James Madison Papers

William Beach Lawrence to James Madison, 30 January 1828

London January 30, 1828


As supplementary to the testimonials in favour of Mr. Ritchie, which I last week had the honour to transmit, I now beg leave to enclose a letter from Mr Herschell to Mr Key and one from Capt Sabine to myself.

Mr Herschell was the late and Capt Sabine is the present Secretary of the Royal Society and they are both among the most esteemed scientific men of this Country. The latter gentleman was some time the United States, where he was engaged in a series of experiments with Professor Renwick of Columbia Co[llege] and the reputation of the former for astronomical learning is even superior to that of his distinguished fat[her.] Mr Sabine authorizes me to say that Mr Ritchie has [been] written to in order to ascertain his disposition to be a member of that respectable institution, the Royal Society of London, and that he will be undoubtedly elected, if he gives consent, at as early a period as [the] Rules permit.

I would add, that in the expectations, which Mr Ritchie may have formed of the compensation an[d] other advantages of the Virginia Professorship, he h[as] been governed by the representations of Mr Key, who in [a] letter, which was perused by me stated that his [ ] inco[me] had been one year $4000, but that the fixed s[um] had been reduced from $1500 to $1000. and that t[he] number of Students attending the different clas[s] was necessarily uncertain. I mention this circ[um]stance, deeming it proper that you should [be] informed of the calculations which Mr Ritchie [had] probably made, when he presented himself as [a] Candidate. I have the honour to be with renewed assurances of the highest respect and vener[ation] Sir Your most obedient Serv[ant]

signed W. B. Lawrence

Letterbook copy (DLC: William Beach Lawrence Papers).

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