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Document number: 549
Date: Sun 13 Oct 1811
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: SMITH George (1)
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA11-14
Last updated: 12th February 2014

Rottingdean <1>
13. Octr 1811 Sunday

Φιλε Ταλβοτ

κεκλυθεμ<οι?> νυν, Ταλβοτ, <σοι?> γαρ γραψω επιςτολην.–

Perhaps, after all, it would be better to write in our Mother Tongue, in which we can express ourselves more accurately & write with greater proficiency

I am very much surprised when after I had written to you at Penrice Castle <2> I did not receive an answer; I waited a long time expecting to hear from you every day, I at last concluded that you had moved your quarters & missed my letter, I intended writing again, but thinking as I said before that you had changed the Place of your abode, I thought it would be of no use but now that you are for some time settled, I hope your letters will be more frequent. Ever since I wrote to you I have been continually teazed & perplexed with the squalls of the Babies & the administration of Justice, which renders my Head Boyship more uncomfortable than ever it was before, added to which, Dr Hooker’s <3> anger falls upon upon us, for the least noise we make, & to our misfortune, all the Scrapes hadng over the Head of Bowden &c, You will be easily able to account for, when I let you know that to fill up the vacances occasioned by your Class Departure we have in your place a whole stock of children just come out of the nursery, who squall for every little thing that crosses them because the nurses do not let the dear little things want any thing, that is in their power, when the cry for it, so that from 8 to 9 O’clock is the only hour of peace, that we have, & owing to the continual Squabbles, which arise, there are sometimes 20 Lickings in a day – the place of executing which punishments, viz. the licks is removed on account of the screams of the sufferers, is removed to the haystack, which so deadens the sound, that we can thrash them at our leisure, without an attack being made upon us from the house by Doctor Hooker

There was about a fortnight ago a Shipwreck at Seaford which thus began the Vessel, which carried corks & Port wine bound from Oporto to Hull, had cast anchor at Worthing The wind being very high, she broke her cable & was carried on at a great rate, at the mercy of [illegible]vaces; Lord Talbot, <4> who was then at Worthing, offered 52 Guineas to any Boat who would go & take out the men, 5 Ventured out but none could overtake her, she at last was driven a ground at Seaford & went to pieces, 3 Men were saved, one of them having swam ashore, knocked at Steivers door at 5 O’clock in the morning, & asked help, [illegible] got up, took him to the inn, fed him & clothed him, & returned with him to the wreck, they there found two more, having done done [sic] as much as they could for that part of the Cargo, which was driven on shore, they returned to the village & spread the news, the 10th Dragoon’s was [sic] over here, but they got so drunk that nobody – no, not one of the officers could govern them – They were tumbling from their horses in every direction They then began to box, & at last would have settled the matter with their swords, had not another company come from Brighton, & they were obliged to return – The vessel afterwards proved to be Mr Bowdens & everything was taken away –

Yesterday a puncheon of Rum being driven ashore, the people that they might secure it gave out, that their reason for running that way was that a Chimney had fallen down at Porto Bello & killed several children, which so deceived the Custom-house officials that they got it quietly into their possession See! how the world is given to lying!

You did not tell me how to direct to you let me know in your next –

I remain your affectionate friend
G Smith

Mrs Armstrong [Tib?] &c – Desire to be remembered My Garden is no longer Versicolor floribus for Flora has finished her visit at the temple of the sun

Mr Bridgetower whom perhaps you may recollect gave us the following lines a little while ago. They were written on an [illegible] it is a mixture of Italian French Latin & English

In questa casa trouvereti

tout ce que vous [illegible] [soufratte?]

Vinum, Panem, pescis, [illegible]

[vaches, chevres?], horses harness <5>

The English of the first line is –

in this house you will find

The rest you can make out

October 13. 1822.

Mr W. H. F. Talbot
at Dr Butler’s <6>
Harrow School
Harrow on the Hill
Middx –


1. Rottingdean, East Sussex, 4 mi SE of Brighton: WHFT attended school there from 1808–1811.

2. Penrice Castle and Penrice House, Gower, Glamorgan, 10 mi SW of Swansea: home of Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot.

3. Rev. Thomas Redman Hooker (1762-1838), WHFT's tutor at Rottingdean and a most interesting character. His career prospects were seemingly cut short when his father lost his fortune to an industrial accident. Hooker became the private secretary to the Duke of Dorset, learned French, took Holy Orders and through the Duke's influence established an influential school. His pupils included the nephews of the Duke of Wellington and of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was also active in the local smuggling ring. See Arthur R. Ankers, revised by Michael Smith, Sussex Cavalcade (Sevenoaks: Hawthorns Publications, Ltd., 1992), pp. 97-100.

4. Possibly Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 2nd Earl Talbot (1777–1849).

5. In this house you willl find everything that [illegible] Wine, Bread, fish [illegible] cows, goats.

6. Rev George Butler (1774–1853), Headmaster at Harrow.

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