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CHAPTER II.: 1851–1854. - William Stanley Jevons, Letters and Journal 
Letters and Journal of W. Stanley Jevons, edited by his Wife (Harriet A. Jevons) (London: Macmillan and Co., 1886).
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In October 1851 Stanley returned to London to attend classes at University College, and he was fortunate enough to find a home in the house of his aunt, Mrs. Henry Roscoe, who then lived at 9 Oval Road, Camden Town. Here he remained all the time that he was at University College, and he was very happy, for besides his aunt's kind care, he had the companionship of his cousin Harry (now Sir Henry Roscoe), with whom he formed a lasting friendship.
At this time his favourite study was physical science, especially chemistry, and at Easter 1852 he received at College the silver medal for chemistry, and at Easter 1853 the gold medal for the same subject. In 1852 he also received the first prize for Experimental Natural Philosophy. In July 1852 he matriculated at the University of London, and took honours both in chemistry and botany.
Soon after receiving the silver medal he wrote to his father: “I am very glad that you were so pleased about the medal, as I see from yours and Lucy's letters, but I have no intention of trying very hard or injuring my health at all to get any more—that is, any more prizes, though, of course, I shall try to learn all I possibly can while I have the opportunity at college. If a person goes into an examination people are always disappointed if he does not come off one of the first, and for that reason I was rather sorry after I had gone into the chemistry examination, as I had no right then to expect anything more than one of the last certificates. I am afraid now that you will be disappointed at my not getting anything at the college examination in June, for though I may possibly get a certificate in Greek, and possibly either in Latin or mathematics, I have no chance of any prize, and this is literally true as far as I can judge at present. As to the matriculation, I shall try to pass in the first division, and if I pass the examination at all, I shall probably try to pass the examination in honours for chemistry; but you must not expect any prizes here either.”
To his sister Lucy, before he knew the results of the matriculation examinations, he wrote: “I daresay you will want to hear about the matriculation, and so I will tell you that it has all gone off very well. … I am not at all afraid of being plucked, and the only thing that I think will put me in the second division, if I am so, will be the history, for all the examinations were much easier than those at college. … I have not told you, I think, that I was invited by a student I know at college named Colvill, the nephew of Dr. Sharpey, with whom he lives, to go and get tea there. … He is a very nice old fellow, and one of the best physiologists alive. He attended Mr. Graham's class this year with all the other students, and since Easter has been working all day in the laboratory, with Dr. Williamson telling him how to do the things. You must not complain of me making messes and blows-up in the cellar if an old chap of sixty begins to learn to do it. I am going to bring out something fine next holidays in the chemistry line!”
Early in January 1852 his grandfather, Mr. William Jevons, had died at his father's house, at the advanced age of ninety-one, but Stanley was not at home at the time, as he had remained in London for the Christmas holidays.
During the summer vacation of 1852 Stanley began to keep a journal, the first entry dated is the 23d August 1852: “The college lectures ended on the 15th of June, and the examinations in mathematics, Greek, and Latin—for the chemistry ended at Easter—were finished on the next Monday. The mathematical exam, was six hours long, while the chemistry one had been eight, but nevertheless the mathematics tried me far more, and before the end I got quite stupid, to which I must partly attribute my low place. Soon after was the distribution by the Earl of Carlisle. My certificates were fourth in Latin, fifth in Greek, and sixth with Colvill in mathematics.
“The matriculation was to begin on the 6th July, and till then of course I worked hard; I had got up all the Latin and Greek for the college exams., and so attended chiefly to English history and grammar, chemistry and botany. It was only a few months before that I had begun to think of going up in botany, and considering that I did not know any more than I had learned from reading a few small ‘Introductions,’ etc., and Henslow's Botany, with my botanising at West Kirby for six weeks, it was rather adventurous. But I went over the orders again, and learnt Lindley's Elements, and wrote home for Henslow's to read again. In the chemistry I learnt the inorganic exclusively, as that only is required in the pass. Sam Archer now came to stop with us to pass the matric. The examinations were from ten to one, and from three to six on the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th of July. The first exam, in mathematics I did only pretty well, and the history in the afternoon decidedly badly, so much so as to put me into rather bad spirits, but all the rest was very easy, and the geometry and grammar were the most pleasant of all. I had to try most of course at the chemistry on the second afternoon, and was satisfied with what I did. The natural philosophy on the third afternoon I missed. In the two hours between, Sam and I went to a coffee-house, where we looked over a book, or learned off our notes for the afternoon; but the heat, everywhere indeed, was most tremendous.
“On the Saturday, after the exams, were finished, Sam and I set off for an excursion to Epping Forest. We went by railway to Tottenham, from which we walked very slowly to the River Lea. There we had a two hours' row on the canal, which was rather a new thing to me. We found the walk to the Forest rather longer than we expected, and did not reach it till nearly seven, though we had set off at ten in the morning. The Forest was a splendid place, and quite wild, though the trees are very small; but we could not stay long from the lateness. We then walked to Chigwell, which I wanted to see very much, as it is a part of the scene in Barnaby Rudge, my favourite novel; but we missed seeing the Maypole, which I believe really exists, and is called Queen Elizabeth's Lodge. We got to Chigwell at eight o'clock (!), and considering we were ten or eleven miles from home, without any prospect of getting an omnibus, and very much tired already, we were rather alarmed, but set off at once, determined to walk it. We reached Bow after ten, but fortunately found an omnibus just starting, by which we got to St. Paul's, from which we walked home, considerably tired. The country was very beautiful, and in the naturalising way I found several new flowers, and a glow-worm for the first time.
