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CHAPTER VII.: 1866–1866. - 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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During the early part of 1866 Mr. Jevons suffered much from anxiety and depression, as his journal plainly shows.
“1st March 1866.—Even though the deepest disappointment should come upon me, give me strength, O God, to be thy brave and true servant.
“4th March 1866.—How can we doubt that there is a God, when we feel him moving in us? In the midst of anxiety and disappointment and sense of failure, such as I have seldom had to feel before, I spent a morning of calmness and hope almost inexplicable. I went to chapel, and prayers, hymns, and lessons seemed written to inspire me with confidence. Whence is this feeling that even failure in a high aim is better than success in a lower one? It must be from a Higher Source, for all lower nature loves and worships success and cheerful life. Yet the highest success that I feel I can worship, is that of adhering to one's aims and risking all.
“5th March 1866.—Such were my thoughts yesterday. To-day I have reassurance which seems to me nothing less than providential. The following is the copy of a letter forwarded me by Mr. Macmillan:—
Windsor Castle, 24th February 1866.
“'MydearSir—I am not certain whether I owe to your kindness, or to that of Mr. Jevons, my early opportunity of perusing his work on Coal; but I have perused it with care, and with extraordinary interest. It makes a deep impression upon me, and strengthens the convictions I have long entertained, but with an ever-growing force as to our duty with regard to the National Debt.
“'I think it is a masterly review of a vast, indeed a boundless, subject.
“'But I feel that I have not the scientific knowledge which alone could make me a competent judge of the grave conclusions involved; and I shall look, with the utmost interest, for other and weightier opinions upon this remarkable product of the English economic school.
“'Pray take my thanks as intended both for you and for Mr. Jevons, and believe me, I remain, faithfully yours,
“'W. E. Gladstone.'
“11th March 1866.—I seem to have more clearly before me, by degrees, the position to which I would aspire. Accepting the progressive triumphs of physical science, I would aid in the reform of abstract science, and in the establishment of moral and political sciences. But I would also join science to morals and religion. I would try to show that they are not antagonistic.
“24th March 1866.—I have lost and shall lose many of the most exquisite and true pleasures of life, but I can look upon their loss without much regret when I feel that I am following something above even such pleasures. But there is one thought that fills my soul with dread. It is the thought of
“'That one talent which is death to hide Lodged with me useless.'
It is a fearful trust for one to have who feels he has not judgment, and the worldly means and qualities which would enable him to use it with effect.
“28th March 1866.—I cannot forget or omit to record this day last week. I was sleeping as usual for the night at St. Michael's Hamlet. As I awoke in the morning, the sun was shining brightly into my room. There was a consciousness on my mind that I was the discoverer of the true logic of the future. For a few minutes I felt a delight such as one can seldom hope to feel. But it would not last long—I remembered only too soon how unworthy and weak an instrument I was for accomplishing so great a work, and how hardly could I expect to do it.”
To his brother Herbert.
9 Birch Grove, Rusholme, Manchester, 24th March 1866.
“I am very sorry that I have been able to write so little of late. This term, however, is always a heavy one, and I have had, and have, causes of great anxiety which take up my thoughts. … If I can get this professorship which is now just declared vacant, I shall be all right. The salary is £250 and the fees. Of course I have a great many things in my favour, as I am doing the full work of the professorship, and am exactly suited for it by my degree, reading, etc. But the trustees will probably carry out their rule of making it an open election, and one cannot be sure how that will go. And there are many things, such as want of sociability, which will tell much against me. Probably I exaggerate the chances against me at present.
“One of the best things that has happened of late is the letter from the Chancellor of the Exchequer expressing great approval of the Coal Question, and allowing that it has strengthened his desire to reduce the National Debt. It may be a couple of months yet before the professorship is decided, and until then I cannot have much peace of mind. Before I can have an answer it will have been decided for better or for worse, so there is no need to say more at present. …
“Last Monday I gave an account of my logical abacus at the Liverpool Literary and Philosophical Society for about an hour and a quarter, and those present seemed pleased and interested.”
The logical abacus consisted of a black board with four ledges attached horizontally. A number of slips of wood with small and large letters printed upon them in various combinations were ranged upon the ledges, and by means of wire pins could be readily classified in any required order. The results were arrived at by gradually rejecting those combinations of letters which were inconsistent with the premises, until only those remained which contained the desired information. The same sets of letter combinations would do for any number of various arguments, the meaning of the letters being properly defined for each argument beforehand.
