5th March 1824
My Dear Mother –
As we found no vessel about to sail for Boulogne, we came here. We had a rough passage of three hours & a half, the wind blowing very hard and intensely cold. You will be sorry to hear that Kit <1> is not with us, Lord Ilchester having refused his consent to his being absent from home on his birthday,<2> at which he seems much disappointed – John <3> & I are travelling together in my carriage we hope to reach Abbeville tomorrow, and soon to be with you at Genoa. William <4> crossed from Dover to Calais two days before us on his way to the Hague. I am nearly overwhelmed with luggage, I bring you many things, a shawl from Aunt Louisa, <5> which escaped the douane, a letter from Aunt Susan <6> you will be glad of – Why don’t you write to her, she continually speaks of it & says she shall never see you again – However everybody says she is much better – Among other bulky articles I have myriads of English Novels which I shall never get into the Sardinian States, & a monstrous telescope, which I am to try in Italian skies, & will greatly amuse Mr F. <7> & my sisters <8> – Fortunately the douaniers <9> fancied it was for some ambassador, or I should have had 100 francs duty to pay for it. – We mean to stay 3 days at Paris, go to Nice by way of Grenoble, Gap, Digne &c – and stay 3 or 4 days at Nice – I wish to make an excursion from
Nice Genoa to Corsica & Elba so that I hope you will not leave it till May. I received Mr F’s commissions about sarcophagi the day before my departure, & having no time myself I left it to Mr Dillwynn <10> [sic] to find out thro’ Dr Wollaston. <11> I have made acquaintance lately with Sir H. Davy, <12> in general it is much easier to form acquaintance with continental than with English literati, who are less accueïllant. <13> They are forming a new club of 500 members, of persons attached to literature science or the Arts<14> – I am a member, I think it will be useful in enabling one to meet people otherwise inaccessible – Ld Lansdowne <15> & Sir H. Davy are among the leading members –
I remain your affte Son
1. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot (1803–1890), immensely wealthy landowner, mathematician & politician; WHFT’s Welsh cousin.
2. Henry Stephen Fox Strangways, 3rd Earl of Ilchester (1787–1858); he insisted on Kit's presence in England at the time of his 21st birthday for legal formalities, since Kit's father had died.
3. John George Charles Fox Strangways (1803–1859), MP.
4. William Thomas Horner Fox Strangways, 4th Earl of Ilchester (1795–1865), botanist, art collector & diplomat.
5. Louisa Emma Petty Fitzmaurice, née Fox Strangways, Marchioness of Lansdowne (1785-1851), wife of Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne; Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria, 1837-1838; WHFT's aunt.
6. Susannah Sarah Louisa O’Brien, née Strangways (1743–1827), WHFT’s great aunt.
7. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father.
8. Caroline Augusta Edgcumbe, née Feilding, Lady Mt Edgcumbe (1808–1881); WHFT’s half-sister, and Henrietta Horatia Maria Gaisford, née Feilding (1810–1851), WHFT’s half-sister.
9. Customs officers.
10. A misspelling of Lewis Weston Dillwyn (1778–1855), Welsh botanist & MP.
11. William Hyde Wollaston (1766–1828), chemist, manufacturer, physicist, optician and medical researcher.
12. Sir Humphry Davy (1778–1829), chemist.
13. Friendly, welcoming.
14. This was the Athenaeum Club, a social club for artistic, literary and scientific men and for patrons of the arts and sciences. Members (except for judges and Bishops) were required to have published some "literary or professional work". Michael Faraday was the first Secretary and the first Chairman was Sir Humphry Davy. WHFT was a very early member, inducted while the planning group was meeting at a member's home, but membership was soon limited to 1000. The club took on rented premises in May 1824 and moved into its present building on Pall Mall in 1830.
15. Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780–1863), MP, WHFT’s uncle.