“On the Monday I set to work seriously for the honours, having few doubts of passing in one of the divisions. I worked chiefly at home for about seven or eight hours a day, and finished nearly all I intended by the 23d—the day of examination. In the chemistry I really believed I should do very badly, and in the examination I actually felt quite lazy and careless! But the botany examination in the afternoon of the same day was far more interesting. I wrote concisely, and therefore I suppose well, though I made several mistakes. The question on the chemical products of assimilation I did easily of course, as I had learned it in the chemistry. Sam went in for zoology with four others, while I had only one other, named Turner, who like me went in for chemistry. I got home with a bad headache, but managed to get to the 8.45 mail train, by which I got to Liverpool at four in the morning, and after spending the day at Chatham Street, I went over to West Kirby with papa in the afternoon.
“I set to enjoy myself as much as possible in one week, for I found that they were going to stop only one week more, and not ten or fourteen days. I had expected to be able to press nearly ten plants a day, having brought proper paper with me, but I believe I did not do more than one a day fit to keep, which is not surprising when I did not know how to set about it. The country was very pleasant certainly, and the weather pretty fine except on the Monday, and I enjoyed three or four bathes with Tommy very much in spite of the bad shore. One day we went an expedition to Hillbre Island, where Tommy, Henny, and myself spent most of the time in catching crabs, but I also got six new kinds of seaweeds and several plants, including the fern Asplenium marinum. The rest of the time I spent pleasantly, sometimes lazily, in walking about the hill, sandhills, etc., but I was not in the best spirits.
“On again reaching Chatham Street the next Saturday I felt completely at a loss what to do first of the many things I intended to do. I began, however, on the Monday by clearing out my work bench, which with the bottles, cupboard, etc., I found in a very dirty state. It was a long and unpleasant job, but I made it very nice in a little time, putting all the glass apparatus in a box by themselves, so as to be out of the way. The only thing I did in chemistry was to put some salts to crystallise on the kitchen chimneypiece, but they have not succeeded at all, and to make some acetic acid from old sour beer.
“I at last began my herbarium by buying three quires of foolscap paper to put the specimens on, cheating myself as usual by buying it at is a quire when much cheaper paper would have done equally well. I soon after bought six feet of half-inch board fourteen inches wide to make the shelves, in which and other things I was chiefly occupied till within the last few days.”
The next entry is dated the 26th of August: “My chief, almost exclusive, occupation lately has been botany. The herbarium is now nearly finished, for I have put shelves in one compartment, as much as I am going to do these holidays, made the covers and labels for all the orders I require now, and mounted most of the specimens I have yet got, in number between fifty and sixty. I have also pressed a good many, chiefly out of the Parliament Fields, where there are yet enough to last me some time. I got several also by an expedition to Upton and Moreton with Sam Archer, and I got several garden plants too. I have not altogether omitted the less agreeable part of botany, the learning of the orders. I did not mention, I believe, last time that on Saturday night I heard for the first time that I had got the prize in botany at the matriculation. Turner is the name of the other one who went in with me, and he has passed too, and also has got the prize in chemistry, in which I am second with another person.
“I have often thought much about what is called cleverness and genius. The oftener an action is repeated, the more easy is it to perform it again, and the more perfectly will it be performed. It is by long repetition that workmen or jugglers acquire such perfection, and the only credit given to them is for their diligence. But I think that is exactly the same case with students, for if they have been accustomed for a long time to study diligently, but particularly in a good way, they get practised or clever in acquiring knowledge, while those who have been lazy or have studied in a careless manner cannot expect to become expert in it. I know that at least since I went to Mr. Beckwith's I have worked pretty hard, and I am very sure that if I had not I should never have got the prizes I have. By this time, perhaps, I have become more practised in acquiring knowledge than some others who have not attended to study, and this it is that constitutes all the cleverness I may have. …
“Friday, 3d September.—On Tuesday I went with Sam Archer to get some shells from the bottom of ships in the graving docks. I got three kinds and a seaweed. Wednesday was my birthday, when I became seventeen, but I began the day in an unusually bad humour. I began a letter to Aunt Jane, of which, however, I could finish only a few sentences, and had hard work in keeping my agreement with Sam Archer to go to Crosby. We set off all right, however, and at the railway I met a man named Sanson, who is a very good botanist, though a custom-house clerk, and I should like to know him. We wandered about the Crosby sandhills for several hours, and I got a good many rather nice specimens, as Triglochin palustre, Gentiana amarella, Parnassia palustris, Anagallis tenella, Echium vulgare, Euphorbia paralias, Euphrasia officinalis, Spergula nodosa, etc., and Sam found some willows, with numbers of pretty good caterpillars, hawks, and pusses. I got home at six, got my tea, pressed several plants, and had to get ready immediately for the Philharmonic concert, but as I had to sit by myself, and was, moreover, in a bad humour and tired, I enjoyed it but little, as I expected. It took all Thursday morning to examine and press my plants, in which, however, I succeeded better perhaps than I have ever done before.
“Last night I spent chiefly in sorting what few shells I have. … This morning I walked along the docks a little, and was fortunate in finding some large foreign snail shells on some dye-wood. I am going to set to work to-day at arranging the minerals, and have got the cardboard for the boxes.”
On the 24th of September he writes: “I have let a long time pass over without any entry, and had once indeed resolved to give up my Journal. But I daresay I shall find it easy to write regularly when I am working hard at London, for my energy is like that of others I have heard of, never excited but by pressure and difficulties. For instance, during the whole of these holidays I might easily have done two or three hours' work a day at lessons and got a great deal done, but I have not done so for more than a week altogether. I am, indeed, very much vexed at having done so little these holidays, for during two months I have only collected about fifty or sixty plants, arranged them as an herbarium, arranged my minerals, gone a few excursions and walks with Sam Archer, read grandpapa's life, and done some few other things hardly worth mentioning. During the same time at college I have no doubt I could have done as much while attending regularly to all my classes. I think this will be the last opportunity I shall have of wasting my time, for till next July I shall be at college almost continually, and then (after a short time in the country, I hope) I shall go at once to business, and need not hope for any more holidays for some time.
