematician, editor of Journal für die Reine und angewandte Mathematik.

3. George Jerrard (1804–1863), mathematician.

4. This is the famous problem of the insolubility of the algebraic equation of the 5th degree resolved by Abel and by Galois at about this time.

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