GENTLEMEN: I beg leave to tender you my sincere thanks for the honor you have conferred upon me by inviting me to preside at the farewell banquet to Professor Tyndall. I need scarcely say that it would give me great pleasure to be with you on that interesting occasion, although I would prefer not to occupy the place your partiality would assign to me, since I fear I should not be able, from want of experience, to do justice to so conspicuous a position.
I regret, however, to have to inform you that my official duties in Washington, at this season of the year, are such as to render it improper for me to be absent for even a single day; and, although I deeply sympathize with you in the objects of the banquet, I am obliged very reluctantly to forego the pleasure and profit of accepting your kind invitation.
The objects of this banquet, as I understand them, are, first, to do honor to our illustrious visitor, who has generously devoted so much time and labor to gratify his friends and the public in this country with a course of lectures; and, second, to advocate the claims of abstract science to higher appreciation and more liberal support. In regard to these topics I ask permission to indulge in a few remarks which may not be deemed inappropriate to the occasion. Dr. Tyndall is eminently worthy of all the attention he has received from the people and press of this country, and all the expressions of kindness and regard we can now bestow upon him. As Professor of Physics in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, he is the worthy successor of a
- Letter to the Committee of Arrangements of the Farewell Banquet to Professor Tyndall, at Delmonico's, New York, February 4, 1873.