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 >

Document number: 01175
Date: 09 Mar 1824
Recipient: FEILDING Charles
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA24-028
Last updated: 1st September 2003


9th March 1824

My Dear Mr Feilding,

Nicole <1> went to London instead of Paris, so that you had better write to him yourself, his direction is

Nicholas Sisberg
at Miss Cook’s 48 Wimpole St

He wrote me word he was at present with Lady Isabella St Lawrence, merely however for a job – John <2> & I arrived here last night, we have experienced very bad weather all the way, and today it has rained torrents all day giving a very unfavourable first impression of Paris – We have only been out to read the papers at Galignani’s <3> & coming home I lost him, and as he has not yet made his appearance I conclude he is wandering over Paris enquiring for the Hotel Wagram <4> if indeed he remembers the name. His servant calls it the Hotel Vacarme, rue de la Paix – We proposed staying here 3 days but today must count for nothing.

I went with Sir Christopher <5> one day to see Mr Perkins’s new invented Steam Gun, <6> it is an extremely long musket barrel screwed into his steamengine and pointed at an iron plate at the end of the room, The water is heated to twice the boiling point and on turning a cock the steam rushes out of the barrel with great fury, and after a few moments brings along with it a shower of balls, three per second, without intermission till they are all exhausted – They fall from the iron plate quite flattened as if discharged by gunpowder The experiment is most striking, Sir Christopher was lost in astonishment and reflections upon the change it may make in the art of war – Mr Brunel <7> the famous Engineer is going to make a tunnel under the Thames at Rotherhithe – It is to cost £200,000 which sum was immediately subscribed – The length will be 1200 feet, to sink only 14 feet beneath the bed of the river – Sir Edward Codrington <8> who is a great promoter of it told me it was sure to answer.

My love to all & believe me
Yours afftly

Henry Talbot

Monsieur Feilding

Gentilhomme Anglais <9>


1. Nicholas (Nicole) Sisberg, servant.

2. John George Charles Fox Strangways (1803–1859), MP.

3. Galignani’s Messenger, Paris.

4. Hotel Wagram, Rue Rivoli, Paris.

5. Sir Christopher Cole (1770–1836), Captain, MP & naval officer.

6. Jacob Perkins (1766–1849), American inventor who experimented with high-pressure steam boilers and in 1823 devised means to attain working steam pressure of 800–1400 psi.

7. Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (1769–1849), French-émigré engineer and inventor who designed and built a tunnel under the River Thames between Rotherhithe and Wapping in London. It was the first subaqueous tunnel in the world. Operations began in 1825 and completed in 1842 after great physical and financial difficulties.

8. Admiral Sir Edward Codrington (1770–1851).

9. English gentleman.