Letter from Charles S. Peirce to Carlile P. Patterson
(Paris, 08.12.1875)

Spanish translation & annotations
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Paris, Avenue Matignon 11
1875 Dec. 8

C. P. Patterson Esq
Superintendent U. S. Coast Survey
etc. etc.
D. C. America

Dear Sir

I have now received yours of the 20th &24th of November, as well as your telegram of the 7th. All this relieves my mind very greatly and I am extremely obliged to you.

I always rejected the idea that my address was not in your office, whenever it occurred to me, because when I left I am sure I left it. Care of McCulloch & Co 41 Lombard Street London, and that continues to be my address till further notice. I have received all your letters directed to 184 Boulevard Haussmann, & your telegram so directed, but no letter addressed to a Poste Restante as I never made inquiry there. The fact is that I have received from time to time official letters from Mr. Hilgard and one from Mr. Hawkins and, therefore, I thought I had the demonstration that my address was known. It shows how a man may fret for months about something without discovering the source of the difficulty.

My business I am sorry to say has not gone well. As I wrote to you, I engaged Turretini, the director of the Société Genèvoise to make me a vacuum apparatus, and stand for the pendulum.

At his desire I left the pendulum with him to save him the trouble of working from drawings. Finally as the vacuum apparatus did not arrive I concluded to send to him for the pendulum and begin experiments with the old stand, but when it came I found that it had been put into the box with the heavy end where the light end should be and that in consequence of the supports not coming right the pendulum had been bent. I had also requested Turretini to engrave on the pendulum itself certain horizontal scales to measure the arc of vibration. Instead of doing so, he had affixed with screws vertical scales. The screw holes of course destroy any comparison between Geneva and any other place in the way of considering the pendulum as invariable. I further found that in taking out the knife edges to affix these scales (or otherwise) –the knife edge being removable in this instrument- he had turned the edges of both. I put the pendulum onto a lathe which I found at Breguet’s in order to make sure of its being bent & found it was so by a millimetre. I then took it to Brunner and after some reluctance he consented to undertake the restoration of it. It will take about a month.

I have written a very severe letter to Turretini but have not decided to send it as it will not help me out of my difficulties and may only have the effect of making him throw up the other work which would lead to further delays.

I have occupied the month with my book, and with computations.


The results of the eight days upon which I chiefly rely in Geneva, are very nearly got out, and I shall be able to send them to you shortly. The whole report on Geneva will I hope be completed before my pendulum comes from Brunner’s.

In your letter addressed to Berlin, you call for an official report of my work for the last year. As it is now so late I take it that some further delay will be of no consequence.

In regard to drawing for money, I don’t think that will now be necessary as your letter to Berlin, the signed copy of which I have, will I suppose afford me all the credit I need.

I am exceeding obliged to you for the thousand dollars you have added and am sure that it will be worth while for I feel that my stay in Europe is making a more valuable officer of me. I understand pendulums much better than I did & I also know how much others know about it, which gives me confidence. I have a plan for doing up New England rapidly, which I will give you in another letter.

I am much encouraged by your letters and write to you agin, soon.

Yours very truly &respectfully

C. S. Peirce



Transcription by Max Fisch, revised by Sara Barrena (2013)
Una de las ventajas de los textos en formato electrónico respecto de los textos impresos es que pueden corregirse con gran facilidad mediante la colaboración activa de los lectores que adviertan erratas, errores o simplemente mejores transcripciones. En este sentido agradeceríamos que se enviaran todas las sugerencias y correcciones a sbarrena@unav.es
Proyecto de investigación "Charles S. Peirce en Europa (1875-76): comunidad científica y correspondencia" (MCI: FFI2011-24340)

Fecha del documento: 18 de noviembre 2013
Última actualización: 18 de noviembre 2013
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