Jeremy Bentham

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 Note186To Jeremiah Bentham1 October 1776 (Aet 28)

Hond. Sir

Inclosed you will receive my account—You will observe it does not include among my receipts the Sum you favoured me with by draught on the Schoolmaster I think it was the latter end of June.

It amounted I think to £36-9s.-0d. A few days afterwards you took back £5-5s.-0. (I gave it you in the summer-house at Q.S.P.) This reduced it to £31.4s.0d. The Sadler's bill comes to £5.1s.0d.—that will reduce it to £26.3.0d. The expence of the Mare and the other extra expences of the campaign I forbear giving you an account of till the whole is closed which it will now be in about a fortnight. I doubt I must beg of you not to expect much to be coming to you on the ballance. I must look at some memorandum I have in town before I can deliver it to you compleat with dates etc.

Many thanks to you, Sir for your kind letter. To find my conduct so fully approved by you is the greatest comfort that could happen to me. What little incidents have occurred since I saw you, I will beg leave to refer you to Sam for an account of. I can now give you the satisfaction of knowing that my mind is at ease, I may almost say at perfect ease; and I am going on briskly with my work. The worst was over before they returned from Margate: since then my hopes have been let down gradually and gently. I doubt not of your pardon for having kept my Brother. Mr. Wilson's stay proved unexpectedly long: so that had it not been for my Brother, I should have been quite alone.

I am now at work upon my capital work: I mean the Critical Elements of Jurisprudence.2 I am not now as heretofore barely pg 359collecting materials but putting it into the form in which I propose that it should stand. I am working upon a plan which will enable me to detach a part and publish it separate from the rest. The part that I am now upon is the Law of personal Injuries: from thence I shall proceed to the Law relative to such acts as are Injuries to Property and Reputation. This will include the whole of the Criminal Law relative to such offences as have determinate individuals for their objects. This part may be characterized by the name of the Law relative to Private Wrongs. The remainder in that case will come under that of the Law relative to Public Wrongs. But a much clearer and more natural line will be drawn between the offences that respectively come under those divisions than the technical mode of considering the subject would admitt of Blackstone's drawing. Previous to these details will come that part of the work which contains the general principles by which the execution of these details is governed. Of this preliminary part the plan is pretty well settled and the materials in good measure collected.

By what I have seen and learnt concerning Sam's work, I doubt not his doing great things in Geometry. The rogue is pressing me— so I must have done.

I have sent him upon the Mare thinking this would be a good opportunity of his having a couple of rides.

  •                          I am
  •                              Dear Sir
  •                                      Your's most dutifully and
  •                                            affectionately
  •                                               Jere:y Bentham

  • Fetcham
  • 1st. Octr. 1776

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Editor’s Note
186. 1 B.M. II: 67–68. Autograph. Docketed by Jeremiah Bentham: 'Fils Jeremy Lr. datd. Fetcham Surry 1st. Octr. 1776 giving some Accnt of his Plan, for a work proposed to be Entitled Critical Elements of Jurisprudence.'
Addressed: 'To / Jere:h Bentham Esqr. Written on cover in pencil: 'Hawk'.
Part of this letter is published in Bowring, x, 77.
Editor’s Note
2 This work was never published as such, though the Mss. were used by Dumont in preparing Traités de Législation (1802) and Théorie des Peines et des Récompenses (1811).
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