City of London School, Beaufoy Prize
Frederick Charles Wace was Mayor of Cambridge, the first University man to achieve this position. A Fellow of St. John's College he served as Senior Proctor for the University. Also served as an alderman on Cambridgeshire county council. During his period of mayoralty, and with the assistance of the town clerk (J.E.L. Whitehead), he transcribed and translated all the royal charters of the town of Cambridge.
The John Carpenter Club of the City of London School gives an excellent background to this medal.
Mr Beaufoy and Mr Hobler.
The Beaufoy family has a long and interesting history and from the mid 18th century were prosperous vinegar brewers in Lambeth. Colonel Mark Beaufoy (1764-1827) was a brilliant man, who was elected FRS on the strength of his writings astronomy, navigation, hydrology, and other scientific matters. He was also the first Englishman to climb Mont Blanc, in 1787.
The first letter in the collection is from Henry Beaufoy's solicitor, Francis Hobler. His father, also named Francis, had recently retired after forty years as Clerk to the Lord Mayor. It seems that our Francis thought it would be a good idea to keep the family name before the City authorities, perhaps with a view to gaining some official position. His means of doing this was to present a prize medal in memory of Mark Beaufoy to CLS, which, six years after its opening, was then beginning to make its academic reputation under the leadership of Dr George Mortimer.
Hobler explains this to Henry Beaufoy in this prime example of an oily lawyer in full flow.
I have edited out much of the more florid text.
An object so dignified has induced me to perpetuate his name and merits in a way that I thought would be agreeable to you.
The City of London School founded in consequence of an endowment by John Carpenter, Town Clerk of our great Metropolis in the reign of King Henry the fifth, has as a main feature in its course of education a Mathematical Class, and to that School, I have presented a pair of Dies, for a silver prize medal to be hereafter distinctively called and known as to be annually awarded to the most successful [and] proficient of the Tyros in Mathematics. And, to blend Fame, Honour, and Utility together, the design on the Obverse, when no pictorial resemblance of your Father was to be obtained, is a junction of the armorial insignia of the City of London and of your Family, with a shield bearing the device of John Carpenter, of whom no arms are known, as its munificent Founder. A specimen from the dies, struck as a unique, and in an especial manner, as an oblation to you, now presents itself before you, and I hope you will think with me, your Father's Fame will not suffer by this momento of his past excellence and majesty of mind, - no discredit will be the result to you, nor disgrace attach itself to the mead of praise due to the labours of the artist, who has, as it appears to me, so ably performed his task in engraving the Dies. These, with the copy of your Father's work you were pleased to present to me, bound in Russia Leather most elaborately and richly tooled, have been accepted by the Governors and Committee of the School, and are now their property. Copies of the medal in Bronze have also been deposited in the British Museum and Guildhall Library.
Worthy and excellent Sir, may I hope that I have your sanction in this attempt to render due Homage to your Father's merits, as a trivial return for the many obligations I consider myself indebted to you, and may I further take the liberty of adopting the opportunity so favourably afforded me of unfeignedly expressing my desire to ever maintain your good opinion and esteem.
I remain, my dear Sir,
With the utmost regard
Your very faithful and obedient servant
The report goes on to state that the intention of the medal is to encourage the link between the school and those who go on to study science at Cambridge University.
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