Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 7: January 1802 to December 1808

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Editor’s Note2003To Samuel Bentham23 September 1808 (Aet 60)

Barrow Green near Oxted 23 Septr 1808

Virtue would consist in sending to Q.S.P. not later than the day after you receive this Fox's History2 for the use of Col. Burr who is quartered at Q.S.P. vibrating between Q.S.P. and Barrow Green, N.B. Lady Holland is an American3 and a Cousin of his 1st or 2d I don't know which or how. I inclose a letter of his in which he speaks of his visit to you.4 If you have been able tofind the things he wants, so much the better. New Orleans he speaks of as affording an additional chance for Panopticon viz. in addition to South Caro- pg 551lina. Your letter to him5 came to him while here, and of course I saw it. I have since had the satisfaction of hearing that Mrs B. and the brats are much better: well, I hope, by this time.

He is interesting to me, in a very high degree, and in a great variety of ways, that will afford us, I mean you and me, a good deal of amusement, when we meet. I have all along kept my eyes closed6 fixed upon him with a view to trustworthiness, and all manner of indications, public and private concurr in satisfying me of it.

Mrs B. will regret, I think the not having seen Mm. He is continually trumpeting about the brats. He says you seemed a good deal preoccupied with business rolling in your head, and which (I suppose) was what sent you to Sheerness. I am afraid it was the cursed Petersburgh Ship-building-mission accounts.

I expect to have a 4to Vol. about Evidence ready to put to press upon my return to Q.S.P. say the middle of next month.

Dumont is gone to Knill a place partly in Herefordshire and partly in Wales, belonging to Lady Romilly's Brother,7 where he meets the Romillys and Wilson.

This Letter of B.'s was written upon a new invented Copying-plan invented and sold by a Wedgwood in Oxford Road, a Nephew of the great potters.8 I find it performs with great facility.

If your acquaintance with the Swedish Major with the unpronouncable name beginning with an S.9 be sufficient to warrant it, a letter from you to him to introduce Burr will be a source of entertainment to both. S. is a rural economist, and Burr can tell him how those matters stand in America, as well as all others. (This was entirely an idea of mine; not of his.) Having just now a little leisure time, he employs it in a short visit to Sweden, a country at all times so interesting, and now the only visitable one. He takes letters to pg 552different people at Stockholm from a Mr Gahn, who is Swedish Consul and Chargé d'Affaires at New York.10

Give me a line, there's a good boy: and tell me how matters stand between you and the Hammonds.

This is American paper; not of the best sort but of that used for envelopes.

Tell Mrs B. I hope to make B. yield seeds for her of American trees, virtuous fruit bearing, here unknown, trees, from the interior towards the Missisipi etc.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
2003. 1 BL VIII. 388–0. Autograph. Docketed: '1808 Septr 23 / JB-SB / Col. Burr.' Addressed: 'General Bentham / Hall Oak Farm / Hampstead.'
Editor’s Note
2 Charles James Fox's posthumously published work, A History of the Early Part of the Reign of James the Second, 1808.
Editor’s Note
3 The Vassall family had long-standing American as well as West Indian connections; and Lady Holland's mother was a first cousin of Burr's wife Theodosia Bartow Prevost (d. 1794).
Editor’s Note
4 Probably letter 2001.
Editor’s Note
5 This letter, dated 14 September, is at BL VIII. 386–7. Samuel Bentham said that he had not yet found the drawings of the Panopticon, and that he was unable to conduct a further search at present because his wife and children were unwell and he had urgent business to attend to; but he added that he would inform Burr as soon as the drawings were found.
Editor’s Note
6 Bentham presumably meant to write 'close fixed'.
Editor’s Note
7 Knill Court, Knill, Herefordshire, was the property of Lady Romilly's brother John, who changed his name from Garbett to Walsham (the name of his mother, who had inherited Knill).
Editor’s Note
8 Ralph Wedgwood (1766–1837), inventor of the 'stylographic manifold writer', was the son of Thomas Wedgwood (1734–88), who was a cousin and partner of Josiah Wedgwood. Bentham was impressed by his invention, and described it in his Rationale of Judicial Evidence, 5 vols., 1827, ii. 670 n. (Bowring, vi. 576 n).
Editor’s Note
9 Not identified.
Editor’s Note
10 Burr left for Sweden in April 1809 and spent five months there; the letters of introduction provided by Henry Gahn, whom he had known in New York, helped him to gain entry into Swedish society (Kline, ii. 1092–3).
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