12 July. 1822.
My dear Talbot.
As two fellows are bellowing Auld Lang Syne in my ears, the louder because I will not be their second (that is their third), I must content myself with a very few lines, contented if those shall have a proper regard to Syntax or sentiment. I thank you for thinking of my business; I ought to have done so some days since, but, (to be honest while I may,) I forgot it. As I see no very great harm in the worst that can happen, inasmuch as a "repulse" cannot be esteemed very "Sordid" where it must necessarily be the fate of so many, I flatter myself I am acting prudently in accepting your friendly offer of proposing me at "the Travellers",-<1> I have heard that some qualifications as to distance of journey are requisite; lest that shd be the case, I put you in mind that I have been [illegible deletion] as far as Sicily, (being induced thereto by the laudable ambition of a Travelling Bachelor),<2>and even to reaching the scene of Empedocles' fate. <3> Pray shall I ever hear anything of the result? - N'importe. <4> -
I envy you not only your projected journey, but also the chance you have of meeting our friend Worsley <5> in the winter. How happy should I be if he shall then add Coll. Trin. Soc.<6> to his name. Coddington <7> has been completely discomfited by the dread of a fever which has made some ravages at St John's, & went away this morning to Ireland. Some others had previously set him the example of alarm: which has however been lost upon Worsley & myself, not to say Peacock,<8> Whewell, <9> &c. - I am sorry to say that copies of the Prize Exercises were very scarce this year;<10> I cd not procure one of the English Poems: however I have persuaded Worsley to entrust his "Palmyra",<11> to accompany my copy of the Greek ode & Epigrams,<12> & Porson <13> to be sent by the Coach tomorrow morning, as you go so soon & there is no London Post tomorrow: but we expect that you are to keep them to be restored to us at a convenient season, as the
ode & E Greek & Latin are worth having for their own sake, and the English for its excessive badness, if I may venture to say so. An additional present of books are [sic] to be given to a Mr Wimberley of St John's<14> for his Roma Shakespeare Iambics. -
I wish you good luck with your new method of measuring heights, tho' I fancy you, peripateted [sic] as you are, will be tired before you sum the Sines from bottom to summit of Mt Rosa.<15>
Farewell and believe me, dear Talbot -Ever faithfully Yours
1. The Traveller's Club was established in London in 1819 and moved to its present Pall Mall quarters in 1832. Its members (appropriately) had all travelled abroad, and brought in foreign visitors and diplomats.
2. In 1821, Thorp had been awarded a university Travelling Scholarship for junior Bachelors of Arts and this had taken him to Sicily.
3. Empedocles ( ca.490 BC-430 BC), Greek philosopher, statesman, poet, and self-styled god, who lept into the volcanic crater of Mount Etna to convince people of his divinity.
4. It doesn't matter.
5. Rev Thomas Worsley (1797-1885), theologian & Master of Downing College, Cambridge. In 1822, he was awarded a university Travelling Scholarship for junior Bachelors of Arts - he and WHFT might meet during their travels.
6. Abbreviated Latin for Fellow (socius) of Trinity College, Cambridge. Worsley was lost to Trinity when he became a Fellow of Downing College in 1824 and its Master from 1836 until the end of his life.
7. Rev Henry Coddington (1798-1845), natural philosopher, fellow & tutor, Trinity College, Cambridge; d. in Rome.
8. Prof George Peacock (1791-1858), mathematician.
9. Rev William Whewell (1794-1866), Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, Professor and natural philosopher.
10. The prizes comprised the Chancellor’s Medals and similar annual university prizes. Copies of the set question and the winning compositions or translations were later published by the university, but in 1822 there was a dearth of published copies - see Doc. No: 00059.
11. In 1822 the Chancellor’s Medal for English for an ode or heroic verse had the subject “Palmyra”. The winner was John Henry Bright (1801-1873) of St John’s College and Worsley has lent his copy.
12. Sir William Browne’s Medal for a Greek ode was won in 1822 by Winthrop Mackworth Praed (1802-1839), of Trinity College, poet. Praed also won the medal for Greek and Latin Epigrams. The medal for a Latin ode was not awarded.
13. The prize established to honor Richard Porson (1759-1808), Greek scholar and editor of numerous texts. In 1822, the Porson Prize for translation into Greek verse was awarded to William Foster Barham (1802-1848) of Trinity College, later a Fellow. WHFT himself had won the Porson prize in 1820.
14. Charles Wimberley (1800-1876), clergyman, including Private Chaplain to Lord Auckland in India.
15. 'Peripated as you are' was a fabricated phrase, probably meaning 'given all your wandering about'. Mt. Rosa was the highest mountain in Switzerland. WHFT had obtained a theodolite that he felt would be peculiarly useful for measuring heights - see his brief description to Capt Feilding in Doc. No: 00992 . He was in Switzerland by September - see Doc. No: 01005. It is not clear whether he visited Mt Rosa, but see Franz Xaver von Zach's October reply concerning it: Doc. No: 01012.