Castle Combe <1>
Janry 4th 1836
I am glad to find we still agree on some points of Politics. I was afraid you had seceded irrecoverably from the ranks of the Reform– to the Conformers. Even now you continue to join the Tory chorus of reproach to the Whigs for coalescing with or succumbing to O’Connell. <2> Now really you should in fairness bring some proofs forward of the charge. I have seen no symptoms of its truth. The facts as I view them are simply these – O’Connell (with the English radicals) in ’33 &’34 were almost as bitter opponents of the Whigs as the Tories, <sic> distrusted & abused them – The events of last winter brought them to their senses, and shewed them that they must support the Whigs if they wish not to be dragooned by the Orange party. The natural consequence has ensued, vizt that O’Connell, Hume <3> &c, make up their minds to stick by and prop up the Whig Government ‘totis viribus’, <4> without fee or reward – other than their salvation from Tory despotism. Well, the Whigs accept their aid – as who would not? Even Peel <5> himself calculated (as he said at Tamworth) on O’Connell’s opposition to the Whigs – that is to say, on his supporting the Tories against them – So long as O’Connell’s caprice or interest, or cunning, or what motive soever you like to call it, binds him as a supporter of the Whigs in such measures as they in their independents <sic> judgement think right – would you have them spit in his face and refuse his help? never in my opinion was there so unfounded & ridiculous a charge brought against any Government as this – but it is flattering – as proving the absence of any real ground of quarrel. No one relies on O’Connell – no one can trust him for an hour in my opinion – I have always thrown my stone at him when I thought it might tell on him – (as in the last Quarterly) – and no part of his conduct has been more disgusting to me than this miserable shuffling on the Poor law question. His dishonesty has been made apparent to me in this at least. But he is a host in himself, and where we do agree, I rejoice in having him on my side – as who would not? Your <Quixotes?> like Old Glory, may
afford to turn up their noses at the Giants who offer their help – but in a life & death struggle I would accept aid from Lucifer himself against a rival Devil.
We ought to have gone to the Chippenham <6> Ball – I own. And my Conscience is disturbed thereat – but it was such weather for leaving one’s fireside!
I would not give a farthing to the Irish Clergy. Have they not had a million already of our money? And might they not have accepted the capital bargain we offered them last year. They will never have such another.
<Sherne?> I have seen little of as yet – for he lives still I believe at Lacock – But I augur much benefit to all my neighbourhood from his services – and, I assure you, feel much obliged to you & his other Lacock patrons, for sparing him to us and so handsomely assisting to get him the situation. He is the only good officer we have in the Union <7> – and will be invaluable. Why don’t you attend our meetings? When Lacock parish comes under revision, you should be there at least. Your overseer will tell you when that will be.
Yours ever faithfully
G Poulett Scrope
H. F. Talbot Esqr
1. Castle Combe, Wiltshire, 7 mi NW of Lacock.
2. Daniel O’Connell (1775–1847), politician, Irish nationalist.
3. Joseph Hume (1777–1855), Radical politician.
4. With all strength.
5. Sir Robert Peel (1788–1850), Prime Minister.
6. Chippenham, Wiltshire: largest town near Lacock, 3 miles N.
7. The local Union of parishes for Poor Law purposes.
8. Emma Phipps Scrope.
9. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.