Normanton <1> nr Stamford,
May 9th 1820
My dear Sir,
As I dislike to be in debt, I will not allow your Letter to remain unanswered, although the quiet and uniformity of a retired Country-Life affords no subject to write upon. -
I almost envy you the Trip to Paris, and should have been delighted at seeing and conversing with such Men as Humboldt, <2> &c. You certainly go further and see more in a short Time, than any one I have ever heard of. In an Easter-Vacation to have gone to Oxford and thence to Paris would have been thought impossible when I was at the University. -
The first attempt in Parliament has not been very successful; but I hope that, when all are assembled, the Opposition will upon some great Occasion be much more formidable in number. Heathcote is so recovered from his Illness, as to be able to take his seat & sit up to vote. -
The most violent man I have heard of during the late elections is Finch Hatton: <3> He went to Northampton and attempted to speak violently against Lord Althorpe, <4> but the Mob would not allow him to proceed. At the ministerialists' Dinner, however, he got up & spoke most furiously, upbraiding the County of Northampton for its Apathy and Indifference in not turning out Lord Althorpe. From Northampton he went to Kent, & at the election told the Freeholders that he was now quite ashamed of the Name of "a Man of Kent," since they had elected Mr Honeywood.<5> - Unluckily & ridiculously for Finch Hatton, his violent Speeches had no Effect whatever, but recoiled upon himself.
I conclude that you approve of Woodhouse <6> being Mathematical Professor: I am very glad of it, as well from his great knowledge in Mathematics as from his uniformly kind and civil Behaviour to me upon all Occasions. -
The Heads, I conceive, have not gained much in Talent by having the new President of Queen's in their number. If old Professor Farish <7> had been elected, his abilities and amiable Disposition would have made some amends for the Loss of Goliath! -
This neighbourhood is remarkably tranquil; no Disposition to riot, no Bitterness against the higher Powers is ever evinced. I am inclined
that to think that we are more favored than any other Part of England. -
I forget whether you were acquainted with Lady Trollope <8> when in this Part of the Country. What a Fall has her Pride & Vanity met with by the Death of Sir John! <9> He is sincerely lamented, as a good-natured Man and an excellent Landlord. -
My Sister is now upon a Visit at Cliffe with my Mother, who is in good Health & looks as well as when you saw her, altho' she is now in the 77 yr of her age.
My Brother came to see me yesterday, & is the same as usual. -
I have at this time three Pupils, France, Steere, & Smith, a son of Mr John Smith, M.P. <10> recommended by Professor Smyth. -
Yr's [sic] most truly,
T. K. Bonney. -
W. H. F. Talbot Esqre
1. Normanton, Rutlandshire.
2. Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German scientist.
3. George William Finch-Hatton, 10th Earl of Winchilsea, 5th Earl of Nottingham (1791–1858).
4. Misspelling of John Charles Spencer, Viscount Althorp, 3rd Earl of Spencer (1782-1845), politician.
5. William Philip Honeywood (1790-1831), Whig MP for Kent.
6. Robert Woodhouse (1773-1827), 8th occupant of the Lucasian Professorship of Mathematics at Cambridge University. He also held the Plumian Chair of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy. [See Doc. No: 00944].
7. Professor Farish, engineer.
8. Lady Ann Trollope (d. 1855).
9. Sir John Trollope, 6th Baronet, (d. 1820).
10. Probably John Smith, whig MP who retired from parliament in 1835.