“The idea that I have formed of the manner of spending the next few years, though of course I cannot expect that it should turn but half as I like, is to devote this next session at college to learning as much science as possible, especially natural philosophy, mathematics, botany, and chemistry, the last perhaps less than the others, because I am more advanced in it. I shall spend some time also in walking over London, especially the remote and low parts, and during the season taking walks and excursions into the country to collect plants for my herbarium. After a short tour, most likely among the Lakes, on which I shall collect plants, I suppose I must begin some business directly, the nature of which does not matter so much, but as far as I know at present, I should like that of a general broker, since there is more variety. The office, meals, etc., will occupy me from about eight in the morning till seven in the evening (though no doubt I could devote at least an hour of that to reading, particularly if it is light reading), and there will be left for real study at least two hours in the evening and one in the morning. I shall thus work for about eleven hours a day, but the eight of them spent at the office will not be nearly so fatiguing as the seven or eight at college, while the study in the evening will become, I expect, more a pleasure than a trouble. Of this study only a little will be given to science, and the rest to Latin, Greek, history, French, or German, etc. This appears a grand but practicable scheme, but I must be prepared to see it frustrated at any time, and to find it a far less easy job than I had expected—to accustom myself to going to business, in the middle of the noisy town for nothing but to write out dry letters, invoices, etc., run errands, and the like. But it has been done before under harder circumstances.
“I have done very little during the last few weeks worth mentioning. My minerals are most of them in neat boxes, and some of them with names. I have added about twenty new specimens to them, many of them pretty good, as iserine, several iron ores, two carbonates of copper, obsidian, etc., but I hope to get many more in London. I think I shall take a vow to spend the whole of the Christmas holidays in learning mineralogy and crystallography, and finishing the arrangement of my collection by putting a paper to each specimen telling its name, composition, form, and a little of its history. I shall buy the minerals chiefly which are mentioned in the chemistry, and study these chiefly, and thus shall be gaining something useful for the examination at Easter.
“I have collected very few plants lately. One or two days I spent in making up some stray sheets and plates of Roscoe's Monandrian Plants into four copies as complete as possible. The first, the most perfect that can be made, has all the printing, but wants nineteen plates, some of which Lucy will copy for it. I have, of course, looked well through the book in doing this, but though it is very splendidly executed, I should think it was not of much use as a botanical work, since grandpapa's arrangement is not mentioned in the Penny Cyclopedia (Art. ‘Scitaminaceæ’). He has made also a great mistake in defending the Linnæan against the natural system. The former is no better an arrangement of plants than that would be of animals which made the classes depend on colour, as the white class, red class, brown class, etc. It might often happen that all of one natural class were of one colour, and were in one class of this system, as sometimes happens in that of Linnæus, while the variations in colour of single animals scarcely exceed those of plants in the number of the stamens and pistils. Linnæus has acknowledged the imperfection of his system by making the classes Didynamia and Tetradynamia, which are nothing more than natural classes.”
He returned to London at the commencement of the college session in October 1852, and continued his journal throughout the winter. On the 23d October he writes: “I am now fairly at work again for my last session, and shall try to get through a good deal of work, but rather with the intention of enabling myself to go on easily afterwards than of finishing up. During the first week and a half I had only chemistry, but though this took very little time, I got through little else, except reading the first three chapters of De Morgan's Trigonometry, and a few other things. In chemistry I began by reading the subject of the lecture up in a number of books, as Graham's Chemistry, ‘Heat’ in Encyclopedia Metrop., Library of Useful Knowledge, etc., but I found that while I got but little new from so many, it confused me very much, so I have left it off. In reading difficult mathematical things I found that the best way to make them out was to go over them very carefully for two or three days together, instead of puzzling yourself for several hours to understand one sentence or one mathematical transformation.
“On the 15th, Thursday, was the introductory lecture of the arts, by Professor Clough, on the Literature of England, but I did not make much out of it. The next morning I attended De Morgan's higher junior, and had the usual lecture on our necessary notions of ratio, with which he always begins. Professor Potter in the afternoon gave us an introductory lecture on Force, as the universal agent, as in motion, heat, electricity, chemical action, etc. I also began the long job of copying out De Morgan's tracts, with those on ratio. I intend to do them all, as they come out in my classes, because I think that whenever I work at any of the subjects again I shall miss them very much; I also intend to have all De Morgan's books.
“A few days after I got here I went to the university at Somerset House, and got my three certificates for the matriculation and an order to the bookseller for my prize-books. I had to go several times to the bookseller, Richard Taylor, but at last fixed upon Regnault's Cours de Chimie, 4 vols., 21s.; Schleiden's Scientific Botany, 21s.; and Lindley's Vegetable Kingdom, with Glossary of Botanical Terms, about 35s. The rest of the £5 being taken in the binding.
“I have had several rather learned discussions with Harry about moral philosophy, from which it appears that I am decidedly a ‘dependent moralist,’ not believing that we have any ‘moral sense’ altogether separate and of a different kind from our animal feelings. I have also had a talk about the origin of species, or the manner in which the innumerable races of animals have been produced. I, as far as I can understand at present, firmly believe that all animals have been transformed out of one primitive form by the continued influence, for thousands, and perhaps millions of years, of climate, geography, etc. Lyell makes great fun of Lamarck's, that is, of this theory, but appears to me not to give any good reason against it.