On the 3d April Mr. Jevons gave an account of his logical abacus at a meeting of the Literary and Philosophical Society in Manchester. He explained that it was “an attempt to reduce the processes of logical inference to a mechanical form.” The purpose of the contrivance was to show the simple truth, and the perfect generality, of a new system of pure qualitative logic closely analogous to, and suggested by, the mathematical system of logic of the late Professor Boole, but strongly distinguished from the latter by the rejection of all considerations of quantity. He also said, “The logical abacus leads naturally to the construction of a simple machine which shall be capable of giving with absolute certainty all possible logical conclusions from any sets of propositions or premises read off upon the keys of the instrument.”
When Owens College was first established, the principal of the college was also professor of logic, and the professor of history taught political economy, but it had now been resolved to found a professorship of logic, mental and moral philosophy, and political economy. Mr. Jevons applied for the new chair. It would not only give him a definite position, but enable him to have greater leisure for carrying on his private work, and until the appointment was decided he could not help being very anxious as to the result He was still feeling the effects of overwork; and this, no doubt, made him less cheerful than usual, and more inclined to exaggerate the chances against his appointment than he would otherwise have been. Some years afterwards he said he remembered at this time lying awake night after night until the daylight came, when a dog at a neighbouring house always began to bark. This had the effect of sending him to sleep at once; which he thought a singular fact, as usually the barking of a dog was one of the noises which most irritated his sensitive nerves.
There was never much reason to doubt that he would obtain the appointment; not only had the whole course of his studies prepared him for it, but he had also been undertaking the duties of the professorship for some time, so that his fitness must have been well known to the trustees.
If the uncertainty about the professorship was a cause of deep anxiety, he had much gratification in the attention which the Coal Question was now receiving. Mr. John Stuart Mill drew marked attention to it in Parliament in the speech in which he urged, for the sake of posterity, the present duty of making greater efforts for the reduction of the National Debt. Mr. Gladstone also spoke of the book in Parliament, and seemed disposed to some extent to adopt its conclusions in framing his financial policy. It was discussed in all the leading journals, and from this time Mr. Jevons' position as a writer on applied economics was fully recognised.
In his journal he writes:—
“12th April.—This morning the advertisement appeared opening my coveted professorship to public competition. I have toiled and I have fought my weaknesses, I have hardly left anything undone which in my poor judgment would secure success. Surely the result is not in my hands.
“15th April.—The one thing requisite to me is invincible determination and perseverance. When I think what discouragement I have gone through, I feel sure that the greatest of disappointments cannot permanently shake me.
“20th April.—What is this poor mind of mine, with all its wavering hopes and fears, that its thoughts should be quoted and approved by a great philosopher in the Parliament of so great a nation? Do not grant me intellectual power, O God, unless it be joined to awe of Thee and Thy works, and to an ever-present love of others!”
To his sister Lucy.
9 Birch Grove, 26th April 1866.
“Your letter to me received this morning was very agreeable. I have had very pleasant congratulations from Uncle William, Uncle Timothy, Mary, and others. You will, I daresay, excuse my being a little too full of myself at present It is hard even for me to feel the full meaning of such sudden and complete success. If I had worked ten or twenty years longer, I might have been glad to have got the result I already have got. To gain the reputation of having settled two of the most difficult questions will be no slight aid to me in future.
“Does it not seem strange and incredible that what I was writing in that little cupboard in Rotten Row at Beaumaris should be altering the opinion of the whole country, and even destroying the hopes of the greatest of nations? I distinctly remember thinking in Sydney that if there were one thing I should wish to be, it would be a recognised statistical writer. How strangely my wish has been fulfilled! If I should live long and have as much success in other undertakings, what will come of it? I hardly like to anticipate anything.
“I hope you will not be the least discouraged about your painting. … But you must remember how much time and effort is needed in all matters of this kind. What success I have comes from labouring without cessation from the earliest years I can at all remember. A woman can seldom have the inducement or opportunity to the same constant attention and effort No one can wish that she should. Except under very peculiar circumstances, she should not sacrifice herself and others to it. I think that women are often quite sufficiently admirable in themselves and their characters without accomplishments and works.”
