Jeremy Bentham

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 Note2863To Sir Samuel Bentham13 April 1822 (Aet 74)

  • Q.S.P. Saty 13th 1822
  • 1 P.M.

I Miss Wright takes her departure at 5. I have so many things to dispatch by this opportunity, and so little time for it that you perhaps [will] not have so much from me this time as I had from you by yours of pg 57the 5th instant:2 received by me not till the 11th: it was stopped perhaps to be read.3

II The one it answers was sent the 2d or 3d:4 three or four days after that I sent you another:5 it was in this other I sent you a copy of a letter of Miss Gordon's to me.

III 'If my Berry Lodge6 titles were deposited with the Martins's, perhaps they would advance me sufficient to enable me to wait for the rise of the funds.'—A genuine Sam Benthamism. When plan was in hand, 1. why could not you as well tell me where they were these title deeds? I thought they had been already in the Martins hands. 2. Why could not you as well tell me what it was you wanted, to enable you so to wait: now must I have the plague of asking you and scolding you, and you the inconvenience of waiting till you have been taught to speak intelligibly, for fear of interrupting for a moment the felicity of an Epicurean God.7

'I found myself under the necessity of drawing on them for £25 for my expences here and perhaps I must draw for a little more before I can decide on any other means.' Hearing from Miss Wright that English Bank Notes not only are employable at Paris but even bear a premium, I hope before I close this letter to be able to inclose in it a £10 note. I should have added another to it: but under the circumstances that hang upon the matter, as to whether it answers, and what the amount may be of your wants, I have delayed the 2d. note till after I have heard from you: for, by her means we have, for letters of larger size than you write, a means of correspondence without expence and much more secure against inspection than the ordinary one. So long as she stays at Paris (and she is not likely to leave it soon) I shall have in her a most trusty, intelligent, and diligent commissionaire. She is in petticoats (and you will see they are no small ones) quite the man of business.

'Invitation to see your friends here'—a pretty sort of an invitation.8 I was 74 last birthday. No time can I afford for going to see a friend who lives at three miles distance: nor for seeing any friend whatever at my own house except at meal times. Miss Wright was regularly turned out of the room as soon as ever the coffee was down her throat whenever any body else was of the party: so, if asked, she will confess. She can and will tell you more about me in one hour than I could tell you in 50, by scribbling under the reproach of conscience. I have not time to walk like another man pg 58for exercise. For ¾ of an hour I make half-walks half-runs leaving many a horse behind me, to the no small amusement of the soldiers and others, who give me smile for smile.

I have not sent to Martin's your order for the transferring to me the £350 odd. But you must take care not to die before you have paid me, for if you do, as your pensions will have ceased, I shall go upon the Parish.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
2863. 1 BL IX. 607–8. Autograph. Colls's Journal (BL XXVII. 99) records that Wright left for Paris with this letter from Bentham to his brother on 13 April 1822.
Editor’s Note
2 Samuel Bentham's letter to Bentham of 5 April 1822 is missing, but Bentham quotes from it during the course of this reply.
Editor’s Note
3 Bentham believed French officials were opening his mail: see, for instance, Letters 2724, 2728, 2748, 2822, Correspondence, x.
Editor’s Note
4 i.e. Letter 2861.
Editor’s Note
5 i.e. Letter 2862.
Editor’s Note
6 Samuel Bentham's residence near Gosport.
Editor’s Note
7 According to the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341–270 bc), the gods enjoyed a blissful existence, untroubled, and unconstrained by anger or favour: see Epicurus, Principal Doctrines, I.
Editor’s Note
8 Bentham in fact visited Paris in 1825 at the age of 77.
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