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 Notepg 76Editor’s Note1712To Charles Bunbury11 August 1802 (Aet 54)

Dear Sir

If no particular time is mentioned, within which it is expected that notice should be taken of my papers,2 no notice will ever be taken of them, untill some adverse step on my part is known to have been taken, and then it will be said of me—the fault lies in his own rashness—for had his patience lasted him but a day longer, the notice he was wishing for would ham come.

Therefore it is, that I set pen to paper once more, for the purpose of begging of you to say in your letter to Lord Pelham, that on your promising to write to his Lordship on the subject, it was my special request to you that you would have the goodness to give his Lordship to understand very distinctly, that if, within a week from this date 11 Aug. 1802 I were not fortunate enough to receive the honour of a letter in his Lordship's hand addressed to myself my conclusions would be that no such good fortune ever would befall me, and that my future proceedings would be built on that declared ground. If the paper at length3 were sent in the first instance, the length of it might afford a plea for taking it ad referendum: but when the question is merely whether he will or will not read a paper of which these are the marginal contents, that excuse has no place. As to dictating a time to his Majesty's Secretary of State, most certainly I have no such absurd pretensions: but as to any conclusions of my own, presented to my own judgement by my own memory and my own reflections, they depend upon the premises, and are as independent even of my own will, as they are of that of his Majesty's Secretary of State.

Question (possible) on the part of Ld Pelham. How came Mr B. never to apply to me all this time?—

Answer 1. One reason is given in the correspondence (Mr B. with Messrs Addington and Vansittart) which you had the goodness to transmit to Lord Pelham.—2. Another is—Mr. B. had no pretence to the honour of being remembered by his Lordship. Mr. B's. Brother the General had: he was on speaking terms. When Gen. B after pg 77permission asked, and obtained waited on Ld P. at his house in Stratton Street, for the purpose of speaking to him on this subject as well as another, (it was before he had possession of his office in the Treasury) his Lordship gave him to understand by a servant that it was not convenient to see him then, and did not give him to understand that there would be any other time at which a visit would be less unacceptable.

In a separate paper is a list of documents.4 The trouble of description will be saved to you if you will have the goodness to send it to me by post, with the date filled up and your signature. Pardon, if you can, this Major Cautela5 (he is a sad troublesome old fellow) and believe me most truly

  • Yours etc
  • JB

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Editor’s Note
1712. 1 BL VII. 582–3. Autograph draft. Docketed: '1802 Aug 11 / J.B. Q.S.P. / to / Sr. C. Bunbury Pall / Mall.' Copy at UC cxx. 13.
Editor’s Note
3 'Panopticon versus New South Wales'.
Editor’s Note
4 See letter 1713.
Editor’s Note
5 A favourite expression of Bentham's was the Latin phrase ex majori cautela, 'for greater safety's sake' (see Correspondence, vi. 73, and letter 1724 below).
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