To his sister Lucy.
9 Birch Grove, 9th May 1866.
“… The Coal Question gets on apace. The papers are hammering away about it A member of Parliament is going to move for a Royal Commission to inquire into the whole subject, and there will be one or two debates upon the matter probably. The Times accuses me of misleading Mr. Gladstone. Of course one must be criticised and abused a little. The more one's name is named now, the better for my professorship appointment. I have such strong opinions in favour of the Coal Question, and am so confident that nearly all parts of the book at all events will bear examination, that I am not afraid. I am kept, however, in a state of great excitement and anxiety altogether. I don't really doubt about getting the professorship, but I can't help feeling unsettled and nervous. There are a good many applications, but few of the slightest consequence.
“I feel as if I should be able to do anything when I get £300 a year. I long for a little rest.”
To his brother Herbert.
9 Birch Grove, Rusholme, 13th May 1866.
“Times here are a little lively. Not to speak of an impending European war, we have a commercial panic of a most extraordinary kind, arising from unsound trading and advances by these new banks and finance companies. You will, however, read about it in the papers. It is a little annoying to me, because I have just proved to the Statistical Society that panics ought to come in the autumn. However, I daresay we shall have a pressure then, this year or next, and statistics are peculiarly liable to these sorts of exceptions.
“The Coal Panic, as some of the papers call it, is the most interesting event to me. It gets on very well, as Gladstone has already propounded his plan for paying off the National Debt in part, and urged its adoption on the ground of the coal exhaustion. There is also to be a motion in Parliament for a Royal Commission to investigate the subject, which will, I have no doubt, be appointed. Thus, whether people are ultimately convinced or not, I have gained my end of getting the subject investigated. It would seem that Mill, followed by Gladstone, really frightened the Opposition, composed of old landed fogies who thought their rents would go on rising for centuries to come.
“Thus I have had quite enough fame for the present, and I should not be altogether sorry to retire in safety. It is quite possible that I may get somewhat roasted before long, and I shall have to defend myself, or bear it as best I may. Still, a writer's purpose is to get his opinions discussed, and I suppose I could hardly have had them more prominently brought forward than in Mill's speech and Gladstone's budget.
“Our trustees must, I think, be a little impressed by this time, so that I hope they will not much delay over the appointment to the professorship, but it may be some weeks yet before the matter is settled.”
Mr. Jevons refers in this letter to his paper “On the Frequent Autumnal Pressure of the Money Market and the Action of the Bank of England,” which he had read to the Statistical Society on the 17th April. It was published in the June Number of the Statistical Journal, and in the same journal also appeared “A Brief Account of a General Mathematical Theory of Political Economy,” being the paper which he had sent to the British Association in 1862, and which had not yet been printed.
In his journal he writes:—
“14th May 1866.—The matter of this professorship will be settled by the end of this month. Disappointment, gloom, or despair may often or always be my lot, but I must try for the highest which I feel myself capable of. At the worst it is but one poor life lost, and it may be a great stake gained. If anything should go wrong with this professorship, I have the notion of undertaking a work on the limits and nature of knowledge generally, directed to set at rest the discussion between Mill and Hamilton.
“The last week or two I have had enough of newspaper fame. I know it is no slight thing to be quoted in the budget of a Minister when he announces a change in the policy of the country he leads.
“When I read different parts of this book, and compare them with each other—recent thoughts and feelings with those I had ten or twelve years ago—I cannot help saying how strange it is. What led me to work to an end I knew not, and to hope where there was nothing to hope? And I cannot but ask, Is the future to be constant as the past, and favoured by the like aid from I know not where? What I do cannot be my doing, for I feel too weak for it.”
To his sister Lucy.
9 Birch Grove, Rusholme, 21st May 1866.
“… I write now to say that there is no doubt about the professorship. The committee of trustees had a first meeting last week, and seem to have found that none of the candidates could at all oppose me; and Mr. Greenwood even said in a letter to me in London that there was no need of further trouble. One cannot realise at first how satisfactory this is.
“My visit to London was very gratifying. The visit to Gladstone was especially so, as he was pleasant and communicative—in fact talked so that I could get little in. It is something to make the acquaintance of the leading minister, and who is likely to be even more powerful than he is now.
