[ T.H. Huxley; Printed ] Questionnaire from the Birmingham Philosophical Society, printed., with Huxley's responses to questions in manuscript and with signature "Thomas H. Huxley".

Author: 
Thomas H. Huxley, biologist [ T.H. Huxley; H.W.Crosskey, geologist ]
Publication details: 
July 24th, 1886.
£1,500.00
SKU: 17953

In a difficult hand, with some autograph corrections.. Questionnaire from the Birmingham Philosophical Society, 'Translation of Scientific Memoirs' Committee, 2pp., 4to, detached from the printed, explanatory letter from H.W. Crosskey (not present), some sunning, chipping (loss of one letter) and marking, fair condition. The absent Printed Letter, p.[1], from H.W. Crosskey, had explained what the questionnaire is for ("Action for the Translation and Publication of Foreign Scientific Memoirs" to be put to the attention of the British Association). The questionnaire comprises four questions, with a final section headed "Remarks", the questions being, "1."Do you think it advisable that steps should be taken to secure the systematic translation and publication in English of all the more important foreign scientific memoirs; 2. If so [advisable] would the work be best accomplished: (a) by the formation of a Special Society or Committee for dealing with memoirs on all subjects; or (b) by the formation of separate Societies or Committees each dealing with one particular branch of science; or (c) by urging the existing scientific Societies to undertake the translation of the memoirs with which they are most nearly concerned? | 3. Would it be necessary, in your opinion, to translate memoirs in the French language? | 4. Should the work of translation be done voluntarily, or be paid for by a small fee; the name of the translator in either case being attached to his work?" Section 5 is headed "Remarks" (verso).Huxley answers Question 1. With a simple "Yes". For question 2. He points out that "The existing scientific Societies (in London at any rate) have quite as much to do as their Funds will permit at present. I am disposed to think that a [?] should be [contrived?] - a being subdivided into as many b.s as may be required.Question 3 answer: "No- It costs so little trouble to learn enough French to read scientific articles, that translation would be a mere encouragement to laziness - But since people cannot learn enough German […]Question 4 answer: Translators should be paid, he says, and names attached. There should be a General Editor to ensure "literary quality". He rails against the influence of germanised style ("the pollution of English").Remarks: "I speak from experience a a translator who began very badly and had to take infinite trouble to amend his ways[..]". He suggests the usefulness of translating memoirs from Slavonic/Russian. An eye kept on Russian science would be "a great boon".Questionnaire's filled out by others also available: Francis Darwin, Francis Galton, A.S. Herschel, , F.R. Japp, and Oliver Lodge. See: With C. Davison) On the need of combined action for the translation and publication of foreign scientific memoirs. Birmingham Philosophical Society. Proceedings., 5 (1885-87), 111-114. Also: "Report of the committee, consisting of Dr. H.W. Crosskey, Dr. W.A. Tilden, Prof. J.H. Poynting, Mr. R. Levett, Mr. E.F.J. Love, and Mr. C. Davison (secretary) : appointed to communicate with the Corresponding Societies Committee of the British Association on The need of combined action for the translation and publication of foreign scientific memoirs : and to take such further steps in the matter as they may consider desirable." (Birmingham UNiversity Library.) Note: A copy of the report based on this and other completed questionnaires, apparently the only one recorded, is at the National Library of Medicine (Bethesda, USA) . Despite valiant efforts (including being one hour's drive away) I have been unable to see it, or secure a copy: " Report presented by the council to the annual meeting of members, held in the library of the Medical Institute,October 8, 1885. [Birmingham Philosophical Society (Birmingham, England)]. See other completed questionnaires (Galton, Huxley, Francis Darwin, etc) in my skus 17953-7.