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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pg 118Editor’s Note76To Richard Clark5 August 1767 (Aet 19)

My dear Friend

The length of Time that has elapsed since our separation, tho' it has reminded me that I can no longer defer the taking up my pen, has afforded me nothing to employ it on. that is to say, I have no Marriages, Deaths, Births, nor Burials to inform you of; no trips to Races or Assemblies, not so much as a visit to Sr. Charles's, or Mr. Belmour's, from whence to take occasion to give you an account of the Company, together with the Compliments of the Ladies. My time on the contrary has glided on in a pleasing, tho' uniform tranquillity: I might indeed have told you that I have spent the greatest part of it between this place, Mr. Mackreth's at Ewhurst, and Mr. Mulford's at Sherborn; but to me such an account of passing time, tho' not unfrequently given, conveying no Idea but that of locomotion, would seem extremely insipid. I will rather tell you, that in my Uncle's library, which you know consists in great measure of odd Volumes, I have met with the 3 first Vols in 12mo. of Burnet's Hist. of his own times, which come down to the Revolution, and which my Uncle says, is the extent of the 1st Vol. of the Folio Edition.2 I have read it with great delight, and the greater, for that it promises to be the means of drawing our political Sentiments still nearer together. more, yea much more could I say on this subject, but that my pen which is as diabolical as your's are divine, will not permit to contract my type.3 it was with great regret, that when I came to the third Volume of the History I found the thread of it prematurely cut short. I had nothing left for it, but to betake my self to Locke's Essay: which has it〈s〉 place likewise in the Collection of un-uniform Volumes. that you know is ground not to be galloped over; I am accordingly yet on my way in the first. Poor Ld. Coke, being of a gross habit of body and no good pg 119traveller,4 did not make his way hither from Mr. Mulford's till this day: having been every day uncertain where I should be the next. My Aunt is planning Expeditions: but I own I am not fond of quitting this place, which you need not be told is the seat of my affections. thus far I had written, when I was called off by a Summons to prepare for a Journey to this place, which is the residence of Mrs. Noyes, whom you saw at Browning-hill. I have not informed any body of my writing to you, as I have no room for Compliments: which if I had, I presume would have been universal: let it suffice that very tender Enquiries have been made after you by this family. I cannot however omit, that every body at Browning-hill has repeatedly expressed to me how great would be their satisfaction to see you there. 〈from what〉 you told me, I have likewise not been without my hopes: let me know whether I may be yet permitted to entertain them. if you do not repent of your undertaking to give me an abstract of Priestly's account of the Electrical Kite,5 direct to me at the Rev Mr. Hill's at Sherborn6 near Basingstoke which is the place of Mr. Mulford's residence. I can no more, but to assure you, which yet I hope is almost unnecessary, that I am

  • Your's sincerely and affectionately              
  • Jerey. Bentham                    

pray let me know if your intentions to go to Winchester still subsist.

Southcot near Reading Aug. 5th 1767

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Editor’s Note
76. 1 U.C. clxxiii: 42. Autograph. Docketed by Richard Clarke: 'Aug. 3d. 1767. Mr. Jeremy Bentham's Letter.'
Addressed: 'Mr. Clark / at / the Old South-Sea House / Broad Street / London.' Stamped: 'reading'. Postmark: '6 AV'.
The earlier part of the letter was written from Browning Hill. The later part is written at the house of a neighbour, Mrs Noyes, whom he was visiting with his aunt.
Editor’s Note
2 Burnet's History, 12mo., vol. I–III: of the edition published in six volumes at Edinburgh in 1753.
Editor’s Note
3 The diabolical pen has forced him to write in a very large hand.
Editor’s Note
4 The reference is to either the Reports or the Institutes of Sir Edward Coke, chief justice of the Common Pleas and subsequently of the King's Bench, 1606–16.
Editor’s Note
5 Joseph Priestley's History and Present State of Electricity, with original experiments was published in 1767 and had been reviewed in the Critical Review for May.
Editor’s Note
6 The parish is properly Monks' Sherborne. Some rather unflattering comments on the incumbent are given in Bentham's letter to Samuel of 25 December 1806 (referred to in letter 8, n. 3). Cf. also letter 81.
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