Jeremy Bentham

Stephen Conway (ed.), The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 9: January 1817 to June 1820

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pg 218Editor’s Note2497To John Fraunceis Gwyn31 July 1818 (Aet 70)

Dear Sir.

On the 15th Inst., I recd. from Mr Gould a Letter of which the following is a Copy:2

'Honiton July 11—1818


Mr. Gwyn has again desired me to apprise you of his wish to have the Windows in the Stables etc at Ford Abbey put in repair: and he hopes you will not delay having it done. In consequence of the doors of the Stables being continually left open, the Stock of your Tenant have had free access to the Stables, and they have done considerable injury to the plastering of the Walls—this Mr. Gwyn desires you will also have repaired—

Allow me to avail myself of this opportunity of requesting the favor of your remitting me the amount of my Bill so long since rendered you—and the amount of your Rent to Lady-day.

                                I am


                                        your most obedt. hble Servt.

                                           Danl Gould'

Thus much from Mr. Gould. From what he here says about the rent, it appears that, neither at the time of his writing this letter, nor at any time since you and I settled on the subject of the rent, can he have had any personal intercourse with you.

By this circumstance and others, what I am led to suspect, and strongly to hope, is—that what he says in regard to the Windows in the Stables is not altogether correct. This makes it necessary for me to beg leave, my dear Sir, to recall to your recollection the circumstances that accompanied our last agreement, so far as concerns the windows and the glass belonging to them. On the occasion of our original agreement, no such obligation had ever been so much as proposed to be laid on the Tenant: it rested in course on the Landlord. On the occasion of our last agreement, when you came to the Abbey,pg 219 attended by Mr. Gould and Mr. Bond3 and another Gentleman (I believe a Son of his) when every thing else had been agreed upon, then it was, that, to my great surprize, and no small vexation, out came Mr. Gould with this clause, for obliging me to take upon myself the repairs of the Glass in the Windows. No such idea having ever entered into my thoughts, I never had made, nor could have made, any the slightest calculation whatever on the subject. I resisted. Mr. Gould insisted on it in the most peremptory Manner: saying over and over again, that this was the constant practice all over the Country: the Landlord keeping in repair the Sashes or lead and iron work of the Casements, as the case might be, and the Tenant the glass. This, as I observed, was not to the purpose: what agreements on the subject there might have been between other people, I neither knew, nor had any need to enquire: it was between yourself and me that the agreement was to be: and, on no former occasion, though there had been several treaties, had any the least hint of any such thing been ever given to me. Mr. Gould's observation thereupon was—that there was very good reason for it, and more particularly in so large a House as that in question. For, if there were not some such special consideration, for binding the Tenant to be careful on that subject, there was no saying to what extent, thro' carelessness, or incidentally, even through malice, on the part of the Tenant's servants, the Landlord might not, on this occasion be a Sufferer: the inserting the clause, necessary for securing this care, was what he insisted upon on your behalf. In the course of this discussion, an observation, that of course was repeatedly brought to view by me was, that, so far from being able to calculate what might in future, for and during the remainder of the term, be the amount of the burthen thus suddenly sought to be imposed [on] me, I did not so much as know what was the expence that would be necessary to supply the deficiencies already existing. For, what I knew was—that there were, at that time, a good many of the panes wanting: my applications to the Glazier having been always tardily, and never compleatly, complied with. For answer to this observation, Mr. Gould said, that there would be no objection on your part to the making to me a reasonable allowance on this score: no such desire being entertained as that I should be subjected to any new and unexpected burthen, only that the Landlord should in this way be secured against indefinite loss: and £5—was the Sum he, at the same time, proposed as a compensation adequate to the purpose.

Though, as above mentioned, the idea was so alarming to me, the reasonableness of the principle taken by itself, made a strong impression on me, and caused me to give to the proposition a degree of consideration which, I should not have given to it otherwise. Still however my leaning was towards the giving up the matter altogether, and bidding adieu to thepg 220 Abbey, rather than consent to such a clause. I left Mr. Gould, and had a few words of the subject with Mr. Mill, and the result was the compliance which the Agreement testifies.

