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BAAS meeting, Dundee 1867

PMP

In 1867, the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) held it’s annual meeting in Dundee. Officially, the meeting ran from 4th to 11th September, but papers were only presented from Thursday 5th to Tuesday 10th September.

Matthew took advantage of the proximity of the venue to submit no fewer than nine papers for consideration to be read at the meeting. Seven of these, including one on the theory of natural selection, were rejected by the selection committee. The eighth was withdrawn by Matthew (see Matthew 1867-09-13). The ninth, on “Employer and Employed; Capital and Labour”, was accepted to be read to the Economic Science and Statistics section of the BAAS conference.

Matthew’s paper was originally scheduled to be read on Monday 9th, but it was then rescheduled to be read as the last paper of the last session on Tuesday 10th. In the event, because so much time was spent discussing previous papers, it was not read at all, but rather was “taken as read”. The Report of the 37th Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science includes the title of Matthew’s paper in its report, but nothing more. Matthew’s paper is not the only one to be so treated, but it confirms that his paper was not considered important by the conference organisers, as it appears that only the papers deemed more important were abstracted.

Fortunately, a précis of Matthew’s paper survives, in the form of a brief summary published in the Gardeners’ Chronicle (see Ag Journal Articles: 1867c).

Angry at the way he had been treated, Matthew wrote a letter of complaint to the Dundee Advertiser (Matthew 1867-09-13). Further details below.

 
“Programme of Today’s Proceedings”. Dundee Advertiser, 9 September 1867, p.3 col.1 (pdf image)
This published schedule proves that Matthew’s paper on “Employer and Employed – Capital and Labour” was originally scheduled for Monday 9th September, to be read to “Section F: Economic Science and Statistics”. The same schedule was also published in the Dundee Courier 9 September 1867.

 
“Programme of Today’s Proceedings”. Dundee Advertiser, 10 September 1867, p.4 col.1 (pdf image)
This published schedule shows that Matthew’s paper on “Employer and Employed – Capital and Labour” was re-scheduled for Tuesday 10th September, to be read to “Section F: Economic Science and Statistics”, as the last paper of the session. This revised schedule is also the one published in the Journal of the Statistical Society of London, Vol 30.

 
“Section F – Economic Science and Statistics”. Dundee Advertiser, 11 September 1867, p.7 col.1 (pdf image)
This report of the previous day’s BAAS section meetings mentions that Matthew’s talk was “held as read”. The report notes that there were “somewhat lengthy” discussions following the previous talk (on “The Population and Mortality of Calcutta” by Mr P. M. Tait, FSS, FRGS):

A somewhat lengthy conversation took place as to this paper, and Mr Tait received the thanks of the Section for his paper, as did the Secretary for his trouble in connection with it.
The only other papers on the list were, one by Dr Cuthbert Collingwood “On the Consumption of Opium;” and another by Mr Patrick Matthew, Dundee, on “Employer and Employed, Capital and Labour.” The first was not read, and latter was held as read.

 
“Grand Corporation Banquet in the Albert Institute Hall”. Dundee Advertiser, 12 September 1867, p.3 col.3 (pdf image)
“Pat Matthew” is listed on the guest list of the “Grand Corporation Banquet in the Albert Institute Hall”, held to conclude the BAAS meeting.

 
Matthew (1867-09-13): “Mr Matthew’s Papers”. Dundee Advertiser, 13 September 1867
Matthew’s letter of complaint regarding his treatment by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, not only for rejecting the majority of papers he submitted to the BAAS meeting in Dundee (including one on natural selection) but also for side-lining the reading of his one accepted paper.

 
Editorial (1867-11-02): Gardeners’ Chronicle, 2 November 1867
A report of the only one of Matthew’s papers accepted for British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Dundee in September 1867. Submitted to the “Economic Science and Statistics” section, it argues in favour of free trade and competition, and against fixed wages. Natural selection – “the great and universal law of Nature” – is used for comparison.

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