Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 3: January 1781 to October 1788

Contents
Find Location in text

Main Text

pg 443Editor’s Note562To Jeremiah Bentham6/17 January–10/21 February 1786 (Aet 38)

Bohopol Jany. 16. 1786

I have within this hour, my dear Father, received your letter of the 4th of Novr.:2 and though I hope to be the bearer of it myself as far as Crechoff, which will be its most expeditious if not nearest route, yet having a few hours if not days, of necessary leisure, I can not employ the present moment better than by sitting down under the first impressions to acknowledge the pleasure which yours afforded me. The letter that puzzled you never passed through the hands of Mr. Mulford. I mention this that you may let him see it by the first opportunity. As the time of its reaching you would be uncertain, I made use of a 3d person to convey to my Brother with speed, such part of its contents as it might be material he should be informed of.3

You do not mention your having received the parcel I sent you from Paris by Capt. Brook: it contained stockings, gloves, etc of Beaver and Vigogne wool. I thought I had mentioned it in one of my letters by post, besides one which was to accompany the parcel.

As to the news about the Prince's appointment it might have been good, had it been true; it might have been /true/, and may at any time if he pleases but was not then whatever it may be. So said a person at Constantinople who if it had been true could not but have known. (P.S. After all it actually is true: the reason of its being denied to me as late as Dec. by the Russian Envoy at Constantinople is perfectly inconceivable. Feb. 16th.)4

Against you revisit Bath, the seat of chitchat and gambling, I will give you an instruction by which you may make a fortune. Whenever you see /in a newspaper/ an article from Petersburgh, lay pg 4442 to one, /if/ from Constantinople, 5 to one, that it is not true. At the latter place I amused myself with reading accounts of I know not what commotions at a time when they were as quiet as Lambs: and every body concurred in assuring me that it was rare to find an article purporting to come from that capital that had a syllable of truth in it. If such be the case in this enlighten'd age when correspondences are so abundant and so publick, and where Falshood as it should seem could not tread a step without feeling Detection at its heels, how must it have been in days of yore when printing was unknown, and how uncertain must be the lights that can be derived from even the most rational and best attested histories?

All this while you are wondering where I am—You must have some patience before you can collect the first intelligence which a man usually obtains from his correspondent. From Maps and Gazetteers, even the freshest and most particular you would look for it in vain. Know then that Bohopol,5 the place /village/ from whence I date is in that part of the Ukraine (as we /choose to/ term it, though by the inhabitants themselves it is termed Granitz)6 which remains to Poland: yet so that into Turkey could I cast forth one shoe, and into Russia the other. Spread out before you your map of Europe, as I do mine which is its fellow. In Little Tartary you will find a river named Bog, joining the Dnieper at Oczakow. We call it here the Booh, but you in England being free may stile it as you please. To the right of this river you will find one without a name running into it near a place called Ponowa:7 it is almost eclipsed by the daubing which is intended to mark the division between Little Tartary and the Polish province stiled in the map Poldolia. This river is called here the Sinyuka or Shinyuka. Bohopol is situated in one of the angles formed by the junction of these two rivers. By the Bog, it is separated from the Turkish territory: by the Shinjuka, from the Russian. On the Russian side stands a little village or to speak by curtesy a town called Olviopol or Olviople: on the Turkish side another called Holla … . The Russian may contain about 150 houses; the Polish about pg 445threescore: the Turkish about as many. Olviopol seems to have been the parent of the other two: it owes its birth to a cause to which so many others have owed their depopulation, /I mean/ the Plague. The Russians in consequence of the treaty which put them in possession of that part of Little Tartary, which lies between the Bog and the Dnieper, established on their side of this central spot, a post for the observance of the quarantine. Through this place pass all letters between Petersburgh and Constantinople: at this place the /Russian/ Courier who sets out once a fortnight from Constantinople, stops, at the Quarantine house: he /there/ leaves his bag, which after having been fumigated and so forth, is forwarded by another courier through the Russian Empire, and returns himself to the capital from whence he came.

At this same Bohopol I arrived yesterday evening. (Monday Jan. 15.)8 after dusk: in anxious expectation of answers to 2 out of 3 letters I sent to Sam, by so many successive couriers, from Constantinople. A thaw which just now, as my ill star would have it, has destroy'd the snow-roads all around, and deluged the ice of the Sinjuka, render'd a passage across that river either for Myself, or for a Messenger, difficult: the police of this town render'd it impracticable. This morning I found means to send a Messenger with a letter to Major Poulevitch the Russian Postmaster inclosing two letters of introduction from so many different persons in Constantinople and Bucharest: the messenger brought me not a letter from Sam which I much expected, but a letter from you which assuredly I did not expect. Disappointed of necessaries, I have got a luxury to console me. I proposed to him in my first, and more particularly in my second, to send somebody to Olviopol to meet me: now have I got between 7 and 800 miles to travel alone, in a wild country, of the language of which I know not a single syllable. Under these circumstances it would be cruelty to you to send off this letter before I reach Crichoff if ever I should reach it. Not a creature established at Olviopol understands either French or English; so my old fellow-traveller Mr. Scheider informs me, in answer to my French note to Major Poulevitch. But his track coincides with mine at least as far as Kremenchuck, which is about 120 miles on my way. There he tells me I shall meet with people who have French tongues in their heads, and thither he invites me to bear him company, which I shall most gladly do. There too I shall fall in with Sam's route in his way between pg 446Crechoff and the Crim in the south with Prince Potemkin: as he staid there some days he must have made acquaintance on an advantageous footing with the Governor and so forth. Now you see the other side of the picture: so that all things consider'd, whatever you may be, I am as easy as an old shoe.

