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 Note1747To Sir Charles Bunbury3 December 1802 (Aet 54)

Q.S.P. 3d Dec. 1802.

Dear Sir,

I have to thank you for the favour of your letter dated 11th Oct. Since the day of the meeting of parliament2 I have been looking out for you in consequence. A few days before that day I sent to your house a copy of a printed but as yet unpublished paper, in the form of a letter, to Ld Pelham, comparing Panopticon with N. S. Wales. The visit you were kind enough to announce has been deferred— perhaps till you could have seen Ld Pelham—perhaps till you could pg 158find time to look over the aforesaid paper. 1 should have waited on you before now, but it appeared to me that unless you had undergone the previous drudgery of running over those 80 pages, the necessary grounds for conversation would be wanting to us. As it is, I should be happy in receiving your permission to wait upon you, the instant I knew either that you had read3 the paper aforesaid, or declined the task.

After the experience that has manifested itself, I should expect tofind some deduction from the difference between our respective estimates of the value of the professions contained in the letter you were kind enough to hand over to me.4 You speak of a 'challenge', but I can assure you no such idea was meant by the request I troubled you with. In your kind solicitude for my own particular fate, you had spoken of 'indemnification'.5 Observing this, it occurred to me that a natural supposition on Ld Pelham's part might be, that it was at my instance you had thrown out that idea, or at least with my concurrence. I had been tried with that bait before,6 and would not bite at it. All apprehension of trouble or disgrace on their part would from that moment be at an end. Their shame would remain uncovered: the ten years' negotiation about a penitentiary establishment would in the mean time be converted into another negotiation to be continued during the term of my life. The assent to your proposition on that subject cost his lordship little enough; and it would seem nothing wonderful to me, if he should have conceived himself to have purchased quiet at your hands as well as mine upon those terms. I was several times on the point of writing to you, to explain this my reason for wishing that his lordship should know, that whatever had been said about indemnification was without my concurrence; after such an explanation, I think you would not have refused me: but finding the matter unpleasant to you, I e'en let it take its chance. A second letter, as announced by the first, is on the point of coming out of the press, after an unexpected course of typographical delays. It will occupy upwards of 60 pages more, of 42 of which I have proofs.7 A 3d letter, of perhaps 16 or 18 pages, is reserved for the subject of the hulks and the 'improved prisons'.8 By all together, the subject of chronical pg 159punishment in its several modifications, in use here and in America, will have received a pretty full discussion. I am,

  • Dear Sir,
  • Your obedient and much obliged
  • Jeremy Bentham.

Sir C. Bunbury.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
1747. 1 The Correspondence of Sir Thomas Hammer, Bart, ed. Sir H. Bunbury, 1838, pp. 419–21. Copy at BL VII. 661–2, docketed: '1802 Decr 3 / Panopt. / J.B. Q.S.P. / to / Sir C. Bunbury Pall / Mall / Sent 4th.'
Editor’s Note
2 Parliament met on 16 November 1802.
Editor’s Note
3 The copy reads 'the instant I knew that you had either read'.
Editor’s Note
4 Pelham to Bunbury, 19 August 1802 (letter 1715 n, 2).
Editor’s Note
6 See Correspondence, vi. 383 n.
Editor’s Note
7 Bentham's Second Letter to Lord Pelham is 72 pages long.
Editor’s Note
8 This third letter was never published. The manuscript, headed 'To / Ld, Pelham / Hulks I Improved Prisons / Panopt. / Letter 3d', is at UC cxvi. 534–603.
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