NASMYTH, James Hall (1808–1890), mechanical engineer. Autograph letter signed to Cundell, 8vo, 1 side plus integral blank, Penhurst, Kent, Oct 31st 1882, expressing his grief that he is "not to be able to be present and pay my last sad tribute to the remains of the Dear departed "most worthy Master"! It must be some consolation to all whom he was so Dear that he departed without Pain after his long and happy and admirable life. We shall never meet with his like again".
Nasmyth's letter refers to the death of George Cundell (1798-1882), a scientist, pioneering photographer and politician, and is possibly addressed to one of Cundell's surviving brothers. Nasmyth refers fondly to Cundell in his 'autobiography' compiled by Samuel Smiles in 1883: 'Among my most intelligent private friends in London were George Cundell and his two brothers. They resided near my lodgings, and I often visited them on Saturday evenings. They were most kind, gentle, and genial ....... George was agent for Mr. Patrick Maxwell Stuart in connection with his West India estates ........ My special friend George was known amongst us as "the worthy master." He was thoroughly versed in general science, and was moreover a keen politician. He had the most happy faculty of treating complex subjects, both in science and politics, in a thoroughly common-sense manner ........ With companions such as these, gi ith a variety of tastes, I spent many of my Saturday evenings most pleasantly and profitably. They were generally concluded with a glass of beer of "the worthy master's" own brewing.'