[The envelope was sold on eBay in July 2013 - its current owner is unknown.]
I shall be very glad if M. Daguerre’s invention <1> is proved to be very different from yours. But as you have known it five years à quoi bon <2> concealing it till you could by possibility have a competitor? If you would only have made it known one year ago, it could never have been disputed, or doubted, and there are many people entirely ignorant of the details of the discovery who will run away with the idea that it is the same, only because [illegible deletion] the premises about it seems so–
It is Byam House that I have taken, but you need not trouble yourself to put more than Brighton on the direction as I am much too conspicuous a person here to have my letters in any danger of miscarrying Besides in the scarcity of aristocracy here Shelburne <3> (to whom they are generally enclosed) is too marquant <4> a personage to make any more particular direction necessary
Brighton February third 1839
Henry Talbot esq.re
44 Queen Anne St
[The envelope is annotated on recto in pencil by Miss Matilda Talbot: "his Mother". There are additional pencil notes on verso in another hand.]
1. Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (1787–1851), French artist, showman & inventor of the Daguerreotype.
2. What good is it?
3. Henry Fitzmaurice, Lord Shelburne, 4th Marquess of Lansdowne (1816–1866), MP.
5. Royal Society of London.