Jany 14 1822 –
My dear Henry
It gave me great pleasure to hear of you, as I have been in total ignorance of your movements since you left Cambridge: <2> as I presume you to have been equally ignorant of mine, it may be proper to inform you that I left Lipscomb’s after three years of total idleness, and have been at Oxford these two last years (I almost forgot you were present when I entered). I have done little at Oxford, besides hunting, but as the time approaches at which I intend taking my degree, I feel the necessity of some application especially as I do not like the idea of passing an examination without an attempt at something like honours – Pray give me your opinion as to whether University honours are worth the time & trouble usually spent in their pursuit, as I am sensible that Academicians are apt to overrate the credit which attaches to Success – I shall be also glad if you will recommend me the best treatises in the several branches of Mathematics, – for I do not pretend to anything in classics after so long an estrangement – Many thanks for your congratulations on Jane’s <3> marriage. I think you will like Nicholl <4> very much. I knew very little of him before his marriage, but I think the event will prove the foundation of a solid friendship – How I should delight in a journey on the continent! I particularly wish to visit the Pyrenees & the North of Italy. I am afraid, however, that the long vacation will not allow sufficient time for the prosecution of such a scheme – My present idea, is that of fitting out a yacht and cruising in the Mediterranean as soon as I become locomotive – but so many circumstances may destroy this plan, that I scarce allow myself to hope – I am equally charmed with your description of the climate of Nice, and disgusted with the despotic tyranny of its government. the reverse is the case in England, the climate is detestable, but we have not yet arrived at such miserable slavery as you describe. Although I can match against your five stories of despotism, as many months of uninterrupted rain, yet <5> think the balance is greatly in fa[vour] of Old England – I have been so very much in the habit of hearing ministerial conversations lately, that I find my Whiggism somewhat shaken, but the bias in my mind is strongly against Toryism, especially the Toryism of the present Ministers. I move hence for Oxford the 26th, and they all go to Bath, en masse, about the same time for
London a month & thence to London for two months – There I hope we shall see you. We have been staying at Merthyr-Mawr <6> (Sir J. N’s <7>.) where great festivities have been going on, the description of which I have no doubt will be given you by the ladies of the family. The “happy pair” were there, and seem already comfortably settled & used to each other, which I did not exactly expect, considering Jane’s great fondness for Penrice & its inhabitants. I beg to be remembered to my aunt & Mr F. <8> –
Believe me Truly yours
W. H. F. Talbot Esqr
Chas Feilding’s Esqr
1. Penrice Castle and Penrice House, Gower, Glamorgan, 10 mi SW of Swansea: home of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot.
2. Trinity College, Cambridge.
4. Dr John Nicholl (1797–1853), MP.
5. Text obscured under seal.
6. Merthyr Mawr, Glamorgan, on River Ogwr.
7. The father of Dr John Nicholl.
8. Lady Elisabeth Theresa Feilding, née Fox Strangways, first m Talbot (1773–1846), WHFT’s mother, and Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father.