Reference numberNLB/3/246
Alternative reference numberNLB/3 p130-145
TitleCopy letter from Michael Foster, to Sir Reginald Welby, Her Majesty's Treasury
Date17 April 1889
DescriptionFoster is able to inform Welby that the "Challenger" Committee of the Royal Society have held the interview with Mr Murray, and consequently find:

The three volumes of memoirs, zoological, physical and on deep-sea deposits, remain to be issued. Murray states them to be well advanced and partially in type, but unlikely to go to press far before end of the financial year 1889-1890. The various causes for delay are not given but noted as not being ones for which Murray may be held responsible. The 'vigour and energy' of Murray in managing the report is noted and so Foster asks that the delay be considered unavoidable.

The 'Summary' of the results of the expedition has yet to be written.

That the specimens and materials have yet to be collected from the various authors who used them, and after the distribution of duplicates, are to be deposited in the British Museum. As these may need to be referred to in preparing the "Summary", the disposal of them ought be considered one of 'the last acts of the executive of the report'. The question of the "Summary", part of the original plan for the report, is considered, with the Committee strongly of the opinion that it is a crucial part of the report, without which it would appear incomplete and believe it cannot be entrusted to anyone apart from Murray, who through his knowledge and involvement can be trusted to write a suitable conclusion. Further, they object to Murray's proposal that the "Summary" be on his account and at his expense, due to the difficulties of this work without access to the illustrations published in the separate memoirs of the report, though Foster is sure the Treasury would not wish to prevent Murray from accessing material on which he has worked for so many years. At least a year will be needed to complete the remaining memoirs, during which time Murray will be under the employment of the Commission, even if he were writing the "Summary" as a private enterprise, so they have asked for an estimate from Murray for the money required to see thrugh the remaining work. The sum given is 1600 pounds, with 1100 of this as the year's expenses independent of the "Summary", with 500 pounds for the rental of their Edinburgh office and expenses associated with the "Summary". The proposal is noted as having the 'nature of a bargain' and the advantage of 'possessing the character of finality', with no further applications for additional funds.

Foster ventures that the Treasury is as keen as the Royal Society to see the report completed in its previous manner, and note the "Summary" expenses as a small part of the estimate, with its sales likely to exceed that of any volume of memoirs. Foster again emphasises the importance of not dissociating the "Summary" from the rest of the report, and recommends the acceptance of Murray's proposal. Should it make the Treasury more comfortable, they could make the 1600 pounds a subsidy to the Society, who would be responsible to Murray to make the payments, and to the Treasury for the proper expenditure of that money.
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