[This letter was previously known only through a photocopy sent to the Talbot family by Richard Hatchwell, a Chippenham bookseller, in 1974. No explanation was kept with the copy but the original is being offered by Freeman's, Philadelphia, on 19 September 2019, lot 55. The recpient and year are confirmed by Doc. No: 03018.]
Lacock Abbey Decr. 16th.
I think that your two corrections of Shakspeare are excellent, and if you have more of the same kind you will render a great service to literature by publishing them.
But in candour I must add that I consider your scheme of forming a society for the object of editing Shakspeare, to be impracticable- You never would get the members of a numerous committee to agree in opinion respecting a difficult point of criticism, and if the question were decided according to the opinion of the majority, their decision would be more likely to be wrong than right.
Very few persons are competent to the task and individual exertions are generally most successful in literature.
You will perhaps think me a heretic, but I cannot subscribe to your opinion that your favourite Shakspeare is the first of the British poets.
I have the honor to be Sir Your obedient servant
H. F. Talbot
Chippenham December sixteen
Revd. H. Barry