You will here, my dear Sir, have the goodness to observe that what Mr. Gould thus said to me was after the time which he had had, for the fullest consideration and the most compleat knowledge of the State of the whole Premises in this respect: whether he had actually taken any survey of them for this purpose I can not pretend to say: what will be evident to you, as it can not but have been to him, is—that no such survey could have been taken by me: for there never had been any thing to lead my mind to it. The House we were in, with its vast apparatus of Windows, was what on this occasion, principally if not exclusively occupied my attention: as to the Hothouses and Greenhouses, whether they occupied any part of it is what I can scarcely take upon myself to say: if they did, a circumstance which must have continued to tranquilize me was the observation I had made (though at a distance, for I scarcely ever went there) of the conspicuous repair that had been done there in the way of painting: from which a conclusion, that would of course be drawn, was that the repair had at the time extended to the glass: a conclusion which however I afterwards saw reason to look upon as erroneous.

In regard to the House and Hothouses and Greenhouses, especially if the hot bed frames are to be included, what I expect to find, is, that the compensation money, even at the end of this lesser half of the Term in question will be found to have been considerably exceeded by my expense.4 The account of this expence it has not happened to me to have drawn up: and assuredly I have no great Stomach for it. But what I remember amongst other things is—that on two several times, by so many different storms, large portions of the Windows of the Great Hall, lead work, glass and I believe iron work were blown down upon the pavement in the lump: and the glass of course broken to shivers. This glass I had to pay for, and paid for accordingly: how it was with the iron-work and lead work I do not recollect.5 But as to the glass at any rate what was the cause of its being broken? Not any negligence on my part, or on that of any Servants of mine: but the ruinous State of the lead and iron work—in a word, of the frame work. Now this frame work, in every instance, and throughout the whole of the Premises—ought it not to have been put into compleat repair before I was called upon to reinstate any of the glass? for, if not, observe how unreasonable that condition is: the Landlord by omitting to do what on his part he is bound to do, pg 221may subject the Tenant to an indefinite expence, to which he would not have been subjected otherwise.

And now, my dear Sir, we are come to these same Stables. By the terms of the original agreement, the Landlord was bound to keep this part of the Premises in repair as well as the rest. Since I have been in the occupation of the Premises, the external appearance of this part of them, I think you will agree with me, has never presented a very pleasing object. But I myself had no other use for them than the looking at them; and, for so slight a gratification as that of the eye, I could not bring myself to call upon you to put yourself to so considerable an expence. What would have rendered me the more averse to it was, an observation I had heard made that, to throw stones at them, was, every now and then, matter of amusement to idle or malicious Boys: I should be sorry to have to add to the number any persons of maturer age. What I am certain of is—that, during the whole of the discussion never did that object find its way into my own thoughts. Had any mention of this building been made by Mr. Gould, having, as I had, been seeing what every body else was seeing, of the condition of those windows, as often as I set my foot out of the House, was it in the nature of the case that I should have consented to take upon myself on any terms the keeping of them in repair, without a previous survey taken, and the frame work put in condition to receive them? Could I have had any such meaning as that of binding myself to put, as well as keep, in repair the glass—not only of the vast dwelling House then in tolerable repair, but of this large pile of building likewise, which was in so conspicuous a state of dilapidation, and which I not only then saw, but on my very entrance had found, in that state? All this for no more than £5—! while I tremble to think how many times the £5—may be found necessary, to put into repair the glass of this building alone.6 All this without any use to myself: having never had any cattle of my own, I never made any the least use of these same Stables.

'Repair and keep in good repair all and singular the glass on the windows of the said Premises' are the words of the obligation on the Tenant. True it is that at the commencement of the Deed, viz in the second line, among the Premises the word 'Stables' is mentioned. But, remember, my dear Sir, and consider in how prodigious a hurry every thing was done: no time for any deliberate consideration, no time so much as for reading over what was done: the articles settled no otherwise than by the Signature of your initials and mine, with or without attestation, as the case required, to the several clauses in the former Agreement as drawn by Mr. Elswood:7 the time midnight: every body, that was to go, in the highest impatience to be gone. Thepg 222 business had already trailed on to a very inconvenient length, and if not settled then, seemed much in danger of not being ever settled.

