Michael Faraday's Correspondence - Volume six

1860-1867, undated and newly discovered letters 3874-5053

Volume 6

This final volume, in which just over 80% of the letters are previously unpublished, covers Faraday's life from 1860 to his death in 1867. Also published here are letters that could not be dated and letters that should have been included in volumes one to five but which had not been located when those volumes were published. The dominant topic of the 1860s (covered in nearly 40% of the letters) is Faraday's involvement with the lighthouse service relating in particular to his advice to Trinity House and the Board of Trade on matters such as electric light and the contraversial issue of fog signals. Also detailed is the complex process by which his various posts were transferred to John Tyndall. Similar issues existed with Faraday's gradual withdrawal from his duties at the Royal Institution, including the misguided attempt to make him President. And of course, running through many of the letters are comments on his declining health and impending death.

Major correspondents included the Astronomer Royal G.B. Airy, the Secretary of Trinity House PH Berthon, the Birmingham glassmaker JT Chance, the Assistant Secretary of the Board of Trade TH Farrer, the German mathematician Julius Plücker, the Cambridge trained mathematical natural philosophers James Clerk Maxwell, George Gabriel Stokes and William Thomson, Faraday's colleagues at the Royal Institution Henry Bence Jones, John Tyndall and Benjamin Vincent,  the Swiss chemist Christian Schoenbein and the astronomer James South.