Reference numberMS/756/69
TitleDraft letter from Michael Foster, Burlington House to Lords [?]
Date12 June 1884
DescriptionInforms that his letter relating to the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures had been carefully considered by the president and Council of the Royal Society. Assures him that the Royal Society fully recognizes and appreciates the desire of the Lords to meet the demands made, from time to time, for expenditure on scientific objects, and in return presses upon the attention of the Lords those objects which the Society judges to be fully worthy of the aid of the State. Acknowledges that the Lords's difficulties seem to be partly of a financial character, and partly due to an unwillingness on the part of Her Majesty's government to take any step which might be construed as a formal adhesion to the metric system. Refers to the financial questions expressed by the Lords and explains the side of the Royal Society and the Bureau, and the importance of accuracy in measurements from a scientific and commercial and educational points of view. Mentions the ability of the Bureau to determine and verify standards of all kinds, and therefore ensure an attainment of accuracy impossible at present in the country. Highlights that if the country decides not to join the Bureau it will have to undertake independent verifications of its metric standards, and for this to be done properly - which commerce no less than science demands - the cost will probably amount to several thousand pounds; but that upon joining the Bureau they will be responsible for verifications, proving that the proposal cannot be regarded as disadvantageous. Believes that it is impossible for the country to join the Bureau without becoming a party to the Metric Convention, as the Bureau is merely an agent of the Comission Internationale du Mètre. States that if the country accepts it will no longer be in an isolated, undesirable position, and would secure the great advantages of belonging to the convention. Mentions the connection between the metric system and the meridian of Greenwich, which has force in other countries, and that if the country joined the metric convention, it would facilitate the adoption of the meridian of Greenwich at the approaching Washington convention.
Physical descriptionPaper
Access statusOpen
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