Presently after, viz—in the next line, comes the agreement on the part of the Landlord 'to keep the lead and frame-work of such windows in good and sufficient repair.' Well then the glass of these same windows—if it were reasonable the Tenant should keep that too in good and sufficient repair, would it ever have been possible for him, would it even now be possible? to a great part of it, no, without the Landlord's having first done what he was and is bound to do, and has not done: for, in many instances, if I am not much mistaken, perhaps no 'frame work' at all, at any rate no 'lead, would there be found, into which the glass could be put. Besides, 'keeping' and 'leaving', this would actually be putting in repair the Premises in question: Now the putting and the keeping are two very different things: whether it was for fear of frightening me or no, no such word as the word put has Mr. Gould inserted in the clause which was to bind me: Yet, when putting in repair is understood on both sides, is not putting into repair the phrase, commonly, not to say universally employed?

All this strict technicality apart—for the attention manifested by the Tenant during so many years, in forebearing to call upon his Landlord to burthen himself with the expence of keeping or putting in repair this large building, which he stood bound to put and continually to keep in repair,— for this attention, would it, my dear Sir, in point of Generosity, or even justice, be a suitable requital, to call upon the Tenant to take upon himself a burthen which, under the above circumstances, you can not but be sensible it never could have been his intention to subject himself to?

A curious thing is—that (in talking of the glass of the Hothouses and Greenhouses) Mr. Gould himself (the last time or last but one of my seeing him at the Abbey) took occasion, of his own accord, to observe to me, that it was matter of no inconsiderable surprise to him, that I should consent to take upon myself a burthen of such a magnitude, for so small a compensation as £5: i.e. that when he himself stated that sum as being in his opinion sufficient, I should believe him to be sincere. Mr. Mill was at that time backwards and forwards while Mr. Gould and I were thus in conversation: and if Mr. Mill did not hear Mr. Gould say this, he heard me repeat it to him (I mean Mr Mill) almost immediately afterwards.

Neither at this time nor at any time had any the least hint been ever given me about the Stables: nor at any time had it ever so much as entered into my conception, that in what regarded the glass, the Stables had ever been considered as included, or so much as thought of. Two or three times, I forget which, Mr. Gould and I came into conversation about this of the glass and other business: such as the rent which I paid to him etc: at other times, if he did not see me he saw Mr. Mill. Yet, for reasons best known to himself, on no one of any of those occasions, did he throw out the least hint on thepg 223 subject of the Stables: the first that I heard of it was by a hint he threw out to the Gardener: I believe it was not till after my leaving the Abbey: at any rate it was not till after the last conversation I ever had with him there or elsewhere.

Under these circumstances, I can't help suspecting and hoping to find, that in that Letter of yours which gave occasion to his of the 11th last to me, no such word as Stables occurrs: and that this was only a particular construction put by him upon some words of a more general nature. At any rate, nothing but your own assurance can suffice to make me believe, that you were privy to any such project as that of engaging me, by a surprise as above, to take upon myself a burthen, and such a burthen, without my knowing that I had done so.

Not that, if, on the naked view of the Parchment lying before you, you had felicitated yourself under the notion of having got off so much of the burthen of repair, and had accordingly written to Mr. Gould such a Letter, as, without any misinterpretation, would afford a warrant for this of his, there was any thing in it but what any man might have done in your place: but, on that supposition, either the circumstances above mentioned had never been noticed by you, or, at the time of your writing as above, were not present to your mind.

I have now to speak of another part of Mr Gould's abovementioned Letter to me of the 11th Inst, which lays me under the unfortunate necessity of troubling you with the Copy of a correspondence between him and me.—It is where he claims from me the 'Amount' (says he) 'of my Bill so long since rendered you'

No. 1.

Mr. Gould, to Mr. Bentham


Honiton 21st Octr. 1816.


On the other side I beg to trouble you with my Bill and shall feel obliged by an early remittance.

J. F. Gwyne Esq

    and                     Account of Costs.

Jeremy Bentham Esq


Novr. 2d

Attending you and taking long instructions in writing for preparing Agreement for Ford Abbey and attending signing by both parties


pg 224

Drawing such Agreement. fo. 20


Fair Copy


Ingrossing two parts thereof



-. 6.8

Paid for Stamps and Parchment



Attending signing by Mr. Gwyn

-. 6.8

Messenger and Horse hire to Ford Abbey with Agreements for the signature of Mr. Bentham; but he declined signing it, in consequence of the omission of a Garden, etc


Paid Carriage of Agreement from Mr. Bentham with long list of observations

-. 1.2

Writing Letter to Mr. Bond to explain to me what Mr. Bentham was to have and Postage of his answer

-. 6.8

Drawing additional Agreement for the Signature of Mr. Gwyn and making two fair Copies and writing Mr. Gwyn therewith


Paid postage of same from London

-. 2.6

Journey to Ford Abbey and attending signing of Agreement by Mr. Bentham. Horse hire and expences.



