Faraday to Joseph Henry   28 April and 2 May 1851

Royal Institution | April 28, 1851

My dear Henry

The instant that I received your letter I applied to an Architect whom we employ Mr. Vulliamy to make me the necessary drawings of our Lecture room. I have only just received them. I do not know what has occasioned the delay but I could not help it. Why did you not come over yourself & see the room & hear in it; & if needful speak in it (we should have been very glad to listen to you) so that you might have been well able to judge of your own knowledge how far it was worthy to suggest any thing or serve for imitation in your own great room? We should have been very glad to see you for we have not forgotten the pleasure we received at Your last visit1.

Besides the Exhibition is coming on & though I am very little moved or excited by such things yet it would have been pleasant to see you here for any reason and as it is we do expect a number of very good things from your Country which we reckon also as half ours[.]

I wonder whether I shall ever see America - I think not - the progress of years tells & their effect on me is to blot out many a fancy which in former days I thought might perhaps work up into realities - and so we fade away. Well I have had & have a very happy life at home nothing should make me regret that I cannot leave it & indeed when the time for decision comes - home always has the advantage[.] Mrs. Faraday wishes to be kindly remembered to you[.] We look at your face painted in light by Mayall2 & I dare say it is like He & nature together have made you look very comfortable & I suspect that we have both altered much since last we saw each other[.] My wife mourns with half mimic half serious countenance over my changes & chiefly that a curly head of hair has become a mere unruly grisly mop. I think that is on the whole the worst part of the change that 60 years nearly have made[.]

And now having scratched this letter I merely wait for the Architects charge which is <-> and shall then send it & the drawing off.

Ever My dear Henry | Most truly Yours | M. Faraday

Prof. Joseph Henry | &c &c &c

2 May. I have just obtnd the bill 5.16.6 which I have enclosed | Yours Ever MF

Address: Professor Joseph Henry Esq | &c &c &c | Smithsonian Institution | Washington | United States

In 1837. See Reingold and Rothenberg et al. (1972-99), 3 passim.
John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1810-1901, Reingold and Rothenberg et al. (1972-99), 6: 418). American photographer who spent most of his life in England.