To William Whewell   14 August 1831


14 August 1831

My dear Whewell,

I grieve to say that your informant's account of poor Ramsay was but too true– It was on the morning after you left Cambridge that I received a black seal from the town where he was & on opening the letter found all my fears realized– It contained an account from his Sister of his last movements in this world written the day after his death–

He had been gradually getting weaker, but neither his Family nor his medical attendants anticipated a fatal termination to his distemper till within 24 hrs of his dissolution– when he became delirious– He however recovered his composure before he died & expired without pain– He had been taking mercury for his hair was affected & had considered his great debility to be owing to this medicine.

We have thus a gap formed in our Cambridge circle which can not easily be restored. One great and happy consolation it is to us all to remember the excellence & worth of his character–which was as faultless as usually falls to the lot of the best among us–even the very best.

I knew more of his private sentiments than most men & I would not wish to possess more sincere faith & hope than that which sustained him– & when I die, I pray that my end may be like his– I have had the melancholy task of arranging his affairs or rather am still employed in this office. His Brothers Edd. & Wm & his Sister are left in possession of his effects, but neither of them can conveniently come down. You are not likely to know any thing of his affairs– if you sd. or should know by chance of any books belonging to him which he may have lent pray inform me–

I left Harriet & the Children at Bottisham yesterday–

Believe me ever most sincerely | J S Henslow

Please cite as “HENSLOW-184,” in Ɛpsilon: The Correspondence of John Stevens Henslow accessed on 21 September 2021,