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Document number: 1501
Date: 02 Nov 1826
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: TALBOT Christopher Rice Mansel
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 27th October 2013

Novr 2nd 1826.

My dear Henry

To dissipate the ennui inseparable from quarantine, though at the risk of transferring it to you I take up my pen – This is our fourth day and tomorrow we get pratique. I have touched here because there is no quarantine hence to Naples, which is my present destination, if I had gone direct from Gibraltar I should have had fifteen days, besides this place is very well worth seeing, both on account of its magnificent city, & its fortifications which are the strongest in the world. I made a very pleasant excursion into Africa about three weeks since, we landed at Tetuan <1> in Barbary, staid a week at a house in the plain which was lent to us by the Pasha of Tetuan and explored the whole neighbourhood. It is a most singular country, & abounds in extraordinary botanical & zoological specimens, of the latter I collected a few, but unfortunately we had no botanist of the party, not even the doctor. The gum cistus is the commonest plant of the country. I found figs, pomegranates, oranges grapes melons & prickly pears growing quite wild & very delicious – but the Moors are so jealous of strangers & so well armed, that I never felt quite comfortable, though we had with us an armed guard – During our stay we made a visit to the Pasha at Tetuan, which reminded me very much of the Arabian nights he received us in a magnificent apartment if so it might be called, the inner quadrangle of the house being covered at the top with a beautiful silk web, and a marble fountain playing in the middle. he had sixty servants in costume drawn up to receive us, but as we spoke no Moorish & he no English, very little satisfactory communication took place – No interview ever takes place in the[se]<2> countries without a present. Ours consisted of several loaves of sugar which were unfortunately decomposed by the upsetting of the boat which landed them, of two yards of scarlet cloth, which the same disaster had converted to a dirty crimson, and two Pontypool tea trays which last were presented in great [illegible] to the Bashaw – who was pleased to intimate to us that he considered it very Little – during our sojourn we shot 40 brace of partridges quails rabbits &c We had a passage of eleven days here from Gibraltar, whence we sailed in company with Mr Lambton’s <3> yacht the Jackalantern. but we parted company in a gale off Carthagena, & I expect she must be at Naples by this time. He was not on board himself, having proceeded thither by land. We were only six days from England to Cadiz, where we staid three weeks – In a few days I start for Messina & Naples where I shall be glad to hear from you –

Ever truly yours
C R M Talbot.

PS. I have just seen Mr Phillipps who was John Strangways <4> travelling companion in Egypt, and who informs me he is still at Cairo, and by all accounts likely to remain there some time longer he said nothing but looked as if there was some little temptation in the case beyond the mere beauties of the country & climate. Be that as it may – he must leave it before the plague commences & then he will come here where there are letters for him –

[address panel:]
W. H. F. Talbot Esqre
31 Sackville St
per packet


1. City at north-central Morocco.

2. Text torn away under seal.

3. Possibly John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham (1792–1840).

4. John George Charles Fox Strangways (1803–1859), MP.

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