“When I called on Macmillan, he at once proposed a second edition of the Coal Question, as the last copy was going, and there seemed to be orders on hand. I shall have to work hard to get it ready quickly.”
In his journal he writes:—
“23d May 1866.—After so many entries in this fragmentary record, when I was anxious and dispirited, I should not omit to say that to-day the professorship is practically mine, the committee of trustees having yesterday decided to submit my name only to the general meeting, who will no doubt at once appoint me. I shall now have about £300 a year from the college, and nearly £100 from my own money. What can I not do with it?
“I should not omit a brief mention of my late visit to London. I had a pleasant meeting at University College with old students and others, and gave an account of my abacus. Professor Hirst made an interesting speech, and seemed pleased. De Morgan also, a day or two afterwards, saw it, and allowed that it achieved very well the exclusion of contradictories. My visit to Gladstone, however, was the striking event, which I shall not easily forget—as an author to meet a great minister in the height of his power.
“Some pleasant hours, partly with Mary Catharine Jevons, in the exhibitions, theatres, etc., filled up my time. I am too much rewarded. May I strive doubly hard to use aright whatever power is granted to me.
“31st May 1866.—This afternoon I was finally and positively appointed professor of logic and mental and moral philosophy and Cobden professor of political economy in Owens College, by the trustees in full conclave. Mr. Greenwood asked me into the room, and the chairman, in a short speech, informed me of the appointment, and explained why rules had prevented their making the appointment earlier. I replied in a short but, I suppose, suitable speech, and the thing was done.
“4th June 1866.—I cannot be sufficiently thankful that I have never yet suffered any conspicuous public failure—on the contrary, I have enjoyed almost uniform success. I feel as if I had escaped untold dangers.”
To the Number of Macmillan's Magazine for June Mr. Jevons contributed an article on Mr. Gladstone's financial policy. Towards the end of June he took a much-needed holiday, and after a few days at the English lakes he went on by himself for a tour in Scotland, which he had never before visited.
To his sister Henrietta.
Rowardennan, Sunday evening, 1st July 1866.
“You will probably like to hear how I am getting on, and I have this evening an hour or two to spare: I have not yet been two days in Scotland, and yet I seem to have seen a great part of it—in fact I have literally seen a great part of it to-day, having been to the top of Ben Lomond.
“I reached Glasgow late on Friday night, spent most of Saturday in looking over the town and visiting the Cathedral, College, etc., and in the afternoon came on here ‘to have the Sunday in the country. This morning I went up the mountain, finding the ascent very easy. There were occasional showers of rain and clouds, but between them there was beautifully clear air, so that I could see great distances to the Grampian Mountains, Ben Nevis, the Clyde, and nearly to Edinburgh. The mountains too were beautifully diversified by shade and sunshine. I do not feel sure, however, that the view is so fine as that from Snowdon on a good day. To-morrow I go back to Glasgow by Loch Long; and on Tuesday I shall probably go north to Oban, and see a good many places in the Islands, etc.
“I spent three days with the professors and Nicholson at the Lakes. Our party had a beautiful walk by Langdale, Scawfell Pike, Eskdale, and Coniston. Windermere reminded me of our excursion from Newton three years ago.”
To his sister Lucy.
Waverley Hotel, Inverness, 7th July 1866.
“This is my farthest north point, and to-morrow I shall start homewards. I find Scotch travelling excessively dear. It costs me about thirty shillings a day as I am going now. The steamboats are very dear, and cost often a pound a day for a trip. But the travelling among the lochs and islands on the fine comfortable steamboats is very delightful, and every arrangement is made to allow you to see what you want My best day perhaps was the excursion from Oban to Staffa and Iona and back. The islands on all sides are very beautiful, and unlike almost everything I had seen before. At Staffa we were landed in boats to see the basaltic caves, which were very fine. Again at lona we landed to see the ruins of the chapel cathedral, with the ancient tombs of kings and the crosses, which were highly interesting. I don't know that Saint Columba, who founded the church, was any better than Saint Beuno, and he was not much earlier; but you have not in Wales the ancient tombs and crosses. Yesterday I left Oban in the regular course to visit Glencoe, and then on to the mouth of the Caledonian Canal, where I slept last night at Banavie at the foot of Ben Nevis. Ben looked very grand, with many patches of snow, but I was so prudent as to decline ascending him in the time at my disposal. This morning I came on through the Caledonian Canal. I hope that you will some time visit the west of Scotland, where you would make enchanting views of the islands and lochs.
