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British Industrial History

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William Parsons

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1897. The Great Telescope built in 1845.

William Parsons (c1791-1858)

The Earl of Rosse.


1858 Obituary [1]

DEATH has taken from us a king in the world of science. William Parsons, Earl of Rosse, expired at his residence, near Dublin, on the 31st of October, at the age of 67 years.

Lord Rosse loved science for her own sake, and walked in her paths with a steadfastness of purpose seldom paralleled. To some men it has been given to explore the ends of the earth. The great man deceased carried human research into the boundless regions of space with a firm hand and a fine sense of the value of eternal truth. His voice was not unheard in the councils of State; nor did he fail to influence the material progress of Ireland.

Lord Rosse did not long remain in Parliament, however, and on his retirement from political life, he entered on the study of astronomical science with the greatest assiduity. He may be said to have taught mankind how to make large reflecting telescopes, and in the construction of his magnificent 6ft. speculum be displayed engineering talents of the very highest order brought to perfection by cultivation. It would be impossible within the limits of a brief notice even to mention all that the late Earl of Rosse has done for astronomy. The resolution of many of the Nebulae does not rank among the smallest of his achievements. His labours were fully appreciated, and learned societies gloried in him.

In 1849 he was elected president of the Royal Society. The University of Cambridge conferred upon him the degree of LL.D. He was elected a member of the Imperial Academy at St. Petersburg, and was created a. Knight of the Legion of Honour by the Emperor of the French, and a Knight of St. Patrick by our gracious Sovereign. He was Chancellor of the University of Dublin, a president of the British Association, and honorary member of several important continental institutions.

We can but mourn the departed. That his place in the ranks of the great army of science will be speedily filled ill more than we dare to hope.


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