Trin. Coll. Cambridge <1>
Dec. 21. 1821
I am quite ashamed of having let your Letter remain so long unanswered, and of divers other previous neglects which will perhaps be expounded in the course of the confession-
I believe I am kept in countenance by Arnold <2>who had a letter from you sometime before mine, and by his account has never answered it. He is here at present but intends only to wait for his brother Gonville's<3> degree & then to go and live at home till Summer- Worsley <4> has been abiding here and purposes to abide here still, reading for the Fellowship Examinations and taking no sort of pupils - wherein he is right. He is just at present in Hertfordshire- Kindersley <5> also has been residing and I believe will do so again-
The Observatory <6> is yet in Embryo- They have offered prizes to Architects for the best plans & perhaps will begin to build in the spring- as I hope we shall do here. The designs and estimates for our new Court are fully made out, and though some of the Seniors are violently against it, principally because there was not a new Court built in their time and they are not used to it- the Master is very sanguine about it and I believe it will be carried and put into Execution as soon as possible- The plan is perhaps a little ill contrived in some instances with respect to internal convenience, but the Elevations are remarkably beautiful-
Concerning the Astronomical Society <7> I must confess and plead guilty- I never thought of it till Peacock <8> was gone- [illegible] However I have spoken to Higman <9> who is himself a Member and he promised to speak to Peacock on his return, and I doubt not they will get you duly elected- Old Viner is defunct- Woodhouse is to succeed him, and Turton <10> Woodhouse.
I am utterly sick of Cambridge but I hope to leave it tomorrow for Exmouth where I am going to spend the Vacation with my Family-
They say we are to make a very respectable show on the Tripos this Year- Houlditch of Caius is however expected to be first- Peacock still speaks in raptures of Airy <11> for next year- and there are two or three others very good indeed- I should think we might have the three first Inside places easily- Reynolds I am afraid will be [Greek text] - Perry I suppose pretty high- But we shall know more about it in the course of a month-
I long to be with you under the Sun- These fogs choke me- Maniakes the Greek told me the other day that when he came first into this Country he wondered how our Nation could be so famous for Astronomy seeing the Sky was to us invisible-
Good bye- I have lots of remembrances for you from all quarters-
Monsieur W.H.F. Talbot
1. Trinity College, Cambridge.
2. Rev Thomas Kerchever Arnold (1800-1853), editor & author.
3. William Langton Arnold (1801– 3 Nov 1822), the first chemical scholar elected on the Micklebrough Foundation, of Gonville and Caius College.
4. Rev Thomas Worsley (1797-1885), theologian & Master of Downing College, Cambridge.
5. Probably Sir Richard Torin Kindersley (1792-1879), a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
7. Astronomical Society of London (later Royal Astronomical Society), London.
9. Probably Rev John Philips Higman (1793-1855), mathematician.
10. 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. Thomas Turton (1780-1864), 9th occupant of the Lucasian Chair, Bishop of Ely.
11. Sir George Biddell Airy (1801-1892), Astronomer Royal.