No. 2.

Mr. Bentham to Mr. Gould in answer.9


I have to acknowledge the receipt of your Letter from Honiton of the 21st Inst., with an accompanying Bill of Costs, in which, on the occasion of your negotiations with me in relation to this place, you consider yourself as acting in my behalf and as commissioned by me as well as by Mr. Gwyn. So far as regards myself, this is the first time any such idea ever presented itself to me. When you came to this place, it was at the instance, and if we do not misrecollect, in the company of Mr. Gwyn, whose business you were in the habit of transacting: you and I as perfect strangers to one another as any two persons could be. It was as little in my power, as it was in my inclination, to decline seeing any Gentleman who came to me as an Agent of Mr. Gwyn's. It was in consequence of Mr. Gwyn's changing his mind, and not choosing to sign a draught expressive of what had before been agreed between us, viz—a draught, prepared by a particular friend and Agent of mine, Mr. Koe, of the Chancery Bar—that the business was, by Mr. Gwyn, without any consent or knowledge of mine, put into your hands. At differentpg 225 times, Mr. Elswood did a good deal of business with me on behalf of Mr. Gwyn: some of it of the same sort as this of yours: and all together much more in quantity; and on no occasion did he consider himself, as an Agent of mine, employed by me. Without doing any injustice to Mr. Gwyn, any thing of that sort being what he had no motive for, nor could have recommended himself by to me, he behaved to me in a manner, much more confidential, than the occasion, nature, and time, of your intercourse with me did call for, or could have called for, or admitted of, as from you to me. With a degree of determination, to the propriety of which I do not mean to object, you stood up for Mr Gwyn's interest, putting in, notwithstanding very strong reluctance on my part, a clause which had not been in any Agreement drawn by Mr. Elswood, or in the first Agreement which was drawn by somebody in London, and which (I mean this new clause about the repair of windows) was to me matter of perfect surprize. The correspondence between you and me had, for its cause your wording the Agreement in such a manner, that by it I should have been deprived of a piece of ground then in my occupation, and essentially necessary to me, and which it was not Mr. Gwyn's intention I should be deprived of. I do not mean to impute to you any wrong intention on that score: but such however would have been the effect.

I could not accede to any such demand as this, without subjecting myself to pay Bills of Costs, not only to yourself, as often as on any occasion you should call upon me in the name of Mr. Gwyn, but to every other Gentleman of your profession, whom he should commission for that purpose: and in a word to any other Gentleman of that same profession who should call upon me in the name of any body else.

I can not therefore but think that it must have been from some inadvertence, that you considered yourself as having had me as a Client, as well as Mr. Gwyn: and that, upon further consideration, it will appear to you that it is to him only, and not to me, that it will be proper for you to resort for payment.

Neither for drawing, nor engrossing, nor so much as for Stamps (for as to parchment there was none) was any charge ever made upon me by Mr Elswood, for the Agreement or Agreements which he drew: or by Mr. Holmes,10 with whom the treaty which terminated in the first Agreement was carried on by me. My notion was—that it was either from the custom of the Country, or from the liberality of Mr. Gwyn, that I was never called upon for any part of the Costs of my Agreement with him.

But, though it was in consequence of his declining to make use of that draught, which, with no more than such slight alterations as the alteration made in the matter of the Agreement called for, had been copied by Mr. Koe, from the Draught made on a former occasion, either by Mr. Holmes or somepg 226 person employed by him or by Mr. Elswood—though it was by this means, and, so far from its being in consequence of any commission from me, contrary to my expectation, that the preparing of the Draught in question fell into hands that were new to the business, which was the case with yours, yet if such be Mr. Gwyn's expectation, and if his declaration to that effect is produced to me, I am ready to pay my half of the two Items—viz— Ingrossing £1—Paid for Stamps and Parchment £3.17.6—Together £4.17.6. My half £2.8.9.—Say £3, which shall be transmitted to you, although if he had adhered to the former mode as above it could have been settled with very little of this expence to him and none to me.

