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Thomas Joseph Talbot
Born 14 February, 1727; died at Hotwells, near Bristol, 24 April, 1795. Brother of the fourteenth Earl of Shrewsbury, and of Bishop James Talbot, he was sent to Twyford School, and thence to Douai (1739). In 1745-46, together with his brother James, he made the grand tour under the tutelage of Alban Butler. He returned to Douai to study theology; and after ordination he spent some time with Alban Butler at Norwich. In 1754 he was placed at Brockhampton. On the expulsion of the Jesuits from France, Talbot was named President of the College of St. Omer's by the committee of the Parliament of Paris (August, 1762), a post which he accepted only after much hesitation and with great reluctance. He was consecrated to the titular See of Acon (March, 1766) as coadjutor to Bishop Hornyold, whom he succeeded in the government of the Midland District (26 December, 1778). His rule fell in a time of transition, when the desire and prospect of relief from the Penal Laws led many prominent Catholics to adopt a policy of excessive compromise, the period of the Catholic Committees and the Cisalpine Club, for the difficulties of which his peaceful character was but ill-adapted. Although he joined the three other vicars Apostolic in condemning the proposed oath in 1789, he hesitated to promulgate the condemnation in his district, and in the second condemnation which the other vicars Apostolic published in 1791 he thought it neither expedient nor justifiable to concur. The explanation of this action is to be found in his conviction that peace and concord could only be restored to the distracted Catholics by means of mutual concession and charity, a sentiment which almost all his letters manifest. Certainly the most memorable, as also the most permanent, act of his administration was his invitation to Dr. John Bew (November, 1793) to take charge of the mission of Oscott and to undertake there the training of students for the priesthood, whereby was made the beginning of Oscott College. Deeply characteristic of the man is his only recorded literary publication, a small treatise on "Almsgiving" which he translated from the French. He was buried in the vault under Trenchard Street church; in 1906 his remains were removed to Downside Abbey.
Brady, Episcopal Succession (London, 1877); Kirk, Biographies of English Catholics (London, 1909); Ward, Dawn of Catholic Revival in England (2 vols., London, 1909); Idem, History of St. Edmund's College (London, 1893); Burton, Life of Bishop Challoner (2 vols., London, 1909); Amherst, History of Catholic Emancipation (London, 1886); Idem, History of Oscott in Oscotian; Knox, Douai Diaries.
J. L. Whitfield.