31 Sackville St <1>
I regret I did not find you at home today when I called. – As I do not doubt that you still entertain the opinions which you have expressed in your book on the Decline of Science in England, <2> I wish to ask you to join me in making an effort to arouse the apathy of the Government on this subject. My present idea is to move for a Committee, in these terms (or something equivalent) –
Committee – to enquire into the best means of encouraging Science & Literature – with a view more especially to afford National encouragement to those Scientific & Literary enquiries, which although highly honorable to the nation, and often ultimately the source of increased national wealth, are yet not accompanied with sufficient immediate remuneration to induce persons of moderate fortune to devote exclusively to them the whole of their time and talents.
I think the Report of this Committee would be likely to effect much towards rescuing the country from the reproach which it now deserves, of utterly neglecting the cause of science. –
I think I should obtain the Committee if I were backed by a strong representation on the subject from the scientific men in London, & therefore I wish to know if you are willing to join me in making such an effort, and if you would induce others of your friends to concur in it?
Believe me Yours most truly
H. Fox Talbot
1 Dorset St
Manchester Square <3>
1. 31 Sackville Street, London residence of the Feildings, often used as a London base by WHFT.
2. Charles Babbage, Reflections on the decline of science in England, and on some of its causes (London: B. Fellowes, 1830).