He writes to a colleague, "Dear Mr. Morrillier, Have you seen an account of M. Havotaux's election to the Academie francaise in today's paper? He got 18 votes out of a total of 34, but the odd 16 did not vote against him, but put in blank ballot-papers. Had they been 19 instead of 16 he would have been rejected. This is the state of things at the Chemical Society, but owning to the unbusiness-like way they have of conducting their affairs, Duvais has been declared elected. The actual number of votes he received for him is unknown; it is guessed at as 165. Publication of the numbers voting & not voting has been asked for, & accorded; and then we shall know. But I am understood to have had about 160 votes. There were present quite 380 fellows. Hence the Chemical Society has no president, for the bylaws render it necessary that, for election, a majority of the fellows present shall vote in favour of the candidate. I have no wish to be president, as I think I told you before; but I am strongly opposed to Duvais being president; & if the above bylaw were carried out, I should not be elected, to my own private satisfaction. But I think this might well be pointed out publicly, not as scoring for me, (please leave reference to me out of any which you write) but as scoring against him. A re-count has been asked for, & it is promised that the matter shall be brought before the Council. The Council will probably try to temporise and hinder the re-count, but in the interests of the Society as a body for managing its own affairs, as well as of conducting scientific business, it could do well to point out the mess they have got into. They should not be allowed to leave matters in status quo. I shall be glad to tell you all particulars, if you care to see me. But these are the facts of the case." He signs it, "Yours sincerely, W. Ramsay."
In 1887 Ramsay became chair of Chemistry at University College, London. It was here that his most celebrated discoveries were made. When this letter was written Ramsay was investigating several noble gases. The letter reflects the politics within the Chemical Society of London, a prestigious organization devoted to scientific achievements and founded in 1841, and reveals Ramsey's thoughts and feelings about the leadership of the Society.