“I think I can be with you if you are ready to receive me a day. or two before the end of the month.
“I see that the Coal Commission is appointed, with the Duke of Argyll for chairman. I hear from Macmillan that 284 copies of the new edition of the Coal Question were subscribed for by the booksellers on its coming out, and he thinks that the whole edition will sell, so that I shall get some money from it, for a wonder.
“To-morrow I hope to get into the Highlands again by the railway.
“I shall walk through some of the best parts, and then visit Perth, Stirling, Edinburgh, etc.”
To his brother Herbert.
Edinburgh, 15th July 1866.
“I am now drawing towards the end of my tour, which on the whole has been highly successful and agreeable. Sometimes I am rather lonely; at other times I have too much company. I am rather hard to please.
“… From Inverness I came south by the Highland Railway to Blair Atholl, on to Dunkeld, where I spent an evening very amusingly with one of my philosophical correspondents, a most curious Scotchman, slightly turned with metaphysics. Perth and Dundee were my next stopping-places. At St. Andrews I made friends with an old clergyman, who showed me all the antiquities of the place. It is beautifully situated on the shore, and is altogether a pleasant and curious place. Thence to Dunfermline and Stirling. Lastly I got here yesterday, and am amazingly delighted with the Modern Athens. In proportion to its size it must be the handsomest city existing.”
To his sister Lucy.
Durham, Wednesday, 18th July 1866.
“I hardly remember when I last wrote to you; it seems a long time ago. I have been to a great many places since. …
“I was charmed with Edinburgh, the most beautiful city existing, I should think. It looks like a crowd of castles and monuments, or rather like two groups of castles and monuments on two hills, with all manner of fine buildings and gardens disposed between. I found the Manchester Theatre Company playing the Midsummer Night's Dream at Edinburgh just as at Manchester. … I enjoyed the play amazingly, having just read it over a few days before. It seemed to me perfectly suitable for acting, and wonderfully entertaining.
“This morning I went from Newcastle to Monkwearmouth, and called on the manager and viewer of the large and celebrated colliery there. They were very civil, seeming much interested in the Coal Question, which one of them had partly read, while the other was just beginning some experiments for the Royal Commission. They gave me every convenience for looking over the mine to its deepest parts. It was dreadfully hot and oppressive in some places, and the men worked naked. After two or three hours below I came up all grimy, and in a suit of mining clothes, in which you would not have known me.
“The Coal Question seems to sell well in Newcastle. In one shop the man told me they had sold a good few, and had only two copies left At the railway station I took up a copy there, and was much amused by the man saying, ‘Fine work that, sir. The first edition sold off very quick.’ There is a palpable want of truth about the latter part at least which takes away from the first.
“I am pleased with Durham, and the cathedral and castle look grand. I shall stay most of to-morrow here to hear the service, which is said to be very finely performed. Then I go on to York, where I want to see the Minster. On Friday or Saturday I hope to get home to Manchester, after a tour of a most varied character.
“Some time in the following week I hope to be with you at Clynnog; and I shall be glad to rest among friends, after so long coasting about among strangers.”
Mr. Jevons returned to Manchester for the opening of the college session, when he began his duties as professor. On the 12th October he gave the introductory lecture to the session of evening classes, the subject he chose being, “On the Diffusion of a Knowledge of Political Economy.”
In his journal he writes:—
“November 1866.—My introductory lecture to the course of Cobden Lectures has brought some little criticism from the Radicals upon me. I am often troubled, and now more than ever, to know how to reconcile my inclinations in political matters. What side am I to take—one—the other—or can I take both? I cannot consent with the Radical party to obliterate a glorious past, nor can I consent with the Conservatives to prolong abuses into the present. I wish with all my heart to aid in securing all that is good for the masses, yet to give them all they wish and are striving for is to endanger much that is good beyond their comprehension. I cannot pretend to underestimate the good that the English monarchy and aristocracy, with all the liberal policy actuating it, does for the human race, and yet I cannot but fear the pretensions of democracy against it are strong, and in some respects properly strong. This antithesis and struggle, perhaps, after all, is no more than has always more or less existed, but is now becoming more marked. Compromise, perhaps, is the only resource. Those who rightly possess the power in virtue of their superior knowledge must yield up some, that they may carry with them the honest but uncertain wills of those less educated but more numerous and physically powerful.