“31st October.—I have been working steadily all this week at college. I have worked full nine hours a day, chiefly at mathematics, which I get to like more as I attend to it better. We have just finished what we are to do at present of double algebra and series, which I think rather interesting though hard. In the higher junior class we have been at ratio and fractions. I have finished copying out the four tracts on ratio and the one on series.
“The chemistry has been going on very slowly and stupidly, for we are only as far as gases, although we have gone over the last few subjects very quickly. The best way to do well in the examination will be, I think, to work up the whole of Graham, and some out of Regnault, etc., well, a week or two before.
“In natural philosophy we have got to levers, but I do not like either the class or the present subject much. I have gone through the subjects in Potter's book.
“By myself I have given most of my time by far to mathematics, and have done nearly all the exercises for both classes. I have nearly finished reading Buff's Physics of the Earth, and have also been reading the introduction to Regnault's Chimie on crystallography, which I intend to study in the Christmas holidays. I think I shall try to make wooden models of the crystalline forms, and a Wollaston's goniometer. I have bought a few minerals since I came, but have chosen them badly. I shall spend about five shillings more on them before Christmas, and get chiefly those which are mentioned in the chemistry.
“I have long had a curiosity about the dark passage and arches between the Strand and the river, so, having read ‘The Strand’ in Knight's London, I went on Friday. The first thing I saw worth mentioning was the ‘dark arches’ under the Adelphi, but the first time I only looked in, and was afraid of going farther. Then after having a look at the Savoy Chapel, the only remains of the old Savoy Palace, I got down to the river below the arches by one of those extraordinary passages to the boats, and took courage to walk up through the arches. There were some women in them then, and I read a little time ago in a newspaper of some women who were found almost starved in them.
“Yesterday I made one of my excursions to Spitalfields. I walked to King's Cross, from there by the New Road and City Road to Finsbury Square, through Cannon Street to Bishopsgate Street, and from there into Spital Square. The appearance of the houses from the first was rather peculiar, and the greater proportion of the houses have the large weavers' windows running the whole width of the house, for the top storey at least. It was some time, however, before I found any of the wretched places I have heard so much of. One narrow lane was the worst, I think, that I ever saw; almost every house had a dirty piece of paper in the patched and dirty window, with ‘Lodging for single men,’ at 2d. or 3d. a night. The chief rooms of the houses, opening of course to the street, were very small and exceedingly dirty, and by the light of the fires, for it was getting dark, I could see that there was nothing but a narrow bench or two inside. Nothing looks more unwholesome, also, than the crooked little back doors leading into a few filthy square feet of yard behind each house. There were a few of the bird traps on the tops of the houses so characteristic of the Spitalfields weavers.
“But I was most astonished at the great many improvements that are going on there. One wide road appeared to have been lately cut right through the worst part, and on either side I had an opportunity of seeing the backs of the houses over the empty spaces where other houses had been removed. In almost every street there seemed to be some building, and south of Spicer Street I came upon a whole batch of model lodging-houses, called ‘Metropolitan Chambers,’ with churches, schools, etc., around them. In another street I saw very clean, new, and handsome, though small, swimming-baths. The people often looked exceedingly wretched and destitute, but quiet and peaceful, and not the blackguardly set that you generally see. I shall go again soon.
“This afternoon I took a walk all over Westminster, beginning at Charing Cross, down Whitehall, past the Houses of Parliament, and as far as the Millbank Penitentiary, where I turned up through the poorer parts. There were several rather dirty narrow places, but great improvements are going on there also, such as the making of a grand new road, the Victoria Road, through the worst parts.
“Sunday, 7th November 1852.—I have little to put down this week, for I have done little but work quietly at college, mathematics chiefly, and we have been doing series—the binomial theorem and logarithmic series. In the higher junior we have just finished the fifth book of Euclid. I never feel satisfied with my knowledge of anything unless I have gone over it connectedly and systematically, and so I am writing out the fifth book, shortly but distinctly, with De Morgan's proofs. In the chemistry we have had three or four lectures from Dr. Williamson instead of Graham. The subjects have been oxygen and hydrogen, and I have read them up in Regnault, as well for the chemistry as the French reading. In natural philosophy we are near the end of the mechanical powers; it is very necessary to know all this mechanics, of course, but there is very little interest compared with what there is in any of the parts of chemistry. The history class by Professor Creasy began this week, and we have had three lectures from him already, from half-past eight to half-past nine in the morning. It has been chiefly about Grecian history, and will be for several more days, I expect. I think I shall be interested in it, and though I shall read pretty much, I cannot expect to do well in the examination. I shall read a good deal of history after leaving college.
“Monday, 15th November.—Yesterday I explored Clerkenwell. I walked to King's Cross and by the New Road, Hamilton Row, Bagnigge Wells, Guildford Place, and Coppice Row to Little Saffron Hill. This I went down till near Holborn, when rather frightened by the appearance of the inhabitants of pickpockets, I dashed to the left and got to the site of Hicks Hall in St. John's Road. From there by St. John's Lane up to Clerkenwell Square, Jerusalem Passage, and Clerkenwell Green, where the Session House is. After examining this as well as the Close, Red Lion Street, and the surrounding neighbourhood pretty well, I struck out north, and having got as far as the neighbourhood of Northampton Square, which is, I believe, a good specimen of Clerkenwell, I returned by much the same way as I came. Clerkenwell seems to be the seat of a great many little manufactures, besides watchmaking, such as work-boxes, jewelleries, gems, musical boxes, etc. The genuine Clerkenwell has a quiet respectability and industrious appearance, and must be carefully distinguished from the neighbouring rascally parts, which are the headquarters of the pickpockets and thieves of London.