                                                         I am,

                                                             etc etc etc

P S—My abovementioned friend Mr. Koe happens to be here at this time: and it is with his concurrence that I write this.

No. 3

Mr. Gould to Mr. Bentham


'Sion House Jany. 20th. 1817.

I shall be at the Abbey in the course of a few days when I will wait on you on the subject of your objections to my charges for the contracts between you and Mr. Gwyn.'

No such visit of explanation did he ever make to me. Since the date of this last mentioned Letter of his, you have, as above, an account of the number of times at which, to wit, at the Abbey, he did actually see me, and of the still greater number of times, at which, for any such purpose he might have seen me; as, at those several times, or some of them, he actually did see my friend Mr. Mill. To start any such matter was no business of mine: my conclusion was, and such was that of Mr Mill, that shame had prevented his ever mentioning the subject to me again. So far as concerned conversation face to face, so far we concluded right: but Paper has no blushes.

The Offer, which, as you may observe, I thereupon made to him, conceive me, my good Sir, as now making to yourself. That on that occasion he was concerned—not for me but against me, you will have seen plainly enough: how far in respect of this same Bill, his management, as compared with poor Elswood's, has been beneficial to you, it will be for yourself to judge.

In hopes of bringing to a close at once your trouble as well as my own, I will now, my dear Sir, proceed to lay before you some account of my administration in the character of your Tenant.

pg 2271. In regard to the Land—You will remember in regard to the two-acre piece at some distance from the main part of the Garden, the error I fell into, and how I paid for it. The portion of Garden (for such it was called) was more than I had occasion for:—What should I do with it? To let it be unemployed, while it stocked itself with thistles, would be a detriment to the Landlord, and of no use to any body. Meantime, my next neighbour, farmer Glide,12 your Tenant, offered himself to take it of me. No particular use was mentioned to me: for my own part, ignorant as I was of farming, it never occurred to me to enquire about the use. True it was, that in the lease (for of this I had a general recollection) there was a general clause interdicting me from letting the whole of the Premises altogether: but this, (says I to myself) was but a precaution—and that no other than a very proper one—for preserving from injury so valuable and rare a property as that of the House and Furniture. As to the land, what injury can be done to it? The person who applies to take it is no other than a Tenant, and that a Capital one, of my Landlords own, in the midst of whose property this little detached piece stands. Being already my Landlords Tenant, he is already—and that to more than an hundred times the amount—the object of my Landlord's confidence. Under these circumstances what need can there be, of my putting my Landlord and myself to the trouble of a correspondence? The permission I should have to request is, by the very circumstances of the case, already granted. When, after this, Mr. Elswood came to visit the Abbey, one of the first things he said to me was, that I had fallen into an error. 'How so' (says I) 'Why—' (says he) 'you have let this land to Glide, and Glide has sown flax upon it: and that is a crop that hurts the land.' This was the first time of my knowing or thinking what it was that Glide had done with it. Though he was your Agent (I speak of Elswood) and none of mine, so fair had his mode of dealing all along appeared to me, that, on this occasion, though speaking thus against me, I made no difficulty of taking him at his word. 'This being an error of mine' (said I) 'what can I do to repair it? What has been done can not be undone. The damage, whatever it may be can not be an irreparable one. The rent that I was to have received—let the Landlord take it. If, with this rent as much manuring can be purchased as will compensate for the exhaustion, the Landlord will even be a Gainer: for at any rate the land has been made and kept clear of weeds.'—'Be it so' says he: and there the matter ended: no rent for it did I ever receive: I hope that was not the case with you.13

2. Now as to the Medow, one part of which comes up close to the House and Stables. What was to be done with that? At one time I had thoughts ofpg 228 keeping Stock of my own; in which case it would have been necessary for me to have kept this ground in my own hands. I do not now exactly remember what was done with it during Glide's time: whether he was suffered to take any hay from it or to turn any stock upon it. I rather believe there was no hay taken from it by any body but myself: for, during the greatest part, if not the whole of this time, I was under the obligation of providing Fodder for the Deer in Winter: and, to enable me to fulfil that obligation not less than the whole produce of that Meadow was looked upon as necessary: and at any rate there were two or three Horses of yours to provide for, of which I had occasionally the use.

