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 Note1775To Sir Charles Bunbury11 January 1803 (Aet 54)

11th Jany 1803

Dear Sir,

I was favoured with your's of the 26th2 in due course. 'Mr Thornton'? No: I have had nothing particular to say to him: he would not apply to me unless he had something particular to say to me. Mr Wilberforce d°: besides that his health has been very indifferent of late, and his time always overloaded. Mr Neild spent a couple of pg 187days with him last week. Question—whether he knew anything of their intentions about Penitentiaries?—answer, in the negative.

Per contra Sir John Anderson paid me a spontaneous visit, about a week ago, to talk about stirring up the City. He can do much, and for aught I know every thing—there—and seems in earnest in the business. He talked himself of speaking amongst others to Harvey Combe3 on the subject, as a leading man. This I thought looked well: combining for the purpose with a man in the opposite line of politics. It would be useless to trouble you with particulars.

Another incident is a correspondence with the Atty Genl. What he says4 (guarded as it could not but be in the extreme) is I think as much as could be expected. The best thing that could happen would be that he should have full powers. This seems a natural enough termination of the business, supposing the pressure upon them to be such, from his opinion, added to what may be done in Parliament, as to oblige them, for their own ease, to give up the corrupt and clandestine promise given to Ld Grosvenor.

As to Ld Pelham, he will never look you in the face again if he can help it. After kicking awhile (which from very good authority I know he did) he has sunk entirely into the pocket of Mr King. There never has been—there never can have been—a more decided determination to resist reformation from all quarters—to pocket abuse in all shapes. I speak from a variety of interesting facts which have flowed in upon me from different channels since I saw you. Particulars when we meet. The only possible hope is in his weakness. But as he has given way to pressure on so many other occasions, why may he not in this? A 3d letter5 (with vouchers) is nearly made out of all this: but the facts are so disgraceful even without the comments, that much more reserve must be observed in regard to the distribution of this, than the two preceding ones; which considering the strength of the dose, sit (as far as I can judge) upon the stomach of the Atty Genl better than one should have expected.

To make up the bundle I inclose a diplomatic communication from a diplomatic man.6 A propos of reading, he takes care (as I expected he would if he said any thing) to speak of it in the future only, and not in the past. He speaks of the subject as if it were a pg 188new one between him and me, which it is far from being as I could shew you.

To you, he would speak with less reserve: and if he had influence, I see no improbability in his employing it, in his discreet way, on the right side.

I hope to receive your commands soon after your arrival in Town, which I am now beginning to look out for. Adieu, my Dear Sir, believe most truly

  • Yr much obliged
  • hble Servt
  • JB.

Be so good as to return the enclosures when done with.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1775. 1 BL VIII. 6–7. Copy. Docketed: '1803 Jan 11 / Panopt. / J.B. Q.S.P. / to / Sr C. Bunbury Pall Mall.'
Editor’s Note
2 Missing.
Editor’s Note
3 Harvey Christian Combe (1752–1818), MP for London 1796–1817, lord mayor of London 1799–1800; a Foxite in politics.
Editor’s Note
4 In letter 1774.
Editor’s Note
6 Lord Auckland's letter of 26 December (letter 1766), Auckland, as William Eden, had negotiated a famous commercial treaty with France in 1786 and had been ambassador at the Hague 1790–3.
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