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The Rede Lecture at Cambridge

Nature volume 5, page 9 | Download Citation



ONE of the indirect results of university reform has been the establishing at Cambridge of the Rede Lecture, one of the highest intellectual treats of the whole year, as will at once be acknowledged when the names of the distinguished persons who have delivered it since its establishment in 1858 are known —viz., Professors Owen, Phillips, Max Müller, Willis, Ansted, Airy, Tyndall, Miller, Ruskin, Huggins, General Sabine, Sir W. Thomson, and Mr. Norman Lockyer. For many years past there had been certain lecturers at various colleges, whose duty it was to deliver lectures on mathematics, philosophy, rhetoric, and logic; but in 1858 the endowments for these lectures (originally given in 1524 by Sir Robert Rede, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in the reign of Henry VII.) were amalgamated, and the result has been the delivery once a year of the Rede Lecture by some distinguished man of science chosen by the Vice-Chancellor for the time being. Such is the history of the benefaction; but it must now be added that as the remains of this distinguished man lie in a village church in Kent, that of Chiddingstone, near Eden Bridge, in which parish he lived and died, without a memorial or inscription of any kind over his grave, it is proposed to do for him what Cicero did for the unhonoured grave of Archimedes, and an effort is, therefore, being made to mark his place of burial by erecting a window of stained glass in the chancel that he built. The cost of the memorial, with suitable inscription, cannot be less than 160l., but nearly 70l. has been raised by subscriptions from the distinguished persons who have delivered the lecture, and by other friends, members of the university and otherwise—viz., the Earls of Powis, Derby, and Strathmore, the Vice-Chancellor, the Masters of Jesus and Clare Colleges, the Provost of King's, Professors Selwyn and Sedgwick, Mr. Beresford-Hope, M.P., Sir John Lubbock, M.P., the Public Librarian, Rev. W. H. Latham, and J. Brocklebank, with many others; but the amount thus subscribed, together with the local effort, is inadequate for the full completion of the memorial, and it is hoped that there will be some others who will be willing to help on the work. Mr. Norman Lockyer, F.R.S., the present holder of the office of Rede Lecturer, has kindly consented to receive subscriptions at 6, Old Palace Yard, Westminster.

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