It compleatly vexed me to find at the time when I received your Letter that you was [sic] already out of Wales for if I had had the smallest notion that your stay would have been so short I should have made a point of spending a day or two with you at Penrice <1> which nothing but some important engagements had induced me to defer, & I also should have been more urgent in pressing you to visit me at Swansea. – I am now again much vexed to find that your Letter dated Sept 11 still remains unanswered, & I feared it was lost till after many other unsuccessful hunts it was last night found in Mrs D’s Desk where it had been accidentally passd behind when I took from her some other of my Letters which she had brought from Penllergare. <2> – I accept of your proposed correspondence with pleasure, & shall be very happy to render every assistance in my power to your botanical pursuits. – Next winter I hope that you & Christopher <3> will pay me a Visit, & if you are forming a Hortus siccus I can then give you specimens of several of the rarest British species – I will now look over your supplement to Glamorganshire, & make such remarks as may occur.
Carduus eriophorus, I long ago observed in this County & tho’ it is hardly sufficiently rare it ought to have been mentioned in Glamorganshire as it has been thought worthy of notice in other parts of the Guide
Oxalis corniculata I believe has never been found wild in Britain except in Devonshire, & I cannot help suspecting either that you have made a mistake, in that the Plants which you found had escaped from Lady Marys <4> Garden In the neighborhood of such a general collection as hers care must be taken to discriminate between such escapes, & those Plants which are real natives of the place – I strongly suspect that Fumaria lutea, Linum catharticum flore pleno, & the double variety of Saponaria officinalis must all come under the former denomination & are therefore not entitled to a place in the Guide – Anthemis nobilis Mentha rotundifolia, Equisetum fluviatile, Orobanche elatior Scutellaria minor & Festuca vivipara shall all be mentioned in the next Edition if another should ever be published.
The white varieties of Erica cinerea & tetralix are occasionally found hic & ubique.
I shall be glad to receive your List of the rarer Harrow Plants whenever it may be convenient for you to send it – Dr Smiths <5> is the best arrangement of the British mosses tho’ it is far from perfect, & the Flora Britannica <6> is a Work which you most undoubtedly ought to have. – The Musci are rather a difficult tribe & if you are determined to master them you had better come & shut yourself up for a fortnight in my Library where you will find a tolerably good collection which will materially assist –
I am Yrs very sincerely
Oct. 28. 1814.
W. H. F. Talbot Esq.
at the Revd Dr Butlers
Harrow on the Hill
1. Penrice Castle and Penrice House, Gower, Glamorgan, 10 mi SW of Swansea: home of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot.
2. Penllergaer, Glamorgan, 5 mi E of Loughor: home of the Llewelyn family.
3. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803–1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT’s Welsh cousin.
4. Lady Mary Lucy Cole, née Strangways, first m. Talbot (1776–1855), WHFT’s aunt.
6. Smith, Flora Britannica (London: printed by J. Taylor, J. Davis and J. White, 1800–1804).
7. The Swansea town home of Dillwyn.