3. When Vincent14 succeeded Glide, and my connection with the Park and its Inhabitants, as also with your Horses, was at an end, I was put to think what I should do with the land; whether to keep Stock as above, or to mow it and sell the Hay on my own Account; as of course I had a full right to do; and that without laying any manure upon it. When Vincent came, he said it would be particularly convenient for him to have the use of it. Here then was so much manure to be deposited on it, which would not be deposited were I to keep it entirely in my own hands, and cut the Hay myself. As to the letting it to him, as I had done the other field to Glide, I had, by this time, learnt better things: as to his cutting the Hay it could not do the land any more harm than if I were to cut it myself. 'Well' (says I to myself) 'here is not only so much net advantage, to the Ground and the Landlord, in respect of the manure, but an advantage to the Tenant who is the recently chosen, and indubitable, object of the Landlord's confidence.' The result was—I refused letting him the land generally, in which case he might have hurt it as Glide had hurt the other field: but I consented to his taking the crop, as well as turning in Stock.

Some time ago, some inconveniences were mentioned to me as having been produced by Vincent's making that use of the land: and at the same time a mode of occupation was proposed to me, that would manifestly be still more abundantly beneficial to the Land and the Landlord. There was a man, who would be glad to make use of it, upon condition of not taking any Crop off of it at all: making no other use of it whatever, but the turning of Stock upon it; of which he would have a constant succession, and that an abundant one: This was Mitchell the Butcher15:—and so I let him turn in his Stock: and faithfully have the conditions been observed: much Stock turned in, much Manure consequently deposited: and in this case I believe it is at present.16

pg 229II. Now as to the Garden. On this head fortunately I need not find much to say, nor have I, I hope much apology to make. You will remember the condition it was in when I came: you will see the condition it will be in, when next you visit it. It must be much more altered for the worse than I can have any apprehension of, if you do not then find it in no inconsiderable state of Improvement. Fresh walls have been built, others raised, at my expense: every bit of a wall that would receive a fruit tree has received one. You must have observed already more than once to how great an extent well trimmed Walks, and borders with flowers, have succeeded to couch-grass, nettles, and thistles. Between three and four score pounds,17 have been laid out by me at different times in fruit trees, shrubs, and flowers. This sum together with what other Sums might, within the assigned limits have been added to them, would (if my term had been put an end to by your appointment) have been to be reimbursed by you. All these I have of course a right to take away. In no instance do I propose to myself to exercise this right, nor to require or accept any compensation for not exercising it.

Several of the perennial flowers introduced by me, having, under the favor of the new Situations given to them, received great encrease, as well as some of the old Stock which I found there, I sent orders t'other day to the Gardener to send me up some, now and then, as occasion served, to add a little variety to the small stock, which, in this Town-Garden of mine, I have room for: but I took care, at the same time, to charge him in no instance to lessen the Stock of any thing that he found there; nor, without leaving specimens there, to send up any of the plants which I myself had introduced: and this order concerned nothing but the perennial flowers: for, as to the Green house plants, any more than the shrubs, these not being susceptible of considerable encrease, I would not lessen the Stock of them: besides that I have not any fit room for the reception of Green house plants.

As to the fitting up and furniture of the House, when you recollect the State in which I found it, I think it must have been altered considerably for the worse since I left it, if the State of it be not an object of some satisfaction to you: particularly the two beautiful Cabinets which I found in a state of dilapidation, threatening speedy ruin if not stopped: but I regret to think that in some instances, after the repairs and little improvements that I made in different places, subsequent inroads of the wet from the Storms produced appearances more or less unpleasant.

The Ice-house, year after year I took a deal of pains about, and some expense: I shall be much disappointed, if, upon your visit to it at this hotpg 230 Season you do not find it full of ice: a state in which, if I am not misinformed you never yet saw it in summer time.18

In your conversation with Mr. Mill, at the time of his waiting on you / Mrs Gwyn / 19 in George Street when we settled about the rent, you expressed considerable dissatisfaction (he / she / said) with the conduct of Mr. Gould:20 so much, that for the better taking the management of your affairs near the Abbey into your own hands, you declared it to have been your intention to reoccupy it as soon as ever my occupation ceased: and to that end gave intimation that it would be a considerable convenience to you to be let into possession before the expiration of my term, which ends at Michaelmas next, and the earlier the greater the convenience; upon an understanding however that the rent should be paid, as if I myself had continued to occupy.

