London:: Charles & Edwin Layton, 1849.. 8vo. xvi, 309 pp. Tables. Original blind-stamped brown cloth, by Lewis (binders ticket at rear); rebacked, new spine label. Fine. Inscribed by the translator Olinthus Gregory Downes, To J.J. Sylvester Esq, F.R.S., with the translators best respects. Bookplate of Percy Alexander MacMahon (engraved by C.M. Patt, R.E. 1904). Bookplate of the Francis Galton Laboratory; initials of Florence Nightingale David, 1945. REMARKABLE PROVENANCE. First edition in English, originally issued in Brussels, 1846. This is a translation of Lettres à S.A.R. le duc régnant de Saxe-Cobourg et Gotha sur la théorie des probabilités, appliquée aux sciences morales et politiques. This book is really an original, if elementary, treatise on probability and social statistics, written in the form of a series of letters to the Belgian kings two nephews, Ernest (the duke to whom the book was dedicated) and Albert (who by 1846 was husband to Queen Victoria of Great Britain). Quetelet had tutored the two in the 1830s, and in writing his book as a series of letters he was adopting a form that had been used with great success by Euler in 1768, with Letters to a German Princess, a popular exposition of physical science. – Stigler, History of Statistics, p. 206. ¶ PROVENANCE: James Joseph Sylvester (1814-1897), British mathematician, Fellow of the Royal Society, made fundamental contributions to matrix theory, invariant theory, number theory, partition theory and combinatorics. He came to Johns Hopkins University and was founder of the American Journal of Mathematics. ¶ Percy Alexander MacMahon (1854-1929), was a British mathematician, especially noted in connection with the partitions of numbers and enumerative combinatorics. ¶Florence Nightingale David, whose initials are found on the Francis Galton Laboratory bookplate, bears the date 1945, right at the time when she came back to University College London (the location of the lab). See: F.N. David, Games, Gods and Gambling: The Origins and History of Probability and Statistical Ideas From the Earliest Times in the Newtonian Era, (1962). ¶ The Galton Laboratory researched eugenics and then human genetics, was based at University College London. REFERENCES: Stigler, Stephen M., Statistics on the Table; the History of Statistical Concepts and Methods, (1999), pp. 206, 161-220. See: Theodore M. Porter, Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age, (2010), page 237, 254, 259. FULL TITLE: Letters Addressed to H. R. H. the Grand Duke of Saxe Coburg and Gotha on the Theory of Probabilities, as Applied to the Moral and Political Sciences. Translated from the French by Olinthus Gregory Downes. [PLEASE CONTACT DIRECT FOR FURTHER INFORMATION]. (Inventory #: S13082)
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