“Sunday, 19th December.—The last Sunday before Christmas has now come, and I must conclude my account of this term before turning my thoughts to the Christmas holidays, and to home, which last, however, I hope they seldom leave.
“I have no walk worth describing this time, partly because the dark comes on so soon in an afternoon now, and partly because I have been pretty busy at home. I made an attempt at a walk through Bermondsey the Sunday before last, going to Fenchurch Street by railway, and walking across London Bridge; but it was nearly dark when I got there. The narrow dirty streets looked so lonely that I was frightened, and made my way as quickly as possible to Westminster Bridge, and so home.
“On Wednesday I went for my botany prize-books from the university, and was very much pleased by their handsome appearance. Regnault's Chimie I have been reading a good deal lately, and I have nearly been through the first volume; but I hardly like it as much as I expected, as it is chiefly on the practical, not the theoretical part.
“Sunday, 16th January 1853.—Christmas and the Christmas holidays have passed since my last date, and I am again settled down for three months', perhaps six or seven months' hard work. The last lectures at college were on Thursday, 23d December, and on Friday morning at half past six I left for home with Harry, who was going to stay a week or two with the Booths. I got home to dinner, and found everything as usual, except that there was Herbert in addition. Lately, I have found myself thinking more and more of home, and now it is settled that this is to be my last half year in London, I think more of it than ever, and feel a kind of anxiety that the time may pass as quickly as possible, and that there may be no alterations of any kind in that home. My wish to be at or near home has been one of my reasons for choosing a common business in preference to any profession or other occupation, and I have felt as if it savoured of selfishness to leave home altogether and go and take care of your own interests at some place a long way off.
“It is now, however, settled finally, I hope, in my own mind as well as in papa's and Lucy's, that I am to go into some office at Liverpool. I have had doubts whether it will not be exceedingly difficult for me to acquire ready business habits, but I think that after setting my mind upon it for a year before, I shall have sufficient determination to do it. In every other respect I believe that my two years' colleging in London will be a great advantage even in business. One necessary will be that I should not think of my business in the day-time and my work at night as on an equality, but the latter as altogether subordinate, at least for a long time; not that I think it actually of less importance to success. My plan of work, as far as I have thought of it as yet, will be this: for the rest of this session I will give almost all my attention to the following, and in the order in which they are mentioned:—mathematics, chemistry, natural philosophy, botany, crystallography or mineralogy. For several of the first years that I shall be at home I shall also give most of my leisure time to science, because I know that to do a thing well the mind should be engaged with it as singly as possible, that is to say, when you are thinking much about such things as the theory of equations, diffusion, the atomic theory, relation of the forces, etc., the mind cannot take such interest in, and therefore cannot so well learn, history, or Latin and Greek. The case is quite different, I believe, when you are working for prizes or a degree, and not for the sake of the knowledge.
“I shall, however, as soon as I am at home, begin to work a little at French or German, and I shall, of course, read more novels and common books than I do now. I shall also amuse myself down in the cellar with chemical experiments, making instruments; which, however, I think are not altogether useless amusements. After those years are past, and when I shall be a man at twenty-two or twenty-three, I shall make a gradual transition to literary studies, and especially history, though always keeping up my scientific knowledge a little. I don't know how far I shall be able to learn any mathematics by myself.
“So much for all my grand schemes and anticipations, which will be upset most likely some fine day. I passed the Christmas holidays better perhaps than most of my holidays on former occasions, but perhaps because there was not time to get into my usual lazy way. We had the usual Christmas dinner at our house. During the next week I set my bench in order and began my ‘reflective goniometer,’ which I had had in my head for some time. I made it entirely of soft mahogany, zinc plate, and a few brass screws, but it has succeeded, and is correct, I believe, to the tenth of a degree. I had nearly knocked under to making and graduating the dial, and I did not finish it till the last day of the holidays.
“I played the organ a good deal, especially out of the Messiah. The New Year's Day dinner at St. James' Road was decidedly pleasant, and well finished up by a good game at blind man's buff. Almost every party I go to makes me like dancing parties worse, but other ones rather better, so I think I shall never be a dancer. I spent a part of two evenings in looking over half of Mr. Archer's collection, and I saw Philips, the great mineralogist, at the Medical Institution. I also bought three shillings and sixpence worth of minerals from Wright, chiefly forms of carbonate of lime.
“Sunday, 23d January.—Since I came to London at the beginning of this term I have chiefly kept to my work, and have therefore little worth putting down. I have been twice to the British Museum, and find I can take as much interest in the sculptures and other antiquities as the minerals, etc.
“I have been wanting very much to get Mayhew's London Labour and London Poor, as that is the only book I know of to learn a little about the real condition of the poor in London. I managed to root out a dozen of the numbers in rather a dirty condition in a shop in Holywell Street, and yesterday I bought them at a penny a piece. They will lead, I expect, to a few walks this term.
“Last Friday I had a great treat in attending one of Faraday's Friday evening lectures at the Royal Institution. … As to college affairs, I am going on steadily and just as usual. In mathematics we are just beginning the theory of equations, and during the last week have got through Descartes', Fourier's, and Sturm's theorems of the limits of the roots of equations. They are the most truly difficult things we have come to, and I do not thoroughly understand them yet.
“It is only about two months to the chemistry examination, and I am beginning to think seriously of it. The best way to learn the metals thoroughly I think to be to make a large table containing the composition, preparation, crystalline form, etc., of each metallic compound. I began the table last night. (It turned out a failure.) I have been reading a good deal of Regnault's Chimie, and a little of Daniell's Introduction to Chemical Philosophy, which, however, I think a poor book.