“14th December 1866.—Some few days ago I began thinking about logic again seriously. I was determined to try whether I could not graft on to my system, as already printed, some extensions which may render it more perfect. After a day or two I suddenly met with what seems to me the great and universal principle of all reasoning, that same things may be treated identically, or that whatever we may say of one member of an identity we may say of the other. All logical processes seem to arrange themselves in simple and luminous order in one's mind the moment it is allowed as self-evident that if we start from the same beginning and pursue similar paths we must get to similar results. It would be worth while to spend years in developing a system of logic on this basis. But can I ever finish such a work? My health seems not to be what it was. I have had indigestion gradually coming on, and I fear to engage in the work I so much love. I am ready, I hope, at any time to yield myself up to Him from whom alone can come the power to achieve any worthy result”
To his brother Herbert.
Beaumaris, 28th December 1866.
“… The three years that I first spent at Owens College tutoring, lecturing, and writing at the same time were undoubtedly too hard, and would have done me up if continued, but my work is now so much more easy, familiar, and congenial, and I have had so many holidays, that I shall be all right for the future, I hope.
“Henny and I are spending the Christmas holidays here with John and Lucy, who found Clynnog too dreary and solitary for the winter, and who were also disturbed by the prevalence of measles and other sickness in the country round and cholera in Carnarvon.
“I have posted you a Times containing some remarks on a letter of mine. I find it easy now to get attention to anything I like to write, and sometimes get a little abuse, but I am already somewhat seasoned to criticism. I feel it to be very necessary to be careful what I write, so as not to fall into any scrape or get shown up in a mistake. One man in the Manchester City News has taken to abusing me systematically every week, to the amusement of the college people and other friends. It is very difficult to know what view to take of the Reform agitation. I am not a democrat, as perhaps you know, and don't much care to adopt popular views to please the mob. However, I don't think any Reform Bill that is likely to pass will really upset our system here, while it may lead to many real improvements.
“I find myself a good deal taken up at present with my college work, with some additional public lectures or papers which I have undertaken; but if nothing else turns up, I shall have the summer pretty clear to go on with more important work.
“The professors have been a good deal engaged of late in elaborating a scheme for rebuilding Owens College, which at present is in a small dingy building in one of the worst parts of the town. We want to raise a great scientific University College in Manchester with all sorts of engineering, mining, and scientific schools. Harry Roscoe is, perhaps, the moving spirit in it, but most of the other professors, especially the new ones, are ardent about it.
“£6000 have already been promised for the engineering school, which is very popular, and will doubtless succeed, but we want altogether some £100,000, which it will not be easy to raise even in Manchester. The beginning, however, is not altogether unpromising, and our present trustees are quite willing to promote the scheme and place it on a more public and important footing. Manchester is a fine place for public spirit It is a kind of metropolis of the manufacturing districts, and I do not know whether there is any place out of London I should prefer to it. Indeed, there is some use and satisfaction in being out of London, and having a somewhat distinct position not involved in the great crowd of competitors in London.”
On 16th January 1867 Mr. Jevons gave a popular lecture “On Coal: Its Importance in Manufactures and Trade;” one of a series of science lectures for the people, which had been established in Manchester that winter under the auspices of the science professors at Owens College. On the 10th April he read a paper at the Manchester Statistical Society “On the Analogy between the Post Office, Telegraphs, and other Systems of Conveyance of the United Kingdom, as regards Government Control;” but his time for private work seems chiefly to have been given to logic during this year.
In his journal he writes:—
“12th March 1867.—Sometimes I am in low spirits now, and distrust my future. I am unsociable, ill-tempered, and feel that I deserve no more than a hermit's life of self-denial and labour. But if I can do so with any safety to my health, I will labour, hoping that the success hitherto accorded me in a less important field will not be wanting in a greater. I excuse myself for writing in this book because I sometimes find it is a wonderful comfort to read over the record of my past hopes and despair, and observe how my hopes have been almost constantly better founded than my despair.”
To his brother Herbert.
