Jeremy Bentham

T. L. S. Sprigge (ed.), The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 1: 1752–76

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Editor’s Note99To Jeremiah Bentham15 September 1773 (Aet 25)

Totton Wednesday Sept. 15 1773

Honoured Sir

I have taken up the resolution at last not to make the length of my neglect in not writing to you a plea, as is sometimes the case in matters of this sort, for omitting that duty altogether. I have thought to have had to congratulate you upon the acquisition of so pg 161agreeable a companion at Matlock as Mr. Lind,2 and intended to have taken that opportunity for a letter; but when the time came, he could not prevail upon himself to leave the scene at such a distance, while the fate of his friends the Dantzickers, continued yet in suspense, little as the probability was become, of his being able to render them any service.3

On Saturday fortnight Sam came up from Chatham: we intended to have sat out on the Monday: but as I happen'd to have no sleep the night before, I did not think it prudent to undertake an expedition so laborious as we proposed our's should be under such a circumstance. The next morning however (Tuesday) we sat out a little after 5 and got to Whitchurch between 8 and 9 after travelling 36 miles on foot, whereof 5 were out of the way, owing to one of those mistakes which, where it is possible, you know I always make. pg 162We took the wrong road from Basingstoke, and so had to cross the country from Popham lane, through Steventon etc. to Overton.

I don't know whether it was before your departure that my Uncle had given us an invitation. He treated us with great civility and kindness: and owing to his pressing we staid till the Monday following (last Monday se'nnight) instead of one or 2 days as we had proposed. He entertained us (Sam in particular) with the sight of Mr. Portal's Paper-Mills4; and we were to have gone to Baghurst, to take a view once more of the old place, but could not get permission of the weather. Mrs. Riley was there, which I was pleased to find as I was afraid of his putting himself to the inconvenience of sending her away, and it was a kind of confidence that may serve for the future to banish a number of little disagreable reserves. She appeared in every respect as mistress of the house and once or twice according to Sam's observation, the words 'my dear', escaped her: but the apartments, as you may imagine, above stairs were distinct.5

On Monday sennight we got to this place—we made a day of it for the sake of shewing Sam what was to be seen at Winchester. The Dr. received us very cordially notwithstanding he had been to London for some days without calling on me not long before we quitted it: a behaviour which I should have construed as a repeal of the invitation, in any body but him. He is grown very religious, very recluse, very slovenly and very oeconomical. He has however made a present (or rather indeed a loan) to Sam of a variety of curious tools, to some value; and to me a sort of general offer (which probably will not amount to much except as a testimony of his disposition) of any that I will select out of about half of his books that stand apart from the rest, as he shall have less and less occasion as he intimates for any prophane books except medical etc.

I have taken advantage of the neighbourhood of Southampton to bathe every morning except one: which was indeed a principal inducement with me to this excursion, in hopes of improving the pg 163state of my health which for some time past has not been altogether what I could wish it. I find it thus far of service that it reestablishes my stomach for the day after it has suffer'd as it will do by my continuing in bed a few minutes after six: but I do not perceive as yet that it has done much towards giving such a permanent tone to the fibres as to prevent that effect's taking place. Sam threshes hard at Euclid, upon a new plan of my invention, and takes the opportunity of pressing me into his service. He desires me to tell you that he fears there is no probability of Capt. Knight's promotion. We both beg to be remember'd with all respects /and affection/ to my Mother and Far, whose amusements we hope have suffer'd no interruption by the Surgeon. The paper, which is the largest the house happens to afford, will just allow me to subscribe myself Dr. Sr.

  • Your's dutifully and affectionately         
  • Jere:y Bentham                         

We think to be in London by the end of next week.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
99. 1 B.M. I: 261–262. Autograph. Docketed by Jeremiah Bentham: 'Son Jeremy Lr. datd. Totton Hants 15 Sepr. 1773.'
Addressed: 'To / Jeremiah Bentham Esqr. / Queen's Square Place / Westminster.' Stamped: 'Southampton'. Postmark: '17 SE'.
This letter is written from Totton, Hants., where John Mulford had bought a house in 1771 (cf. letter 93). Bentham describes a visit Samuel and he had first paid to their uncle George Grove at Whitchurch, not far from the old family house, Browning Hill.
Editor’s Note
2 For John Lind (1737–81) and his family see letter 12, n. 1.
In the autumn of 1761, after taking his m.a. at Oxford, Lind, who had been appointed by the Levant Company as their chaplain at Constantinople, accompanied Henry Grenville, the newly appointed Ambassador, to Turkey. He was in Constantinople from March 1761 until July 1766; but the latter part of his stay was marred by a violent quarrel with John Murray, who had succeeded Grenville as Ambassador in 1765. Lind lost his post through 'being too agreeable to His Excellency's mistress' —though Murray's version of the affair was somewhat different (cf. P.R.O., S.P. 105/119, 110/87). Lind repaired in 1766 to Warsaw where he dropped his clerical title and became tutor to the king's nephew, Stanislas Poniatowski. He was soon noticed by King Stanislas, who made him governor of a school for cadets and a privy-councillor. Late in 1772 or early in 1773 he returned to England with a pension from the king. In effect he acted as his minister, though being a British subject he could not formally adopt the title. His anonymous Letters concerning the present state of Poland, attacking the 1772 partition, appeared in the latter part of that year and early in 1773. He was probably also the author of The Polish Partition Illustrated, a series of satirical dialogues published in several languages during 1773 and 1774 (cf. D. B. Horn, British Public Opinion and the First Partition of Poland, Edinburgh, 1945, 29–31.) He had many influential friends, including Lord Mansfield and Lord North, the Prime Minister. Lord Mansfield assisted in his admission to Lincoln's Inn, and he was called to the Bar in 1776. In 1775 he published Remarks on the Principal Acts of the Thirteenth Parliament of Great Britain, which included a defence of the Government's American policies. Bentham had helped him to compose it. On the outbreak of the American War Lind wrote An Answer to the Declaration of the American Congress, which won a pension for his sisters.
From 1773 Bentham and Lind were close friends. Lind gave Bentham reports of, and some entry into, the eminent society in which he moved. Bentham gave away the bride—Mary Welch—at Lind's marriage on 31 December 1774 at St. George the Martyr, Queen Square, Holborn. Lind died in Lamb's Conduit Street in January 1781.
Cf. D.N.B. and Bowring, x, 55–64.
Editor’s Note
3 The 1772 partition of Poland by which Russia, Prussia and Austria obtained large slices of Polish territory was formally accepted by the reluctant Polish seym in 1773. Danzig was not among the spoils, but was now separated from Poland by Prussian territory. Lind's correspondence with the British Government about Danzig and other Polish matters is in P.R.O., S.P. 88/117.
Editor’s Note
4 Joseph Portal (d. 1795), son of Henri de Portal (1690–1747), a Huguenot refugee naturalised in 1711, had succeeded his father in business as a paper-maker at South Stoneham and Laverstoke, near Whitchurch, where G. W. Grove had an estate. Portal had purchased the Laverstoke estate in 1759 and was high sheriff of Hampshire in 1765.
Editor’s Note
5 Mrs Elizabeth Riley or Ragg was George Woodward Grove's housekeeper at Whitchurch, and his mistress, by whom he had two daughters, Ann (b. c. 1761) and Susannah (b. c. 1772). They later took the name of Grove and are both mentioned in their father's will. Ann Grove married Lloyd Williams, vicar of Whitchurch, and died sometime before 6 August 1788 (cf. B.M. XVII: 61, 255).
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