“In the chemistry class we have only just begun the metals, as we are very late; we are to do the metals and the organic together, which I do not think a good way. Before the examination I shall read most of Graham, some of Liebig's Letters, work at parts in Gmelin's Handbook, read a good deal of Regnault, etc.
“In Potter's class of natural philosophy we have been engaged since the beginning of the term with electricity. He does the experiments magnificently, but gives us a minimum of all theory, which consequently I have to read for myself. I must read and work an awful deal for this class after Easter.
“I now and then read a little of Schmitz's Greece, but I get on very slowly, and shall not go into the examination.
“Sunday, 30th January.—On Friday night I was again at a lecture at the Royal Institution by Dr. Williamson. The title was ‘On some recent Discoveries in Organic Chemistry.’ At college we have been doing very hard things in the theory of equations, which puzzle me awfully. In natural philosophy we have finished electricity and begun voltaic electricity. I have nearly finished reading electricity in Library of Useful Knowledge, am half through Sir Snow Harris' Electricity, and am at the same time reading in chemistry two volumes of Regnault, Liebig's Letters, now and then a little of Graham, Schmitz's Greece, etc., more than I have read for a long time.
“Sunday, 27th February.—I have now a whole month to make up, although several important things have happened, which I ought to have put down long since, and would have done perhaps, if my last one or two Sundays had not been rather engaged.
“Soon after the beginning of this month we heard that my uncle, F. Hornblower, was very ill of rheumatic fever, and as he had for some time been very poorly and weak, it was considered dangerous. In a day or two he died, from the complaint reaching the heart. This news was particularly sad on poor Aunt Jane's account. His funeral was from our house at Liverpool. Aunt Jane has been living there ever since, and I should think will continue to do so as long as she lives. I have known Uncle Hornblower better than any of my uncles, almost as much more as I have known Aunt Jane better than any of my aunts, and he has always been particularly kind to me. Several years ago (I think about five or six) I used to dine every day at his house in Falkner Street, at the opposite corner to our present house, while I was at the Mechanics' Institution. Since that I have spent many weeks at his house at Nantwich, which have always been very pleasant ones. The last time was in October.
“About the middle of the month I received from papa one of his business-like letters, which I like to get better than any others, on the important subject of ‘What I am going to be,’ as the phrase is. I had before made up my mind to be in some commercial business, but in this letter he advised me to choose some one which I should be more able to like for itself, and proposed the iron trade. This letter, of course, set me to think very seriously, as now one of the greatest questions of my life was to be settled once for all. I had before thought of some of the reasons which he gave, and having had the same advice from several other people, I was not long in fixing to be a manufacturer of some sort, putting, however, an ironmaster's business out of the question, because it would not suit me at all well, and would, besides, take me from home for the rest of my life. Now, however, I have the great pleasure of thinking that, as far as can be known at present, it is determined I shall not be away from home more than six or seven months longer. It can hardly be conceived, I think, how many pleasures, and still more how many real advantages, I should have lost by leaving or, I may say, losing my home at once. The choice now is between a sugar refinery and a soap, chemical, or some other sort of manufactory, and an indispensable condition is that it be in Liverpool. I shall probably go into the Birkbeck Laboratory next term.
“About a week ago there was a rather hard frost, and skating began vigorously as soon as the ice bore. On Saturday, 19th, I skated for two hours on Regent's Park, where the ice, however, was very bad, and in the afternoon for about two more on the Serpentine. At the latter place I enjoyed it especially, as, besides plenty of tolerably good ice, there were crowds of people everywhere, which always, I think, increases the fun, and the excitement now and then of somebody falling in and getting saved by the Royal Humane Society's men. On Sunday I went with Harry to some ice near the railway station at Barnes, where we skated for some time. The Monday before last we had some capital fun at college with snowballs, chiefly in the storming of the portico, which was defended by another party of the students. The medicals had a fight in the streets with blackguards, which ended in rather a serious row.
“On Friday, 18th, I went over a lucifer match manufactory, which I thought very well worth seeing, though it was a dirty low hole. Harry wanted some specimens of matches in different stages for a lecture which he gave last Monday at the Spicer Street Domestic Mission, ‘On the Use and Importance of Chemistry, illustrated by the improvements it has produced in lucifer matches, bleaching, and other things.’
“I have got into a rather lazy way of working lately, partly, I think, on account of the skating, etc., but am going to set to work seriously for the chemical examination, which is only a month off; we are now going through the organic and the metals at the same time, on different days of the week, and get on very well. I had hoped that when we began algebraical geometry, as we have done now, we should have had a little rest in mathematics, but the exercises seem only to get harder and harder. The natural philosophy also is very dull, being on hydrostatics, and, worst of all, the history class begins to-morrow morning at eight o'clock.
“I have been one or two good walks lately, chiefly among the manufacturing parts. One Saturday I went from Waterloo Bridge eastwards along the wharfs on the Surrey side, as far as Jacob's Island, which I found much improved since I visited it about a year since. The ditches had been filled up or arched over, and the streets were beginning to be filled. Another Saturday I started from the same place, but travelled west as far as Vauxhall Bridge, where I again crossed the river, and proceeded again in the same direction nearly to Chelsea, whence I walked straight home. Belvedere Road is full of small wharfs and manufactories, such as drain tile potteries, gas-works, slate-works, bone-mills, glue, whiting, etc., manufactories. Yesterday afternoon I accomplished still more. Starting from college a little after two, I walked through the city and along White chapel and the Commercial Road almost to the West India Docks. I then turned up, and passing a good many manufactories, reached Bow and got home by railway. I feel as if I could see nothing with so much pleasure now as a dirty pearl ash manufactory or tar distillery. I have remarked that in Bermondsey, Tower Hamlets, and most of the parts east of London Bridge, the streets are wide and open—showing, I suppose, that land is cheap—but that the houses are very low, not always unhealthy or dirty, seldom more than two low stories in height. These parts are very low and wretched, but are not, as far as I could see in the day-time, half so full of busy vice and crime as St. Giles, Drury Lane, etc.
