Rev. James Tate, M.A.
CANON RESIDENTIARY OF ST. PAUL'S
I GLADLY avail myself of the opportunity of inscribing to you, for a second time, a work of mine on Algebra, as a sincere tribute of my respect, affection and gratitude.
I trust that I shall not be considered as derogating from the higher duties which, (in common with you), I owe to my station in the Church, if I continue to devote some portion of the leisure at my command, to the completion of an extensive Treatise, embracing the more important department of Analysis, the execution of which I have long contemplated, and which, in its first volume I now offer to the public, under the auspices of one of my best and dearest friends.
James Tate entered Richmond School as a pupil in 1779. His talent was quickly recognized and was employed as amanuensis (transcriber/secretary) of Francis Blackburne. Blackburne's library acted as a stimulus for Tate. He entered Sussex College, Cambridge, on a sizarship (an undergraduate who receives some form of assistance in return for doing work). In 1796 Tate was appointed headmaster of Richmond School. Tate transformed Richmond School into one of the leading leading classical schools, and the leading Whig school (Whig being the party of industrialists as opposed to the Tory party who supported the aristocracy).[Moody]
The French Revolution and associated 'Terror' in 1793-4, produced a fear, and backlash, in the British Tory party. Lagrange, Laplace and Lacroix worked to advance French mathematics, and reform the educational system, during the revolution. French mathematics became associated with revolutionary France. The majority of students in Cambridge came from landed gentry and happily stuck to learning Euclidean geometry, geometric optics and Newtonian fluxions, mechanics and astronomy as they prepared for careers in the Church or law. Advances mathematics at the time, emerging from France, were treated with suspicion. Algebraic analysis remained on the periphery at Cambridge. However it was the middle class students in Cambridge, though a minority, made a majority of the mathematicians. It was this group that pushed to modernize British maths.[Moody]
"Peacock, the son of a schoolmaster and Perpetual Curate, was of lower economic origins than Babbage and Herschel. He graduated second to Herschel, won a fellowship at Trinity, and underwent ordination. As a Whig, he was intuitively rooted, consciously or unconsciously, in the conventions of the day, but advocated contextual reform to bring legacies of the past into harmony with his vision of contemporary needs. He never manifested the abstract social and religious radicalism of Babbage or Herschel.... None the less, Peacock was associated with the Analytical Society. Therefore, he would provoke an establishment reaction in 1817."[Becher]