BIRTH OF THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION
PHILLIPS, John (1800–1874), geologist. Autograph letter signed to an unnamed correspondent, 2 sides, 4to, 10 Nov 1833, regarding reports of the British Association: "Mr. Harcourt has no doubt written to you to express the thanks of our Council on behalf of the Y P Society for the very agreeable donation of a handsomely bound copy of the Reports 1 & 2 of the British Association" adding that "the universal sentiment of our members, is entirely in harmony with my own, viz that the sooner the association can favor York with a second visit the more delightful to us will be the duty of receiving them".
He goes on to report on further reports saying he has "not heard a word from Mr. R Taylor since I sent him Mr. J Taylor’s & Lindleys Reports to commence the Volume. Neither I believe has Mr. Harcourt ............. I take for granted that the press is at work, & that the authors of their Reports have been employed in revising their labours. Mr. H sent him Henry’s Report (the 3d in plan) & I have two more ready to be forwarded besides Christie’s. He may therefore be encouraged to lose no time, or rather to press on very diligently – The last Report in our Series /Peacock’s/ will be ready instanter". Strip of paper on reverse margin from an old album mount.
John Phillips was appointed the first Keeper of the Museum of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society (YPS) in 1825. As the right-hand man of the YPS founder William Vernon Harcourt, Phillips took a leading part in 1831 in organizing at York the first meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Next year he was appointed its assistant secretary, an office he held for thirty years. As administrator of the Association's meetings and editor of its Reports he made many contacts usually denied to the isolated provincial, and in 1834 was elected FRS and was appointed to the chair of geology at King's College, London. (ODNB). The first published reports appeared in 1833 as "Report of the first and second meetings of the British Association for the advancement of science : at York in 1831 and at Oxford in 1832".
The second half of the letter refers to reports being gathered for publication relating to the 3rd British Association meeting, which took place in Cambridge in 1833. References to authors in the letter include the botanist John Lindley; the experimental philosopher Samuel Hunter Christie; and the mathematician George Peacock, all of whom had delivered highly important lectures at the Cambridge meeting.