John Lind

T. L. S. Sprigge (ed.), The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 1: 1752–76

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Editor’s Note12John Lind to Jeremiah Bentham17 November 1760

Coll. Ball. Oxon Nov: 17th 1760


Tho' I staid in London a day or two after I saw you yet I was so much hurried that I could not again have the pleasure of waiting upon you.—

pg 23I spent an hour with your Son one morning in the last Week, very agreeably—He had rec'd a Letter from you, wrote since I saw you, which he propos'd answering that Day. Among other political Subjects the King's Death being introduced gave me an opportunity reminding him how fortunate he was in having it so soon in his power to make himself known; as I was sure, if he exerted himself, he need not fear, that his composition would be rejected.2 —It seems he was thinking upon that very subject when I saw Him. —He is quite settled in his Room: and perfectly happy in an Academical Life.—He has stood the stare of the whole University: as his Youth, and the littleness of his Size naturally attract the pg 24Eyes of every one: However all enquiries after him will tend much to his Credit by convincing People that he has multum in parvo.

I beg my Compliments to Mrs. Westall3: And am,

  • Sir,
  • Your very Humble Servant:
  • John Lind.

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Editor’s Note
12. 1 B.M. I: 45. Docketed by Jeremiah Bentham: 'Mr John Lind / Letter datd. Baliol College Oxon / 17 Novr. 1760.'
Addressed: 'To / Jeremiah Bentham Esq. / Crutched Friars / London.' Stamped: 'oxford'. Postmark: '18 NO'.
John Lind (1731–81) was a close friend of Bentham in the 1770's, when he was a well known political writer and unofficial minister for the Polish King. In 1758 he had taken deacon's orders. He graduated b.a. at Balliol in 1757, and m.a. in 1761. His improvident father, Charles Lind, a Colchester clergyman, was a friend of Jeremiah Bentham, who took charge of his financial affairs when, in the mid-seventeen-fifties, these became extremely involved. B.M. XXVII (Add. Mss. 33563) contains a large number of papers relating to these affairs which continued to occupy Jeremiah Bentham until at least 1774, three or four years after Charles Lind's death.
Later, Bentham's brother Samuel came to know two cousins of Lind's, both called Dr James Lind, and both (as though deliberately to confuse the historian) naval surgeons and medical authors. John Lind's father (Charles) was first cousin to Dr James Lind of Haslar (1716–94) and to Alexander Lind, father of Dr James Lind of Windsor (1730–1812). They were all descended from a Scotsman called John Lind and his wife Isabel (née Boyd). This John Lind had five sons, George (grandfather of James of Windsor and maternal grandfather of James Keir (1735–1820) the chemist), John (said to have settled and died in Poland), Robert, James (said to have returned from Poland in 1705, and father of James of Haslar) and Adam. Adam was a merchant, first in Edinburgh and then in London. Charles Lind, father of Bentham's friend John, was his son. (See The Genealogy of the Families of Lind and the Montgomeries of Smithson by Sir Robert Douglas, Bart., printed and it would seem completed by the younger Dr James Lind at his private press at Windsor in 1795.) When John Lind went to Poland in the 1760's he was evidently renewing a family link with this country. (For further details of John Lind's career see letter 99, n. 2. For James Lind of Haslar see letter 202, n. 2. For James Lind of Windsor see letter 206, n. 4.)
Editor’s Note
2 The verses Bentham finally submitted are printed by Bowring (x, 41). Bentham gave Bowring the following account of the matter: 'Thirteen years had not been numbered by me when the second of the Guelphs was gathered to his fathers. Waste of time had been commenced by me at Queen's College, Oxford. Tears were demanded by the occasion, and tears were actually paid accordingly. Meantime, according to custom, at that source and choice seat of learning, loyalty, and piety, a fasciculus of poetry—appropriate poetry—was called for, at the hands of the ingenious youths, or such of them whose pens were rich enough to be guided by private tutors. My quill, with the others, went to work; though alas! without learned or reverend hand to guide it. In process of time, by dint of hard labour, out of Ainsworth's Dictionary and the Gradus ad Parnassum, were manufactured stanzas of Latin Alcaics, beginning Eheu Georgi! certifying and proclaiming the experienced attributes of the dead god and the surely-expected ditto of the living one, with grief in proper form at the beginning, and consolation, in no less proper form, at the end.'
Editor’s Note
3 Mrs Elizabeth Westall was Jeremiah Bentham's cousin, though we do not know the precise relationship between them. It may be noted that Jeremiah Bentham's great-aunt Deborah, his grandfather's sister, married Samuel Westall in 1681. For Mrs Westall's will, under which both Bentham and his father were beneficiaries, see letter 106 below. Mrs Westall was also one of Charles Lind's creditors.
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