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Document number: 3904
Date: 06 Jul 1839
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: HALLORAN Charles
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA39-47
Last updated: 28th April 2012

Corsham. <1> th


I send you by the desire of the committee, the first prospectus of a literary Society wh has just been Commenced in this Town, Soliciting at the Same time your patronage and support. Everyman of such intellectual attainments and liberal feeling as your self, Sir, must view with pleasure the rise of Such a Society, wh has for its object the diffusion of useful Knowledge, and the pursuit and discussion of Literary and Scientific Subjects; and here let me add, that in order to prevent all party and Sectarian Spirit from causing disunion among its Members, every thing tending to elicit religious or political discussion, is most expressly forbidden by our rules wh are compiled principally from those of the Devises and Chippenham Institutions and of wh, our Kind Vicar, Mr Bennet (with whom I have had several conversations on the Subject) has signified his entire approvals. So that it is hoped that all parties, however they may disagree on other points may here all unite in one common and ardent desire of promoting so useful and [illegible] end, as that proposed by such a society. I am happy to say that at our meeting yesterday we were enabled to obtain the names of 20 members, wh we must consider a very auspicious commencement, for so small a town, when we remember that the Ball Institute began with only 12, and the Chippenham with only 4 names. The rent of a proper room, the necessary furniture, together with the printers bills &c make our expenses at first very heavy, and we must therefor look to those gentlemen of wealth and influence who are honorable to such institutions, for that pecuniary assistance, and kind patronage, of wh at present we stand in So much need.

Trusting therefore that you will allow me the gratification of placing at the head of our list a name so well known and esteemed in the literary world, as that of Talbot, and of reporting to the Committee a donation or Subscription (and the smallest donation would be most thankfully accepted)

I have the honor to be, Sir, Your very obt Sert,
Chal Halloran Secretary

H F Talbot Esqre

PS I assure you Sir I feel personally very grateful to you for the very kind manner in wh you in your letter <2> of the 2d of this month you gave me instructions for fixing the photogenic drawing, and I take the present opportunity for returning you my best and most Sincere thanks for that & the very pretty Specimen you were also good enough to send.

W H F Talbot Esqre
31 Sackville Street

[The letter was written on the verso of this printed document:]


It has long been a subject of regret that, in a town so respectable as Corsham, no Society should exist of a Literary character, for the purpose of cultivating an acquaintance with the Arts and Sciences. Observing the beneficial results which have been produced by Institutions of this nature in other towns, a few individuals have been induced to suggest to their Friends the establishment of some such Society in this place. It has occurred to them that, if Lectures were periodically given on subjects of practical utility, it might be the means of affording opportunities to the Young Men of the town of acquiring knowledge; and, by the diffusion of information in an attractive form, induce many who may now be habitually spending their leisure hours in unprofitable, if not hurtful, pursuits, to direct their attention to those of higher importance. Such an Institution would also call forth latent talents which may now exist where they are least expected. Many other arguments might be adduced in favour of such a plan; but these will readily present themselves to a reflecting mind, and will more properly form the subject of a more lengthened Prospectus. If this suggestion should meet with the approbation and support of those best qualified to judge of its expediency, measures may be immediately adopted for carrying into effect the objects contemplated, such as the taking in of Periodical Publications, and the formation of a Library and Museum, as soon as the funds of the Society will permit.

A General Meeting, for the purpose of considering preliminary measures towards the establishment of the Institution, will be held on the Evening of the Friday July 5th , in a commodious Room, which has been taken for that purpose near the Market Place, when all persons favourable to the object are respectively requested to attend:


July 3d, 1839

John and James Keene, Printers, Bath

The door of the Institution will be open at past 6


1. Corsham Court, Wiltshire, 3 mi NW of Lacock: seat of Ld Methuen.

2. Letter not located.

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