Letter by H C Russell, 15 December 1890

Letter by H C Russell, 15 December 1890
Letter by H C Russell, 15 December 1890


15th Dec 1890

Dear Mr Scott

I am sending you an interviewers report of a talk with Wragge a few days since I thought you would like to see It as an instance of the way to work a reviewer. The assumptions of authority and originality in working the Pacific Islands is charming seeing that you have been so long in that field and that I and others have been trying for 20 years past to get something done. without much success I grant you. but the reason is very obvious – the Climate is so enervating that Europeans get too lazy for meteorological observations.

We have sent instruments to Fiji Noumea Lord Howe and New Guinea and all the observers gave up excepting Lord Howe. On Tanna New Hebrides the Revd W Gray Missionary has some instruments of his own and sends his observations to me regularly. I do not know if you are aware that Capt Wharton Hydrographer is trying and with success to get the Tides recorded at some of the Islands and I have been lending a hand by getting the recording Tidegauges made here at moderate cost.

I dare say you have heard of Egeson’s departure. he got so insubordinate when his big draught did not come off that I was obliged to report him and he was dismissed.

He went on September 4. Since then I have not seen him. but am told he is going to publish a great weather almanac with detailed predictions for a year which I have no doubt an intelligent public at least that section of it; blessed with a full share of credulity will eagerly buy and pin their faith on.

In spite of the three years drought we are having the finest season for many years some say for 40 years. In Sydney we have had 80 inches or rain an amount never, but once exceeded in the 50 years over which our records extend.

Abercrombie is still here and is far from well. And recently I have had two visits from Douglas Archibald who is ……….. ………… upon Edison’s Phonograph-

Yours very truly
H C Russell

P.S. I have just received the second lot of thermometers 30 maximums. The first lot containing maximum & minimum was to have been delivered a month since but although the bill of lading came to hand by post when the steamer got there the thermometers were nowhere to be found. I suppose they had been left behind at the Docks. The 30 maxes are in first rate condition.

2 responses to “Letter by H C Russell, 15 December 1890

  • Tanna it is.

    Tanna is an island of modern day Vanuatu, formerly known as the New Hebrides.

    Capt. Wharton hydrographer is Sir William James Lloyd Wharton (1843 – 1905), Royal Navy, Knight Hydrographer of the Admiralty, Fellow of the Royal Society. Wharton appears to have corresponded and shared samples and information with many of the prominant scientists, naturalists, astronomers and meteorologists of his time.

    (see an example of Wharton’s work in the NLA here: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn3060229 )

    In the Post Script, it reads ” … but although the bill of lading came to hand by post … ”

    A bill of lading is a receipt for goods shipped. However in this case it was inaccurate.

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