Thomas Wright Hill

Catherine Fuller (ed.), The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 11: January 1822 to June 1824

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Editor’s Note3056From Thomas Wright Hill8 March 1824

  • Hazelwood near Birmingham
  • Monday March 8 1824

Dear Sir

The editor of the Hazelwood Magazine will acknowledge your kindness to himself and to us through him—I can not however forego the opportunity which is offered by the parcel to you for expressing the strong sense of your goodness felt by my self and my family. Were we to vent our feelings even upon every new occasion on which an act of regard on your part calls them forth we should become troublesome intruders pg 360upon your time, that most valuable portion of public property, for such have you made it—You must however indulge us with a few minutes for the purpose now and then—My son Matthew informs us that you have it in purpose to place two Greeks under our care for the sake of their acquiring the free spirit which it is our glory to infuse2—Be assured that we feel the honour done us, most keenly, and that if any thing could make us or ought to make us partially active in an individual charge it would be the consideration of how much is thus placed in our hands and by whom. We have lately received a boy through the recommendation of that ardent philanthropist Mr Owen of Lanark and we know to whom we stand indebted for his good opinion—A negociation is on foot respecting an English boy from the Isle of Appadonia where we find ourselves made known by the excellent Colonel Stanhope3—Our valued Mr Thompson has been speaking of us at Cork and we know that Mr Place indefatigable as he is in promoting the cause of human happiness in other directions finds time to speak of Hazelwood—The time I perceive is not far off when at least half our population will have been furnished indirectly or directly by yourself. It gives me in common with freedom's friends in general great satisfaction to find the good seed which you have sown so long ago promising to yield a crop even in England where it might have been justly suspected of having fallen by the way side.4 Should the abolition of those laws about usury which you to the satisfaction of every reader of common sense have proved to be not only worthless but mischievous—Should this good end be thwarted by the members of that Assembly whose heads are always in the clouds, and who there forsooth are called the upper house, yet the triumph of truth and science as regards the mass of the people will be highly gratifying and encouraging if not complete.5 I have been much amused, interested and I will add instructed by a work entitled 'Not Paul but Jesus' written by an able fellow of whom it is whispered you know something more than the generality of readers—I never before saw half so far into the nature and value of internal evidence, and can not conceal my fears that should such a course of criticism be followed ad extremum,6 more negations might be established than Mr Gamaliel Smith professes to have in sight—I have however gone through the book only once. A pg 361second reading which is not yet complete may lead me further into the author's views.

Will you permit me my dear Sir to communicate my apprehensions respect〈ing〉 a most valuable man who you know—Mr Buck〈ing〉ham— He seems from the accounts I get to be serious〈ly〉 unwell—And I fear that the cause is excessive exertion This must not be suffered to pass without notice—Rapidly as the assertors of truth in opposition to wickedness in high places are increasing in strength and in number— Such a one as he can not be spared, I hope some friend will be able to influence him so far as to curtail his undertakings, until they fall under the compas[s] of reasonable strength—How you have accomplished so much or the half so much as you have brought out must ever be a wonder! but alas not every good man has a mind of steel in a body of steel.7 That the human race may long have the benefit of your living labours is the sincere wish of

  •                                         Dear Sir
  •                                           Yours faithfully
  •                                             Thomas Wright Hill

P.S. My Son Rowland asks me to apologize to you for his neglect respecting some plans of the house8—Oh that the original could be honoured with your inspection—These plans are so nearly finished that he had hopes of sending them by this parcel—

He finds however now that his views in this respect can not be accomplished though he hopes to send them by the next parcel that will go from us to London. I have a little volume of yours upon Logic which if you can permit I am anxious to keep a little longer. Thanks for the loan of it as for a multitude of favours besides.9

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
3056. 1 UC x. 146. Autograph. Addressed: 'Jeremy Bentham Esqr / Queen's Place Square / Westminster'.
Editor’s Note
2 For details of the two Greek boys educated at Hazelwood School see Letter 3055 & n. 2.
Editor’s Note
3 Neither boy has been identified, but for Stanhope's comments on recruiting boys for Hazelwood School see Letter 3025.
Editor’s Note
4 Luke 8: 5,
Editor’s Note
5 The Usury Laws Repeal Bill, proposed by Arthur Onslow (1759–1833), MP for Guildford, had been debated in the House of Commons on 16 and 27 February 1824. On the latter occasion Bentham's Defence of Usury had been praised above the work of Admit Smith: see Parliamentary Debates (1824) x. 157–65, 551–71, and esp. 561, The Bill was dropped on 8 April 1824 and so never reached the House of Lords, ibid., xi. 283–319. For Bentham's comments on Onslow's previous attempt at the reform of the usury laws in May 1816 see Letter 2345, Correspondence, viii.
Editor’s Note
6 i.e. 'to its conclusion'
Editor’s Note
7 Perhaps Thomas Wright Hill had in mind Livy's description of Marcus Porcius Cato (234 149 bc), Roman Censor and Senator, in Ab urbe condita, xxxix. xl, 11; In parsimonia, in patientia laboris periculique ferrei prope corporis animique, i.e. 'In his economy, in his endurance of toil and danger, he was of almost iron-like body and mind'.
Editor’s Note
8 It is not clear when the plans were sent, but ground plans of the four floors of Hazelwood School are at UC xviii. 183–5,187, dated 1823, and a front elevation is at xviii. 186, dated 1824. Rowland Hill sent further information about the School in May 1824: see Letter 3103.
Editor’s Note
9 According to Colls's Journal (BL XXVII. 124), Bentham had lent a copy of Logicœ Artis Compendium to Matthew Davenport Hill to pass to his father on 11 July 1823. The work by Robert Sanderson (1587–1663), Bishop of Lincoln, first published in 1618, was a recension of Aristotle's logic, and used by Bentham, while at Oxford: see Letter 28, Correspondence, i. 361 at Oxford: see Letter 28, Correspondence, i.
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