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Document number: 59
Date: Sat 1822
Dating: summer vacation, 1822 - see Doc no 00995
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: WORSLEY Thomas
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 10th January 2011

My Dear Talbot

Coddington is gone home partly to see the governor<1> & partly to escape the fever which fever I shall entirely despise & stay here to the end of the vacation–<2> such at least is my present intention if it changes I will advertize you – The prizes are very scarce so value them – The Printers devil with a load for “heads of houses full bachelors &c was waylaid & upset at the entrance of the senate house by the rude canaille of bluegowns & Mr Vice was obliged to construe as best he could without a book–<3> I got an English<4> & Thomas Thope [sic]<5> a Greek one in the scramble, like you have<6>

Success to the new method Whewell <7> says the centenary will bother it or in more scientific phraseology vitiate the results.

Yours Ever
T. Worsley

From Trin Coll. Camb <8> Saturday Morng

W. H. F. Talbot Esq
31 Sackville St


1. Rev Henry Coddington (1798-1845), natural philosopher, fellow & tutor, Trinity College, Cambridge; d. in Rome.

2. By 12 July 1822, Coddington had fled the fever - see Doc. No: 00995.

3. WHFT would have been conversant with his friend's inside references to Cambridge. The printer’s devil was a common term for apprentices, in this case, one who worked for John Smith, the official printer to the University at the time. The University prizes for compositions or translations in Greek, Latin and English were highly valued at the time, and the winners’ names were published together with the question or set piece and the winning answer. The apprentice was delivering the official printed results for Heads of College, BAs, qualified graduates &c. His load has been upset by a rabble (canaille) of undergraduates wearing blue gowns, the colour worn at Trinity and Caius Colleges and elsewhere. The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Henry Godfrey DD (d. 1833), President of Queen’s College, Cambridge, needed the full printed details for a presentation ceremony at the University Senate House but had to struggle on with an incomplete script. For Worsley at Trinity, Bluegowns may well be the generic term for undergraduates in general. After all this, there was a shortage of printed results and Worsley has only a copy of the English prizewinning effort and Thorp and Talbot of the Greek.

4. The writer means that he has a copy of the winning entry for the Chancellor’s Medal for English for 1822 by John Henry Bright (1801-1873) of St John’s College, Cambridge, on the subject “Palmyra”.

5. Thomas Thorp (1797-1877), Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge; Archdeacon of Bristol. He secured the Chancellor's Classical Medal in 1819 and the Member's Prizes (awarded by the MPs) in 1820 and 1821. Here, Worsley means that Thorp has a copy of an 1822 Greek winning entry, same as the copy WHFT has. This could be the winner of Sir William Browne’s Medal for a Greek Ode for 1822, Winthrop Mackworth Praed (1802-1839), or, it could be the winner of the Porson Prize for translation into Greek verse for 1822, William Foster Barham (1802-1848) of Trinity College, later Fellow. If the writer meant the Porson, he would surely have said so, more economic, more precise and the habitual designation.

6. WHFT secured the Porson Prize for his translation of Macbeth into Greek in 1820 (see Doc. No: 00885).

7. Rev William Whewell (1794–1866), Welsh Professor and natural philosopher.

8. Trinity College, Cambridge.

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