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Document number: 5791
Date: 09 Dec 1846
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BUTLER George
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA46-134
Last updated: 21st June 2010

The Deanery, Peterborough, 9 Decr 1846

My dear Talbot,

Accept my best thanks for your very kind and interesting present of your English Etymologies,<1> which has already afforded me much amusement

Etymology is to me one of the most attractive occupations of the mind: and though, as you intimate in your preface, "whoever follows (such) philological researches, must not expect an universal assent to the conclusions he may arrive at, however true they may be", yet, I am sure, the extreme ingenuity and satisfactory exposition of many of the most surprising and unlooked-for of your derivations will procure a ready assent to others, even though of dubious authority. Se non vero, ben trovato,<2> will be a very general Sentence in your favour. This work of yours will furnish talk and employment of the most entertaining character for many a winter's Evening.

I am really astounded at the variety of your intellectual pursuits, as well as at the acuteness which you display in bringing them to a conclusion.

You will be happy to hear that Harrow is once more flourishing: about a Month ago I renewed my connexion with the dear Hill, by sending a clever little boy (my youngest) 13 years of age: He was put at once into the Upper Shell, and, in his trial for the Fifth Form comes in Head of his Remove. Fancy a little fellow 13 years of age, in the Vth Form, with "Tails to his Coat". It is, I believe, a fact, that at this moment the Head-boy of all the Removes, that have been examined, were pupils of the Rev. Edward Wickham of Brook Green, Hammersmith:<3> If I had a dozen more Sons, they should all go to him.

I write this letter at a Venture, not knowing your actual location: but I trust that it will find you out. Pray give Mrs Butlers & my most respectful Compliments to Mrs Talbot & believe me always

Yours Affectly
G Butler.

P.S. When may we hope for the happiness of seeing you at our deanery?

Henry Fox Talbot Esq.
Lacock Abbey


1. Talbot's English Etymologies (London: John Murray, 1847). This must have been an advance copy.

2. Italian: even if it is not true, it is well conceived.

3. The Rev Edward Wickham ran a private school at Eagle House, Brook Green, Hammersmith during the early part of the 19th century.

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