Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 2: 1777–80

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Editor’s Note216To Samuel Bentham12 May 1777 (Aet 29)

I ought by rights to have written on Saturday night to have told you that that evening came the conveyance of the Land from W. By the hand I imagine it is of his own engrossing. I have not yet looked it over so can not certify to you whether it is free or no from the blunders which have been but too frequent in the whole business.

The day before I received a letter from Mrs. W. announcing the foregoing. It contained nothing material, and was only an answer to one I had written to send her by her husband, letting her know of our reconciliation with Q.S.P. and at last sent by the Post, upon W. not calling on me as he said he would.

How came Mrs. D. to tell her she would shew you and me her letters? It will be a restraint to her, she will not write in future with so much freedom.

pg 51Any advice I could give you about the manner of informing Mr. D. of the state of W's affairs is not worth a straw.2 It may be right to give him an explicit account for the reasons you mention. As to his general character you have not had quite so good means of informing yourself of it as I have. As far as I can judge he has not any fixed principles of dishonesty, but rather wants steadiness and consistency. I have always found him very tractable and ready to do implicitly whatever I proposed to him: but not sensible enough to the ill consequences of the reputation of a want of punctuality, to use the diligence he ought and might have used in performing it. As to D's recommending him in very strong terms to Ld. H. I think you need not be much afraid of it. Mr. D. is not apt to err on that side. I have no notion of W.'s engaging in any active plan of dishonesty for the sake of amassing money: when he fails, I believe it is only through weakness upon his being hard pressed: so that I should think he might be very well trusted in any place that would afford him a livelyhood. If I were myself in Mr. D's place I would not scruple to hazard the recommending him.

I will leave the business of writing to Mr. D. to you: for several reasons, one of which is your knowing his dispositions and so forth better than I do.

I have nothing particular to write to Mr. D. at present tell him of my having received his packet and thank him tell him that I have already written to him by two Mails that of the 1st. of Feby. I believe and that of the 1st. of April besides the letter to which his was an answer: that I shall write again without fail by the mail the 1st. of June: and that I hope he continues his pious resolutions of sending me the N.Y. Papers.

Suppose you were to send him D. Hume's life? I would then get Wilson another copy. Suppose also you were to get Mrs. D. to transcribe for him any little scraps there may be in my late letters relative to that subject or any other chit-chat in which you suppose he might take an interest. Any thing of that sort would probably be a great treat to him; to judge from what he says in his letters.

If this vessel is a private one, or a mere transport of no force it is very probable it may be taken. This you should consider: for which reason it might be prudent to send a duplicate by the Mail.

If you and Mrs. D. approve of this, you may begin your transcriptions with some passages of the presents.

Tell him there does not seem now to be any ground to apprehend pg 52any disturbances in the E. Indies, as there seemed to be when I wrote last to him.

I commission you to whip Mrs. D. or Mrs. Knight or Mrs. anybody whomsoever it may concern. Of three which I have tried out of the 4 shirts sent back to me only one is wearable : the two others might as well be worn by a Rhinoceros as me. The collars will not button round my neck by ½ an Inch.

At odd hours I have been reading a good deal about E. India matters. I conclude with the Eastern conclusion, (a much better one than our's)

'What can I say more?'

Linc. Inn Monday May 12. 1777.

Wilson begins to long for Battle. He vows he will go if I will, the very next day after term is over: viz: the 19th of next month.

I open'd the matter to Q.S.P. yesterday when he called here. The communication came at rather an unlikely season, just after he had been telling me (upon my interrogating him) of the ill success of the scheme he had been planning of going to board with Parson Darling at Wargrave near Henley upon Thames where Mr. Mulford lived once.3 I believe I told you of it when you were in town. The Parson would not so much as accept his invitation to come up to town: so that put an end to it at once. The said Parson knows his character I imagine, pretty well from Mr. Mulford and from other quarters.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
216. 1 B.M. II: 123–124. Autograph.
Addressed: 'To / Mr. Bentham / at his Majesty's Dock Yard / near Rochester / Single Sheet.' Postmark: '12 MA'.
Editor’s Note
2 Joseph Davies was to be informed of the disastrous state of Wise's affairs, partly in the hope that he might find him some employment under Lord Howe.
Editor’s Note
3 Cf. letter 64 and n. 3.
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