9 Birch Grove, 22d April 1867.
“We have now got to the end of our long term, and as our next term is scarcely more than a month long, from Easter falling so late, we may be considered to have killed the work of the half year. To-morrow morning I am going to start with Barker, our mathematical professor, for a few days' walking in the north of Lancashire and the West Riding. He will make a good walking companion, I think; the weather, too, promises fairly. … We propose to visit Clitheroe, Bolton Abbey, Malham, almost reaching the neighbourhood of Ingleton and Thornton, where we stayed before. I feel rather in need of a little walking. I have begun to take more exercise than I used, and am all the better for it In fact, I am quite well again now; but I have always a tendency to overwork myself, and am now getting rather deep into logic again.”
Mr. Jevons spent the first part of the vacation in London, but about the middle of July he went abroad by himself to see the Exhibition at Paris and make a short tour in Belgium and Holland.
To his sister Henrietta.
Hôtel Meyerbeer, Rond Point, Champs Elysées, Paris, Sunday, 21st July 1867.
“The above is my address while I stay in Paris, which will probably be about a week more.
“I spent yesterday at the Exposition, and you cannot imagine anything more wonderful and interesting than the collection of things. Inside, the collection is not very different in appearance from that of the London exhibitions, though far more extensive; but the park outside the building is perhaps the most amusing. Here are an infinity of houses and shops of all nations, where you can see the manufactures carried on, or listen to the music, or taste the peculiar eatables of almost any nation under the sun. It is a sort of place where you can spend the whole day, from early morning till late at night, with a constant succession of new interests or amusements. When you are hungry you can dine to perfection in any style, when you are tired you can sit down to any kind of music—German, Chinese, Turkish, or what you like.
“Tuesday, 23d July.—I am not very fond of writing while I am travelling, there is so much else to do. As I have spent about twelve hours every day in the Exhibition since I got to Paris, I am just a little tired; … but still it is very pleasant being here.
“It is impossible to tell you what there is in the Exhibition, and it would be equally impossible to tell you what there is not. I spent the whole of yesterday in the park or grounds, where the detached exhibitions are, and could not get over more than a fraction. You see the natives of a number of countries living and working in their own houses, or imitations of them.
“Inside the palace a great number of trades, especially the French and Parisian, are carried on. The variety of people one meets is also very curious. Besides crowds of persons of different nations, speaking French or German, there are Italians, Spaniards, Russians, Turks, Chinese, Algerians, Japanese. Strange-looking persons every now and then turn up of unknown nationality. There are the soldiers, too, of many nations, in various picturesque uniforms. The English do not make so much show in some ways as other people, but they seem to be in great favour, and everything is recommended, if possible, as being ‘Anglais.’ The evening entertainments, too, frequently are made up of English songs or amusements of one kind or another, always very foolish.
“I shall go probably on Saturday to Brussels and various towns in Belgium.”
To his sister Lucy.
HôteldeFlandre, Bruges, 1st August 1867.
“It seems so long since I last wrote to any of you that I fear you will think me lost. I am, however, not only all right, but often thinking of you at Clynnog, and I am looking forward to being with you now within ten or fifteen days.
“It seems to me a long time since the holidays began, and, though I have got on better than I expected, it is still very lonely work travelling about by one's self. My travels, however, seem to get pleasanter as I get on. I have at last reached a city which I have for a very long time wished to see, ever since I read a novel called the Merchant of Bruges, or something like that. I have not yet seen the town, however, having only got here just at dark, but I expect an interesting day to-morrow. To-morrow I also expect to get to Ghent, or Gand, as they call it here; the next day to Antwerp; and then, if my purse holds out, I suppose I must take some of the Dutch towns before making my voyage homewards.
“I had a fine day to-day in the old town of Tournai, which is something like Bruges on a smaller scale, but with a much finer cathedral. It is in fact a splendid and most interesting old church, and I saw it fully and to advantage. I had an interesting sight, too, of the sacristy, with the plate, and jewels, and curiosities, and especially the vestments belonging to the church. There was a vast sort of cabinet full of the finest vestments, in number between fifty and one hundred I should think, all covered with the most splendid gold embroidery, and from all ages up to 300 years. The day before was chiefly occupied in a visit to the Field of Waterloo. Perhaps you will remember my father often speaking of his visit to this part of the Continent and to Waterloo shortly after the battle of Waterloo.
“I spent one day and two nights at Brussels, which is a pleasant clean little town, but by no means striking to one just come from Paris.”
To his brother Herbert.