“Sunday, 3d April.—On the 12th March I had a pleasant walk from London Bridge through the close parts of Bermondsey and among the tanneries, till I came into the middle of the market gardens. I went down Blue Anchor Road, and returned up the Deptford Road to the Thames Tunnel, whence I came home by the railway.
“Before Easter we were going through the conic sections in the mathematical class, and I kept up pretty well in them till near the end, when I partly left off working at mathematics that I might have more time for chemistry. In natural philosophy we went at a great rate through pneumatics, the air-pump, the steam engine, heat, and part of acoustics, to none of which I attended much, except the last, for which I am reading a little.
“A few weeks before Easter I got a letter from papa with some money, and asking me to go to Liverpool for the Easter holidays. I was very much astonished at it, but of course said immediately that I would, though I should not have more than a week.
“Thursday, the day before Good Friday, was the first day of the holidays, so on that day I went down. I had a comfortable journey, reading all the way nearly the whole of ‘Les Corps Gras,’ in Regnault. I did not find the house turned so much topsy-turvy by Aunt Jane's illness as I had expected, and everything seemed as cheerful as usual. I soon found, however, that music was not allowed, and, in fact, neither the organ nor the piano were opened all the time I was in Liverpool.
“The greater part of the first morning I spent in a walk with Tommy at Birkenhead, but I began a few chemicals, practising a little at crystallising on nitre. On Saturday morning I went with papa to call on a Mr. Nevin, the manager of Steele's Soap Works in Sir Thomas Buildings. Papa had seen a letter of his in the newspaper on penal jurisprudence, so he sent him one of his books, and getting to know his address, called on him. Sunday morning to chapel, and the rest of the day at chemicals.
“On Monday morning Willy Jevons and I went over the soap-works with papa. On Tuesday morning I went over an iron shipbuilding yard at Birkenhead with Willy and Uncle Timothy. The punching and shearing were neatly done, but the carpentering machines were not at work. Mr. Steele's head clerk, Mr. Nevin, had given me a letter to see a soda-works of his at Prestatyn near Rhyl, and on Wednesday papa and I went to see them, and it was fixed that I should go straight to London from Chester. We crossed to Birkenhead by the 9.45 boat, and got to Prestatyn about one, going by railway to Chester, and from there by the Chester and Holyhead Railway along the Wales shore of the Dee. We saw over the works very completely, and I got specimens of the materials and the soda ash in different steps of the process. The process was almost the same as I had learnt it from Graham, but the only way to gain a good idea of the manufacture is to see it. After dinner we returned to Chester by the railway, and papa there left me, while I went on at six to Crewe, passing Beeston Castle and the Nantwich station. From Crewe to Birmingham I went by the South Staffordshire Railway, except between Crewe and Stafford, passing through the middle of the iron district, where there were numberless iron furnaces, two or three together, blazing away on either side of the railway, and lighting up the sky; this part of the journey was long and troublesome, but pleasant, because it was new to me. Getting to Birmingham after ten, I found that the train for London started from another station, and I was perhaps nearly an hour walking about the streets (which did not appear to me at all fine) to find it. I then exceedingly enjoyed some tea and ham at a coffee-house I found open, and set off for London at 12.15, getting home without further trouble at about five in the morning, having been out quite eighteen hours, the greater part too on the railway.
“Till the next Tuesday I had none but the chemistry class to attend, and I had then great doubts whether I should go into the chemistry examination or not. At last I resolved I would make an effort and go in, come what would, and the result was that I answered the eleven questions in eight hours, quite, I believe, to my own satisfaction, but I do not yet know how much to the satisfaction of Graham.
“The next day I entered the laboratory, to which I had been looking forward some time, but I did scarcely anything the first day but get my apparatus, clean my bottles, and arrange my bench. The next day I was set to try the reactions of antimony, tin, and arsenic; and after being a few days over these I had to separate them from a common solution, which I found a long and troublesome process. One day, while making arseniuretted hydrogen, I suppose I breathed a little, for I was ill and sick after it—a real case of poisoning by arsenic. After this I began the regular course of analysis, which I found far better, having merely to find out the salt in a particular solution, and then try its reactions.
“I expected Potter's class would be better when on Light, but it is duller than ever. In mathematics we are just beginning the differential calculus, at which I am going to work very hard at nights. I am seriously thinking of making an effort for both the natural philosophy and mathematical examinations, seeing how well that for the chemistry succeeded; but I have very little time to work, and can only expect a low certificate in the latter class.
“I took my first proper botanical walk yesterday in some fields at Hampstead, where I got four ranunculaceœ, primroses, and a specimen of daisy. I have bought a map of the environs fifteen miles round London, which distance only I intend to be the limit of my numerous projected excursions this summer.”
There is no further entry in his journal until the 29th January 1854, when he writes: “From several causes, among which laziness, business, and the want of the book, are some, I have not written a word since last April. I must now therefore give a history of these last nine or ten months, about which I can perhaps remember now as much as I shall ever want to read again.
“During the last two months at college I attended chiefly of course to the laboratory, though working at Potter's and trying to keep up in De Morgan's. With analysis, as has always happened to me in practical chemistry, I did not succeed quite so well as I might have done, much to my own disappointment, and I had regular periods of disgust with the laboratory. I got through (rather slowly, however) nearly all the ‘bottles’ and did several quantitatives, which were neither very bad nor very good, which with a few preparations was all my work. But I consoled myself with thinking that it was the first three months I had learned [in the laboratory].