Being now determined not to revisit the place myself, it will be a real satisfaction to me, as soon as all matters are settled between us, to afford you that accommodation. But, my dear Sir, there must be no Mr Gould to make mischief between us: if there be, nothing can ever be settled: not even in what is called Equity: for Lord Endless21 never settles any thing. It being in the expectation of returning that I left the Abbey, my Housekeeper22 assures me, that there is an absolute necessity for her being on the spot before the surrender is made, that she may make the requisite separation between your things and mine; and in short set every thing to rights. You will, on that occasion, (I imagine) find it necessary that yourself and Mrs. Gwyn should be on the spot: neither yourself nor that Lady would, I imagine, find any great use or convenience in having Mr. Gould in attendance, to help her to receive back the crockery ware, and other recondite articles of Table and Kitchen furniture, which at present are under lock and key.

My Housekeeper, you will, I trust, find a respectfully civil, as she is a remarkably honest as well as intelligent woman; but on this occasion it is necessary you should be apprized of some of her little infirmities. Her feelings are acute, and she entertains the highest sense of duty towards her Master: if therefore any body were to act as Master or Mistress before she had regularly given up the keys in her possession, which she would never do without a written order from me for her justification, she would be frightened, take the bit in her mouth, and run rusty, and no settlement could ever be made. Though you can not any where else be so well lodged as at the Abbey, and she would, with all cheerfulness as well as respect, serve pg 231you and Mrs. Gwyn in the character of her Master's Guests, yet, if, during the time in question you were to act as any other than that character, all the fat would be in the fire. If you were to take from her any one key, there would be an end of all responsibility on her part.

Yes, my dear Sir, you must ease me of this Mr. Gould: and, to that end, so order matters that I may have no more plague about this bill of his, and let me know as much. Upon the whole matter you will form your own judgment, whether he had not a plan, for Cooking up for his own benefit a dish of lawsuits—law and equity together—between you and me: and, but for that justice, which you so readily did me, that might but too probably have been the case. He would have told you that he had made me consent to give up the Meadow: and, for proof, he need but have appealed to the words of the Agreement, by which in truth the Assertion would have been confirmed. The misconception—to put no other interpretation upon it—being discovered in time, you understood immediately that there had been a mistake, and as immediately on your part did what was necessary to the rectifying it. But had the matter remained unnoticed for a few months, you might not—any person in your situation might not—so easily, if at all, have been satisfied, that there had been any mistake: when the omission came at last to be discovered, you would have concluded (for what should have prevented you from concluding?) that I had assented to it, and that Mr. Gould, by his skill in negotiation, had had, some how or other, the merit of procuring such my assent.

Another piece of ingenuity, it would not be at all wonderful if he should have in Store, is—the pointing your attention to this and that violation on the Tenant's part of the Letter of the Agreement and to the penalties, which, on the ground of so many enormities, might so justly be recovered by the Landlord: nor, if so, would he probably be quite so prompt in the information, that it is only by an Action at Common Law that any such penalties can be recovered; and that, so sure as any such action is brought, so sure is an Injunction Bill, to stop the Action filed in a Court of Equity: a Court, which never suffers any such Penalties to be levied, nor any other effect to be derived from the Action, than what shall, by the authority before which the decision shall come, be deemed to be a fair indemnity for whatsoever damage had, in a pecuniary shape, been actually sustained: and that, at the practically endless term of litigation (for, once more, Lord Endless never ends any thing) should the Landlord be fortunate enough to succeed, he would be beyond example fortunate, if the indemnity thus obtained were not, by a great many times its amount, exceeded by the unreimbursed portion of the costs, at the expense of which it had been thus obtained.

