Castle Combe <1>
Novr 25th 1834
There is an idea of
propose appointing to the office of Parish Surgeon of the place (one (among the high offices of State now vacant) a certain Mr Spencer, <2> now or late of Lacock Surgeon &c Manmidwife &c &c &c. Now I have heard that he formerly was employed at Lacock Abbey, but for some reason or other was dismissed. And will you give me a hint or two as to your estimate of his moral and professional qualifications for the office. Depend on it your information shall be kept strictly internos. But as it depends upon me to invite him here, or not, I should like to hear what impression has been made on you by his mode of serving the similar office at Lacock. I know him to have failed in business – but that might happen to an honest man in these hard times, and still more to a very painstaking surgeon.
Eh che dici? <3> Of all these astounding changes? Is King Arthur to rule us by the sword, or are we to have any will of our own? I cannot believe that Peel <4> will meddle with the matter. He has too much shrewdness not to see that he can only burn his fingers, as he did before in the Catterlee Question business. Therefore, I anticipate the Duke’s <5> abdicating shortly his despotic Throne, with the grace of a hunted dog with a canister at his tail. At all events it can end but in good. I was at Stroud last week, and feel myself very safe there. I hope you are equally so at Chippenham <6> –
Believe me Ever very faithfully yours
G Poulett Scrope
H. Fox Talbot Esqr MP.
1. Castle Combe, Wiltshire, 7 mi NW of Lacock.
2. Dr Henry Spencer (1805-1842), surgeon in Chippenham.
3. What do you think? what do you say?
4. Sir Robert Peel (1788–1850), Prime Minister.
5. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769–1852) who in November 1834 advised William IV that Peel should be the prime minister.
6. Chippenham, Wiltshire: largest town near Lacock, 3 miles N.
7. Emma Phipps Poulett Scrope.
8. Constance Talbot, née Mundy (1811–1880), WHFT’s wife.