Humphry Davy [1778-1829] Cornish chemist and inventor, mentor of Michael Faraday. No date, marked 'Tuesday', addressed to John Knowles, [Clerk to the Navy Office]. His letter regarding arrangements on his researches into the copper sheathing of ships' hulls. Dear Sir, I had made all my arrangements for this visit to Sheerness.The Bishop of Carlisle was to take the chair of the Royal Society & I have refused a dinner invitation for Friday. Next week on the contrary I have made engagements which I shall find it difficult to break as they are connected with some important business. I hope Sir Robt may be well enough to go. I was at the Navy Board this morning & had I known of the continuation of his indisposition I would have called. Could I not do the business alone if Sir Robert continues indisposed - Pray let me know by tomorrow morning what his ultimate decision is. I think we need not leave London till 10 Thursday & the change of air in a close carriage will perhaps do him good, I am Dear sir very sincerely yours H. Davy. The Bishop of Carlisle, Samuel Goodenough was a respected botanist and Vice President of the Royal Society. The letter must date from the period from 1822 when Davy had been tasked by the Navy Board to look into the copper sheathing applied to the hull of Royal Navy ship which was deteriorating due to the contact with seawater. 'Sir Robt' must refer to Sir Robert Seppings, Surveyor of the Navy, who supported Davy's researches. Davy, assisted by Faraday attached 'sacrificial' iron or zinc to the copper, which did indeed protect the copper, but which had the side effect of promoting 'fouling', i.e. barnacles and weeds which affected the ships' handling. Good condition, top edge of second leaf with slight paper abrasion, discreetly reinforced with conservation tape, small loss of paper where originally opened, wax seal remains.
Author Humphry Davy, Cornish scientist
Date c. 1822