link to Talbot Project home page link to De Montfort University home page link to Glasgow University home page
Project Director: Professor Larry J Schaaf

Back to the letter search >

Result number 12 of 13:   < Back     Back to results list   Next >  

Document number: 6208
Date: 22 Jan 1849
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: MONTGOMERIE George Stephen Molyneux
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA49-3
Last updated: 21st February 2012

Rectory Garboldisham
Jany 22d 1849

My dear Talbot -

I was much obliged to you for the letter you wrote me some 5 or 6 weeks ago, giving me an interesting account of our friends at Rome & of what had taken place & was still going on there - I was in hopes I should have heard direct from them ere now, but that not being the case perhaps you will again be able to supply the deficiency of intelligence & let me know how they are getting on, & whether more recent events are likely to induce them to shift their quarters - There does not appear much chance at present of Pio Nono <1> being carried back to his dominions on the shoulders of his loving subjects, the Prestige about the Holy Father, both as to his spiritual & temporal power being evidently at a considerable discount, & if he is to be reinstated by armed intervention, & Rome invested by the Great R. Catholic Powers it will not be a very desirable residence either for invalids or for the Amateurs of les Beaux Arts - But as the Mt Es are accustomed to, & I believe rather like the sort of excitemt I don't suppose any thing short of a bombardment & general conflagration of the Eternal City will disturb their equanimity or unsettle them in their present Abode - The Italian & more particularly the Roman state of affairs seems more embrouillée <2> than ever - How all the rational part of the Community & those who have any thing to lose must hate the word Nationalité & wish Republicans and republicks, constituent assemblies & provisional governments &c &c at the bottom of the sea if not at the bottom of some worser place! I really believe Egypt will be the only quiet safe place to resort to by & by - you talk of Madeira or the W. Indies, I must say I have a fancy for either - however unless I happen to be ill enough to require it, there is not the smallest chance of my obtaining sufficient leave to move very far East or West - when I went to Rome last winter, though armed with the strongest medical certificates, I had some difficulty in persuading the Bishop as to the necessity of my spending a winter abroad, because I happend to be well at the time I made the application. I found him very obstinate & for a liberal dignitary of the church as he professes to be, very illiberal in these matters - But that is what he calls Strictness only in keeping his clergy to their posts, contrasting himself with his late lazy Predecessor Bathurst who certainly went the other extreme,<3> neither of them in fact having any idea of the "Media testissimus" [sic] - What do you think of the Electric Light?<4> is it likely to be brought eventually to any practical use, such as superseding gas in our streets? I have been reading of its wonderful power but the application of it to any useful purpose at a practicable expence, seems yet a mystery however the invention is but in its infancy, & in this age of wonder there is nothing too extraordinary to be wonder'd at - I think Jenny Lind<5> by the way is one of the wonders, not so much in respect of her talent as in the fact of her going about (she after all being an Opera singer) singing gratis for the benefit of charitable Institutions. Such an idea never came into Grisi's <6> or any other publi[illegible] head - She sings tonight & tomorrow for our Norwich Hospital<7> & consequently to Norwich all the Norfolkers are flocking in crowds, we shall I suppose patronize her tomorrow, one concert being enough for we quiet people of Garboldisham - Let me know how you all fare at Lacock, we had some wet & boisterous weather here but upon the whole a mild winter as far as it goes - remember me kindly to Mrs Talbot & believe me

Ev yrs truly
G Montgomerie

I suppose a letter directed as usual to Ly Mt E. care of Mr Macbean Piazza di Spagna will be sure to find her


1. Pope Pius (1792-1878). He was foreced to leave Rome after the 1848 Revolution but was returned in 1850 after the intervention of the French.

2. Muddled or confused.

3. Henry Bathurst (1744-1837), Bishop of Norwich was succeeded by the less lenient Edward Stanley (1770-1849).

4. The potential of using electric lighting in cities was of particular interest in the tumultuous year of 1848. There were several demonstrations of potential lighting in London. One of the most celebrated was accomplished by William Edwards Staite and William Petrie, who lit up the portico of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square with their arc lamp. There was a dramatic woodcut of it published in The Illustrated London News on 9 December 1848, and perhaps this is what caught Montgomerie's attention. The attempts of the various demonstrators, and the funding efforts of The Patent Electric Light Company, were noticed with frequency during this period in the pages of the London Times.

5. Johanna Maria, better known as Jenny Lind (1820-1887), the "Swedish Nightingale."

6. Giulia Grisi (1811-1869), the popular Italian operatic soprano.

7. She liked Norwich so much that she gave two charity performances. The proceeds bought a house for use as a children's infirmary. The memory of her generosity is preserved to this day by the "Jenny Lind Children's Department" of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Result number 12 of 13:   < Back     Back to results list   Next >