“I worked up well for Potter's examination, not keeping merely to what was sufficient to get the prize; and having De la Rue's electricity, I learned much more on that subject than was necessary. I had no difficulty with the mechanics, sound, light, electricity, except a little I missed in hydrostatics and a mistake or two about telescopes, but was not so much up in astronomy—a newer subject to me. On waves I answered a good deal. Mathematics was a much harder affair, of course. Some time before the examination I formed some desperate resolutions as to the place I would get, and I did work up a little. I tried very hard in the examination, but spent too much time on the hard ones, and came out fourth. Since Easter I had been thinking a great deal of again living at home, and looked forward to it as a great happiness.
“Now came the most sudden and important change of prospects I have ever had. On Friday afternoon, about a week before I was going to leave the college and go home, Harry [his cousin, Henry Roscoe] said he had a very excellent and unexpected thing to tell me. This rather surprised me, as I hoped it would be as pleasant as good, and I was rather horrified and disappointed when he told me going home that it was the offer (as I understood it then) of the assayership to the new mint in Australia. There was scarcely anything that could be more distant from my wishes then than to emigrate, and that, together with the responsibility and difficulty of such a place, made me think at once that it was perfectly impossible. This I told Harry at once, and I even made him partly agree with me. I also remember congratulating myself for some time after upon the very quick and strong decision I had shown myself capable of making upon any great occasion.
“I at once, of course, wrote to papa about it, but had the disagreeable job next morning of speaking to both Williamson and Graham about it.
“Williamson, it appeared, had recommended me to Graham as the one best fitted in the laboratory for the place. I thanked them both, but said I thought I should hardly take the offer, as I did not wish to go so far from home, and hardly felt old enough for the place; but I said that of course I must hear from my father before deciding. This, it afterwards turned out, was a very necessary provision. On the Sunday I went a quiet walk, and thought but little about the affair, considering it quite impossible. Once or twice perhaps a sort of vision came into my head of independence, a large salary, and a position in society, etc., at the age of eighteen, but did not make much impression.
“Harry told me next morning that Williamson had been speaking to another student about the place, and that if I had any thoughts whatever about it, I ought to say something more decisive. I did not think that there was the slightest chance, but about an hour afterwards I got a letter from papa asking me to consider, and saying that though he would hesitate as to my taking it if I had to leave England for good, he did not see such a great obstacle in leaving for some years together. I told this to Graham, and asked for a few days to consider and decide, and, as my father wished, packed up at once and left for Liverpool. I remained at home from about the Tuesday to the Saturday, a sufficient time, as it appeared, for me to change my mind as to the leaving home, but not to get rid of another objection, that of not thinking myself quite old enough for and equal to the position. I talked very little to any of them and they said very little to me, so that I was convinced merely by knowing what my father and the others thought, and by thinking about the thing myself.
“On returning to London I lived for a short time again at Aunt Henry's. On the Monday I saw Graham, with whom I wrote a letter of application to Captain Ward, the master of the new mint at Sydney, through whom the appointment would be made. I at once went into Graham's own assay laboratory, which I had fully expected would be the case, though it was merely from his own kindness, and at considerable expense and trouble to himself. On being taken over the rooms and seeing the quantity of particular apparatus necessary, and the numbers of things to be attended to, I felt very much alarmed, so much so that at last I determined to put as much of the responsibility of the acceptation as possible off my own shoulders by telling Graham plainly that I was afraid of undertaking it, after seeing in what the work consisted, and the extent of the arrangements I should have to make for setting up an assay office in Australia. He only laughed, and I did not know how to make any further objection. Accordingly I set to work to learn the assaying, and, after a little, joining in the regular business of the laboratory.
“At this time I lived in solitary lodgings at Camden Town (No. 13 Albert Street), and though rather troubled with business, I remember the time without displeasure. Occupied during the day at college, or about town buying apparatus, I spent the evenings very agreeably in reading. Geology was the subject I chiefly attended to, and De la Beche's work on Geology, Observation, and Comparison with Changes now going on, the work I chiefly read.”
At the beginning of February 1854 Stanley went to Paris for about two months to study assaying at the French mint. It was the first time that he had been out of England, and the journey to Paris was full of interest to one so keenly observant as he was. He stayed at a pension, 59 Rue de Lille, and went every day to the mint, where he practised silver as well as gold assaying. In a letter to his father, written towards the close of his stay, he said that he had learned much. His leisure time he devoted to seeing as much as he could of Paris and the environs, especially Versailles, of which he wrote home a long account After satisfactorily passing an examination at the mint he returned to England, and made a brief stay in London to finish the necessary purchases of apparatus which he had to take out with him to Australia. He then went to Liverpool, remaining at home until he sailed.
His journal has plainly shown with what happiness he had looked forward to living at home again, and there is little need to say how much it had cost him to accept an appointment in Australia; but though it was chiefly done in deference to his father's wish, he never regretted it in after life, and he acknowledged at the time the force of the reasons which made the appointment too good a one to be refused. It not only relieved his father of any further expense on his account, but put him in a position to help his family, if necessary, in the future. Though he was not yet nineteen, his father could let him go so far away with the fullest confidence that he would do well, for, as Mr. Jevons said about this time, Stanley was “a son who had never given his father one hour's anxiety.” He was so quiet and reserved in the expression of his feelings that he said but little of the sorrow he felt in leaving home; but it was none the less apparent to his family. He shrank from the leave-taking, the pain of which was prolonged by the departure of the ship Oliver Lang being delayed day after day. He was glad at last to go on board, and on the 29th June 1854 he set sail for Sydney.