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Document number: 1978
Date: 30 Mar 1830
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BUTLER George
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA30-018
Last updated: 26th February 2010

Gayton. <1>
30 March, 1830

My dear Henry Fox,<2>

I have received your Foxite pamphlet,<3> and should have immediately acknowledged the receipt of it, but that, in the old-fashioned way, I waited until I could get a leisure evening for the perusal if it. Mrs Butler <4> too was anxious to be made acquainted with its contents, for the sake, as she said, of the Author. Accordingly I have read it to her; and we have, both of us, admired it for its extreme clearness and moderation: And, I confess, I cannot myself see any practical evil likely to result from the adoption of your plan. My only doubt is, whether, if the principle of numbers be adopted as the ground of claim to have two representatives in parliament, our counties might not have a claim to more than two.

As for the mode of election by Ballot, though it would obviate many inconveniences, (especially if taken in different districts of a County at the same time) I know not whether it would not destroy much of that spirit of liberty and sense of independence in the Voters connected with the present exercise of their privilege and the consciousness of temporary consequence attached thereto.

At all events however you have the merit of having laid before the public a sensible clear & temperate proposal, so definite in its object and so limited in its extent, as to remove, I think, a great part of the alarm, which measures of reform have been generally found to excite.

Accept my best thanks for your kindness in thus honouring me with a Copy of your work, and believe me ever,

Most Sincerely & affectionately Yours
Geo Butler.

Henry Fox Talbot Esq
31 Sackville Street


1. Northampton.

2. WHFT did not normally encourage the use of 'Fox' (see 'Talbot' vs. 'Fox Talbot'). However, Butler cleverly employed in the political context of this letter as a reference to Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland (1705-1774), a famous politician and distant relation to WHFT.

3. 'Foxite' in reference to the long line of political and governmental activity with the Fox family. WHFT, Thoughts on Moderate Reform in the House of Commons (London: James Ridgway, 1830). Two years later, WHFT was to be elected a member of the Reform Parliament.

4. Sarah Maria Butler, née Gray.

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