I myself, in the character of Landlord, was dragged once into a Court of Equity, in consequence of an Action at Law, which, by an ignorant and dishonest Tenant, under the influence of an Attorney, such as almost allpg 232 Attornies are, I found myself placed under the necessity of bringing. At the end of a certain number of years, the Tenant's side not having the least particle of merits, I obtained a Decree with Costs.23 But when the Costs, as taxed, were paid to me, there was left between one and two hundred pounds worth which I had to sit down with the loss of: and this was in a judicatory, which, though excessively dilatory, and filled by a set of notoriously weak creatures, yet now and then, at the end of a number of years, did give a decision: which is what Lord Endless never does.

Should it be your lot to come any more into contact with Mr. Gould, it might be matter of curiosity to you to shew him the herewith enclosed Copy of my Letter, in answer to his demand on me: to ask him whether he did not receive such a Letter, and what he could find to say to it: and, if this were done in the presence of any other person, who, upon occasion, could speak as to what passed, so much the better. In the event of his giving me any further trouble with so groundless and untenable a pretension, my intention has always been to circulate the correspondence in the Country: which is what to no inconsiderable an extent I could do with great ease: and in that case people would see what they had to expect from the having dealings with other people for whom he is concerned.

Unfortunate it has been for us both, that the time, at which it became necessary these matters should be settled between us, was that part of the year, during which you were absent from London, for an indefinite length of time: had it been otherwise, instead of your being plagued with reading all this stuff, and I with first preaching, and then revising it, to the sad detriment of my poor weak eyes, the whole might have been settled in a manner as prompt and pleasant to us both, as the last matter was, by the intervention of Mr. Mill. After begging my best respects to Mrs. Gwyn I conclude with subscribing myself at last

                                      My dear Sir

                                         Your faithful Tenant                                             And obedient Servant

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
2497. 1 UC clxiii. 14–19. Copy, in the hand of a copyist, except for minor corrections and marginal notes. Headed, in Bentham's hand: 'No 1. Mr Bentham to Mr Gwyn'. Dated from Gwyn's reply (letter 2500).
Editor’s Note
2 Original missing.
Editor’s Note
3 William Bond, surveyor, of Axminster.
Editor’s Note
4 Added by Bentham in the margin: 'It was by between £1 and £2: as the Bills will shew. 16 Sept. 1818.'
Editor’s Note
5 Added by Bentham in the margin: 'For the lead work, there is in a Bill of W. Baggs's paid by me a charge of 13s which by the agreement the Landlord is bound to pay for. 16 Sept. 1818'. Baggs was described by Gwyn as the 'Carpenter'. See letter 2504.
Editor’s Note
6 Added again by Bentham in the margin: 'By survey since taken by W. Baggs it appears that the cost will be under £13.16 Sept. 1818.'
Editor’s Note
7 Azariah Elswood, attorney of Chard. See Correspondence, viii, as index.
Editor’s Note
8 Original missing.
Editor’s Note
9 Original missing.
Editor’s Note
10 Perhaps William Holmes, a London attorney, of 25 Great James Street, Bedford Row.
Editor’s Note
11 Original missing.
Editor’s Note
12 Not further identified.
Editor’s Note
13 Added by Bentham in the margin: 'By a receipt of Mr Pickerings I find I paid to him for Mr Gwyn's use £4 for the year's rent of the two Acres, on paying a quarter's rent'. William Pickering had been Bond's partner since 1812.
Editor’s Note
14 Not further identified.
Editor’s Note
15 Not further identified.
Editor’s Note
16 Added by Bentham in the margin: 'Since my final departure from the Abbey, I find Mitchel has made some hay from it, without my consent or knowledge: but this is no more than what I myself might have done and should have done, if I had not given leave to Mitchel, as above. 16 Sept. 1818. The Land has at any rate received the improvement made on it by the Stock, which, for the greatest part of the time was turned on it.'
Editor’s Note
17 Again added in the margin by Bentham: 'By the Bills, £78 odd.'
Editor’s Note
18 Another marginal note by Bentham reads: 'After all, it appears that it will not hold the Ice. 16 Sept. 1818'.
Editor’s Note
19 Dinah Gwyn, née Good (d. 1831), who had married Gwyn in November 1815.
Editor’s Note
20 Added by Bentham in the margin: 'It was with Mrs Gwyn that Mr Mill's conversation was: as he afterwards reminded me.'
Editor’s Note
21 i.e. Lord Eldon, the lord chancellor.
Editor’s Note
22 Elizabeth Stoker.
Editor’s Note
23 Further information on this episode has not been found.
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