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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Editor’s Note2456To Francis Place6 February 1818 (Aet 69)

J.B. to F.P. Ford Abbey Feb. 6 1818

1. […?] the letter / 2. Church Cat. 3. Law-Tax debate

4. J.B.'s return notified[?] to H.K. 5. Folkstone2 and Burdet

Thanks for yours of the 3d franked by Curwen and received in course.3

pg 1571. As to Church Cat. You who procure franks with so little difficulty as to bestow them upon the shooting down your rubbish-carts of sedition upon this holy place, what should hinder your getting one to inclose a line or two to Mark Wilkes at his present residence at Southampton? I am glad however that I have learnt how the matter stands in your conception in regard to the name. My intention has been for some time, so long that I thought I had communicated it to you sometime ago, to put my name to it. Upon a little reflection (supposing me to have rendered it sufficiently intelligible to you that my correspondence with W. Smith M.P is to be added (viz. prefixed) to Church Cat.) you would have seen that the concealment of my name could not but have been already out of the question.

As to a bookseller, it would be a pity the advantage (for such I conclude it would be) of having one chosen by Wilkes, and thence in connection with him and his, should be foregone: and as I can not now publish, till the narrative which W. Smith promises me is not only in my hands, but in print, therefore till that matter is accomplished (which however as to the receiving the paper I am expecting every day) there will be no time lost by waiting for Wilkes.

Should the wished-for intercourse by means of Wilkes prove impracticable, Macreery mentioned to me, from the first, a Bookseller (I think his situation was in Cornhill but I have forgot his name) who he said would publish, if it had a name to it. But if that man were recurred to, I would beg the favour of you to see him about it, and you will at once see the reason. Macreery has pocketed the money, and from its obtaining a publication he has nothing more to get, and according to his notions and temper much eventual suffering to apprehend. It is not therefore in the nature of man that he should undertake the business otherwise than with a wish for its failure.

As to the subject of the correspondence with W. Smith I certainly have explained it to H.K and I thought I had sufficiently to you. W. Smith as Mill heard from his Apostle Belsham4 at Ricardos was extremely well satisfied with the Archbishop of Canterbury's behaviour on the occasion of the Act repealing the Trinity-protecting Act.5 In the shape in which the Archbp. either drew the Bill or approved of it, it had the effect of affording to Unitarians and others who have the misfortune of entertaining erroneous opinions concerning the constitution of the Godhead a complete protection and indemnity, as well against Common Law as against Statute law: but the lawyers interposed he said and insisted upon its being worded in the present manner, by which all such and other heresies remain prosecutable at Common Law at any rate, if not under this or that undecreed article of Statute law.

pg 158In answer to my letter, W. Smith is not only willing but very desirous to furnish me (for publication) with particular information concerning these merits of the Archbp which I have desired for the purpose of placing in account against the sins of which I have convicted him. By this means while I display candour and a whole heap of other virtues of which my heart is composed, I render it more difficult for an Atty General to obtain a conviction, even at the hands of a trained Middlesex Jury, and thereby diminish in proportion the risk if there be any on the part of the Bookseller. Now I hope you understand how the matter stands. Moreover this little bit of correspondence will by God's blessing by means of the additional bits of personality given to it, afford a promise of increasing the circulation.

Yellow dwarf.

No, you never told us till now who the authors were: only that John Hunt had a concern in it: we supposed as Bookseller nothing more.

Law Taxes.

You have seen the motion that W. Smith made upon that subject: or rather, more directly upon the subject of law-fees.6 But they are complicated together, and neither can be taken into consideration without the other. Law Taxes as you well know are discussed in the same volume with the third Edition of Defence of Usury.7 Law fees are brought to view on a variety of occasions, (If I do not grievously misrecollect) in Scotch Reform.8 Here then would be an occasion for Mom Chron, Yellow Dwarf, Black do.— all or any of them to make extracts. Order from Ridgeway ye Publisher9 any number of copies of Scotch Reform you may think fit for the use of any of them. So likewise if necessary the Defence of Usury volume as above: but with that I imagine that some how or other they are already provided.

Printing Parliamentary Petitions of course.

You see how finely Ld. Folkstone behaved on that occasion. What he did was little short, if any thing of supportg. Pari. Reform.10 No support frompg 159 Burdett: notwithstandg ye spur I stuck in his side towards the conclusion of Parl Cat:11 on which occasion to shirk that task which had he had the least spark of real regard for the cause of the people or for consistency he would have taken with alacrity he not only left a letter of mine12 unanswered but shut his doors against me after having spontaneously and vehemently expressed to Mr. Mill a desire to see me. Ld. Folkston〈e〉 not having received on that subject on that occasion as far as appear〈s〉 any support from any body though, as far as appears Burdett was then in the House—not to speak of a whole gang of Whigs. Mr. Mill is apprehensive the matter is dropt. What a sad thing if it should not be resumed! Would not Grey Bennett—at any rate give him support? Would not Grey Bennett and he in conjunction find another honest man or two for such a purpose.

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
2456.1 Bound in the British Library copy of Church-of-Englandism (shelf mark 4106. bb. 6). Part autograph, part in Colls's hand.
Editor’s Note
2 William Pleydell-Bouverie, Viscount Folkestone (1779–1869), later 3rd Earl of Radnor, at this time MP for Salisbury.
Editor’s Note
3 Missing.
Editor’s Note
4 Thomas Belsham (1750–1829), the Unitarian divine.
Editor’s Note
6 On 3 February 1818 Smith moved for an account of the sums received at the crown office from Hone for copies of informations filed against him by the attorney-general. On the next day, Smith moved that an account should be laid before the House of fees taken by clerks at the crown office for copies of all informations for libel given to accused persons, or others acting on their behalf. See Parliamentary Debates, xxxvii. 134–5, 146.
Editor’s Note
7 The 3rd edn. of Defence of Usury was published in 1816 with A Protest against Law Taxes, which had first appeared in 1795.
Editor’s Note
8 See Scotch Reform, pp. 8–9 (Bowring, v. 6–7).
Editor’s Note
9 James Ridgeway and sons, 170 Piccadilly.
Editor’s Note
10 On 4 February Folkestone had complained that petitions were no longer printed in the 'Votes' of the House of Commons, the formal record of proceedings. He argued that petitions should be printed as a matter of course, and not just when expressly ordered by a vote in the House. See Parliamentary Debates, xxxvii. 147.
Editor’s Note
11 Bentham was probably thinking of the mention of Burdett and the printing of petitions in Plan of Parliamentary Reform, pp. cccxxxvi–cccxxxvii.
Editor’s Note
12 Missing.
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