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Document number: 00831
Date: 04 Nov 1818
Dating: year confirmed by death of Sir Samuel Romilly
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: FEILDING Elisabeth Theresa, née Fox Strangways
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA18-39
Last updated: 9th March 2012

4th Novr

My Dear Henry

You may suppose how dreadfully shocked we have been at this most gloomy termination of such a useful & excellent life as Sir Samuel Romilly's <1> - it is singular in the history of the human mind that so powerful an understanding did not give him strength to support an affliction which he had been so long prepared for, and bodily illness must have for the moment weakened that great mind, for I am persuaded that in his sober senses nothing would have induced him to desert his children & leave them in such an unprotected state. In a public point of view the loss is incalculable, I know not a political character whose loss will be more severely felt. Lady Jersey <2> is very low about it & feels it as She did Mr Whitbread's <3> death, which made her quite unhappy. You may remember the great interest She took in the Westminster election this year & the Supper she gave to Sir Samuel & all the True Whigs. She embarks tomorrow for France, which is not the land of les longs souvenirs. <4> I am very glad you were up time enough to receive Lord Winchilsea <5> & am charmed to hear of the reform in your hours, tho' if you rise at 6 it must be by candle light I should think for I dont know. Your a[ccount] <6> of Martigny <7> is extremely interesting [text missing] Clear and circumstantial I feel as if I had seen it all. I had a Letter too franked from Kelso, <8> name unknown - He <9> is now come back to the Land of the Living & is at Lord Grantham's. <10> Dr Pemberton told me many of the vegetable poisons have a particular sort of affinity with the Eye & tho' taken into the stomach affect no part of the frame but the Eye. He is subject to the tic douloureux <11> in the Eye, & has tried many of them, Nightshade with the most effect. But pray don't use it till I have asked more about it & the Eye is Such a delicate part it must not be played tricks with - besides it is necessary to know the exact quantity

Direct Rock Lodge Brighton & not to Sackvil[le Street]<12>

Henry Fox Talbot Esqr
Trinity College


1. Sir Samuel Romilly (1757- 2 November 1818), English legal reformer. Despondant over the sudden death of his wife, Anne, he lept from his bed three days later and slit his own throat.

2. Sarah Sophia Villiers, née Fane, Lady Jersey (1785-1867).

3. Probably Samuel Whitbread (1758-1815), politician.

4. The long memories.

5. George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea (1752-1826).

6. Text torn away under seal.

7. She refers to the 1818 devastating flood of Martigny, which caused the loss of many lives. [See Doc. No: 00828].

8. She refers to a letter from Charles Feilding. [See Doc. No: 00830].

9. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780-1837), Royal Navy; WHFT's step-father.

10. Thomas Philip Robinson, 3rd Baron Grantham (1781-1859).

11. A disorder of trigeminal nerve.

12. Text torn away under seal. 31 Sackville Street, London residence of the Feildings, often used as a London base by WHFT.