BABBAGE, Charles, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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BABBAGE, Charles (1791-1871). Mathematician and computer pioneer.
Autograph Letter Signed to an unnamed correspondent ('My dear Sir'), 1½ pages 4to, Dorset Street, Manchester Square, 7 June 1838. Asking him to use his own judgement ('I at least shall never urge you'), and that they would need consult books and papers when they meet.

'I cannot readily suppose you have forgotten me nor do I wish at all to do more than give you every information you think requisite when you can act effectively must be left entirely to circumstances and your own judgement and I at least shall never urge you. Most probably it will be desireable that I should be able to refer to books and papers when I see you & therefore I do not offer to visit you at Mortlake.
  I am almost always at home until twelve - and will be so for the next three days certainly. But if you sleep in town will you come and eat a beafsteak with me either on Tuesday at six or at any hour you will fix or else on Thursday. My house is undergoing a repair and I have only one habitable room or I would offer you a bed. I have two other subjects of which I wish to say a word. ...'
Dorset St / Manc[heste]r S[quar]e / 7 January 1838.

Babbage had a very large circle of friends and acquaintances who were frequent visitors to his house, where they were able to examine and admire the various examples of the analytical and difference engines. They included William Charles Macready, a particularly close friend, who recorded in 1840 that 'David Colden came into my room and accompanied me Babbage's, where I saw Sydney Smith, Professor [Charles] Wheatstone, the Brockendens, two or three whom I knew but by name, Harness [probably William Harness, 1790-1869, literary scholar], Travers [probably Benjamin Travers, 1783-1858, surgeon], Hawes [probably Sir Benjamin Hawes, 1797-1862, politician and I.K Brunel's brother-in-law], Lady Stepney [Catherine Stepney, 1778-1845, novelist], Dr Arnott [Neil Arnott, 1788-1874, physician], Milman [probably Henry Hart Milman, 1791-1868, historian and dean of St Paul's], the Bishop of Norwich [Edward Stanley, 1779-1849] ... [on another occasion] Talfourd came into my room ... Dickens came, and we went in his carriage, all three to Babbage's.' (Quoted in Charles Babbage, Pioneer of the Computer, by Anthony Hyman, 1982, pages 178-9). Babbage is known to have corresponded with most these.
[No: 25574]

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