9 Birch Grove, 25th September 1867.
“I am now glad to, feel settled at home after a long holiday. Some way or other I am sick of travelling about, and wish for nothing so much as to be settled at home. It is yet, however, some ten or twelve days before the session begins. There are already some signs that the classes will be well filled this year.
“I am now much engaged upon the construction of my logical machine. I have found a young clockmaker in Salford, who has begun this week to work for me at thirty-five shillings a week. It will be necessary for me to go there almost every day to see that he is getting on right. I find it necessary to have each step of the work done separately, in order that I may see whether I have planned everything rightly. I think it will certainly be done before Christmas, and I intend to send it to the Royal Society with a complete paper on the subject.
“I am not sure whether I have written to you since my continental travels to Paris and through Belgium and Holland, but I can hardly undertake to tell you of what I saw. The Paris Exhibition was very interesting, though rather hard work; and in fact, before I got home, I managed to do myself up pretty completely, and find myself now immensely better for a little quiet work at home.
“I have now made it a habit to walk about three hours a day, and as much as eight or even ten miles, and I take work in very moderate quantities, so that I can hardly fail to be well.”
To his brother Herbert.
Owens College, 23d October 1867.
“I have a special reason for writing to you by this mail, as I have to tell you of my engagement to marry Harriet Taylor, the sister of Fred's wife. You have more than once advised me in your letters to take a step of this kind; and the fact is that, for some years past, ever since I had a fair prospect of an income, I have felt myself impelled towards it by every motive that ought to influence me. I have always been, more than any one, I think, in need of a wife and a quiet domestic life; and, to all appearances, I have now secured these great benefits. …
“I cannot look back upon the last eight years, since I came from Australia, nor indeed upon my earlier life, without feeling what a great deal I have to be thankful for, as everything seems ultimately to turn out as I should wish it.
“When I went to London for the second time I had everything to get, and no definite prospects whatever. No one can be fully aware what extreme anxiety and low spirits I frequently suffered, and what moderate and slow success I expected in the end. The life, of which I have now a prospect in Manchester, is perhaps as happy and suitable a one for me as I could easily imagine; and, if it may only last for a moderate lifetime, I feel confident that I can do all that I ever imagined to myself.”
In his journal he writes:—
“19th November 1867.—A great change has come over my prospects, and I cannot express sufficiently the thankfulness I have felt at my happy prospects of marriage. I know now how right I was in thinking that the love of a wife, and the tranquillity of a home, were needful to me, if only to enable me to work better than before.
“I have always feared that I could hardly marry without sacrificing objects which have hitherto almost filled my soul. But, to my delight, Harriet is far from jealous of ‘my old love,’ my work. She promises to aid it, to join in it, to esteem it as her own, and to find a pride and gratification in it. Her good sense is surpassed only by her affection. From the bottom of my heart I thank my God for what seems to me sure to fill up my cup of usefulness and happiness in this world. Now, indeed, I have much to work for. It is new to me to feel that another's happiness is in my hands, and that I can make her happiness. I have not hitherto felt that the greatest efforts at kindness and sociability which I could make, appreciably added to others' happiness; with her it is far different.
“I have not much else to record. My mind was so unsettled during the summer that I found myself almost incapable of work. I spent the vacation first in London, in intolerable solitude—then for ten days at the Paris Exposition; then in Holland and in Belgium for a week or two. On getting back to Manchester I set rather hard to work at my new logic, reading a good deal for it and advancing well. I also commenced the final designs for my reasoning machine, and advertised for its construction. Just before the commencement of the session irresistible circumstances led me to the happy step which I hope will bring about my marriage this day month. Since then I have had a press of engagements, not unnaturally; to add to which I found it necessary to undertake a new course in political economy and statistics, to raise my afternoon class to more fair proportions, in which, at great cost of trouble, I have partially succeeded, having now seven students in place of two or three in previous years. This has led me temporarily to substitute statistical for logical work. My machine has struggled forward as best it could under constant interruption, and I much fear now that much of it must be reconstructed before it can work properly.”
On the 19th of December 1867 Mr. Jevons married Harriet Ann, third daughter of the late John Edward Taylor, Esq., of Manchester, founder and proprietor of the Manchester Guardian newspaper. The marriage took place at the Unitarian Chapel at Altrincham, near Manchester.