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Letter from Charles Kemble to George Peacock

8 Craven Hill, Bayswater.—Thanks him for the interest he has shown in his son John, whom he has instructed to behave better. He has decided to restrict his allowance to £200 a year, and to remove him from Trinity if he exceeds it.



8 Craven Hill, Bayswater
Feby 10th 1827.

My dear Sir,

I was in hopes that the present week would have afforded me sufficient leisure to pay you a short visit at Cambridge, that I might personally express to you the very lively gratitude which I feel for the great interest you have shewn in my son’s {1} welfare; but I am disappointed, and must therefore entreat your acceptance of my written acknowledgment of it, untill an opportunity shall offer of fulfilling my intention which, believe me, I shall eagerly embrace. I have, in consequence of your last letter, said every thing my mind could suggest to convince John of his error and to induce him to adopt a line of conduct more conducive to his own reputation and the satisfaction of his parents and of yourself, my dear Sir; and if it were not exacting too much of you, it would be doing both my son and me a most essential service, if you would inform him that I, having made diligent enquiries upon the subject, and having that the sons of many distinguished and noble families have passed through the University with honor to themselves upon two hundred pounds a year, I have determined, henceforward, to limit his allowance to that sum; and that if he exceeds it, I shall feel it my duty to erase his name from the books of Trinity, and leave him to battle his way through the world with others who, like himself, may have been foolish and wicked enough to squander the talents and advantages with which it has pleased God to bless them—pray excuse me for the task which I now request you to perform it; it cannot, I am certain, be an agreeable {1} one, but from the uncommon interest which you have expressed towards my son I feel a conviction that you will confer this additional obligation upon him who must always consider himself already

My dear Sir, | Your most obliged & obedient Servant
C. Kemble.

[Direction:] George Peacock Esqre | &c &c &c | Trinity College | Cambridge


Postmarked 12 February 1827.

{1} The writer’s son, John Mitchell Kemble, later a distinguished Anglo-Saxon scholar, was admitted at Trinity on 26 June 1824 and assigned Robert Wilson Evans as his tutor, but it is clear that Evans shared responsibility for him with Peacock, his partner in one of the two tutorial sides between 1823 to 1835 (see Admissions to Trinity College, Cambridge, vol. iv, 1801 to 1850, p. v).

{2} The second ‘e’ is blotted, perhaps deliberately.

Peacock, George (1791-1858), mathematician and university reformer

Exercise book with diary by R. C. Trevelyan

Trevelyan has filled in the sections printed on the front: 'Written by' with 'R.C.T'; 'Commenced' with 27 August 1923 [looks like 8]; 'School' with 'Ἡ ΓΗ' ['The Earth' in Ancient Greek]. Notes in his first entry that he has been reading Ponsonby's book ["English Diaries" by Arthur Ponsonby] which has inspired him to start this diary.

Mentions of Mabel [Godwin?], Marian [?], Alice, Bert and Bobbie Elms; Bessie and Julian; his parents; Miles Malleson and his wife [Joan] and uncle [Philip Malleson]; O[liver] Simon at the "Fleuron" (who asks him to translate the "Acts of the Apostles", to be illustrated by Paul Nash); Miss Ewing [later wife of Walter Rea], Nicky Mariano; Bernard and Mary Berenson; Frances and Arthur Dakyns (visiting the Ponsonbys at Fernhurst); his brother George (who has written to the "Times" saying the matter between Greece and Italy should be referred to the Powers not the League of Nations); Margaret and Ralph Vaughan Williams and their mother; Mrs [Jane] Russell Rea; Irene [Cooper Willis or Noel-Baker]; 'Miss [blank left], with whom Rennier had an affair. She is now private secretary to [Henry?] Hamilton Fyfe'; Francis Birrell; Clifford and Joan Allen; 'an Italian-French lady' whom Trevelyan had met at I Tatti; Barbara Strachey; [Simon] Bussy [paintings by]; John Rodker 'and his child [Joan] by Sonia [Cohen]'; a 'nice rather muddle-headed young man.. Labour candidate for Petersfield' [Dudley Aman]; Bertrand Russell.

Works on: translations of Theocritus; his 'Flood poem' ["The Deluge"]; possible continuation of "Pterodamozels"; review of books on metre by Lascelles Abercrombie and E[gerton Smith] (Smith is the first person he has 'attacked' in a review; wonders if Desmond MacCarthy will think his comments 'too strong); review of Sturge Morre's "Judas" for Leonard Woolf at the "Nation"; his 'Pandora play'.

Reads (as well as Ponsonby, and sometimes with Julian): the "Manchester Guardian", Spenser's "Mother Hubbard ['s Tale]", Epicharmus, "Henry IV pt 1", Phaedrus, Macaulay, Aristophanes, the 'Summer number' of Julian's "Hurtenham Magazine", Lucian, the "Mikado"; Ssuma Ch'ien [Sima Qian]; Hastings' "Dictionary of the Bible" [at the London Library]; a "Classical Review" with Duff and Bailey on Lucretius; Molly MacCarthy's autobiography ["A Nineteenth-Century Childhood", 'Very charming']

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