Before you fold up your map do but look at a place called there Konicepole: (it should be Konietzpol.) Why this most beggarly of all beggarly villages I ever saw, and which never could have been anything better, should be honoured with a place in the map of Europe, /in preference to at/ least half a dozen /much bigger/, which I saw within the space which the name of it occupies upon the map, is more than I can conceive. /It had hardly more hovels than there are good houses on Pye-nest Green./ In fact it is within 3 miles of the site of Bohopol: whereas it is represented as if at least 20 miles distant. The same error is copied into a Russian map of the province of New Russia (in which /lies/ Olviopol) of the year 1779. To the left of the Bog you will see a river called Rodeme, with an R; instead of Kodime, with a K, as it should be. It does empty itself into the Bog, but, if my information here is just, at more than six miles distance from the junction of the latter with the Sinyuka.9

Before this reaches you, you will have received, I hope, a letter of mine from Yassi to Mr. Eaton at Constantinople, as I particularly desired him to forward it to you.10 From Bucharest I had already sent a kind of imperfect journal, contained in one or two large sheets I forget which to Mr. Henderson, with a similar request.11 (It was one folio sheet and one quarto). At present therefore what remains is that I account to you for my appearance at this place.

At Bucharest I met, as my letter from Yassi informs you, Mr. Willis, an English Merchant who from Constantinople went to settle in the Crimea. In his journey from thence he had passed thro Olviopol: for through that place every traveller from the Crimea or from Cherson to Moldavia and so on to Constantinople is obliged to pass. This you will observe is a great detour: the political causes above hinted at concur with the want of bridges and other physical causes, (but I know not as yet in what proportions) in rendering a nearer approach to the sea impracticable. From Yassi to Olviopol, pg 447there are two routes; one through the Turkish territories, the other, higher up, through the Polish. The former is the most ordinary route; it is that which the Couriers pursue. The other would scarcely be adopted, but for the sake of avoiding the quarantine to which travellers through the Turkish territory are subjected whenever the plague is known to exist in Constantinople. At Constantinople and the environs that calamity prevailed at the time of my departure (so my passport from the Russian Envoy testified) to a considerable degree: but it was then understood that in the Polish territory near to Olviopol itself it was still more prevalent. This account was confirmed by Mr. Willis: it was his opinion therefore as well as the Russian Consul's that I should be obliged to take the route of Bessarabia (which is the name of the Turkish province) subject however to any counter advice which the Russian Vice-Consul at Jassi might from maturer information think fit to give me. At Jassi the Vice-Consul informed me that the quarantine with regard to Poland was /already/ taken off: and that by pursuing that route I should obtain three advantages: 1st, a shorter cut, 2. the saving the expence of a Janissary (which is necessary for every Frank who travels any where in Turkey) and 3. the escaping of the quarantine. Between that part of Moldavia and the Polish territory the only communication is through Soroka12 which is separated by the river Dniester from Chekanofka on the Polish side. For Soroka or for Checkanofka, though the least of those two paltry villages is equal to ten Konietzpols, you would search in vain: but you will find two points marked Zampól and Cherinoe: Soroka and Chekanofka may be conceived as lying between those two points. From Yassi to Soroka there are post-horses stationed all the way: at Soroka or at Chekanofka which like Stroud and Rochester may be considered as one and the same town, I should meet /he said/ with Carriers who would take me on to Olviopol, the Vice-Consul he supposed for about 5 or 6 Roubles. From Yassi to Soroka they compute 12 Polish miles: whereof each is /reckoned/ equivalent to 10 Russian Versts. This would make 120 Versts, and from Soroka to Olviopol he conjectured there might be about 200 more: total 320. Ten versts should make a trifle more than six English miles: but by observation of the time compared with the rate of travelling, I am clear that one of these Polish miles can not make so little as eight English. Between Yassi and Soroka there are 5 posts; including that at pg 448Yassi: the third post is at a place called Belch:13 the only station, which can be dignified with the appellation of a village. If the name ofends you, cut 'it' out; and please to remember I am not its Godfather.

On Monday Jan. 9th my Waggon being at length mounted on a sledge I bade adieu to Jassi after dusk: the snow being deep and the track not as yet harden'd by use, we dragged on heavily, seldom more than a foot pace, with frequent interruptions. At the rate of 4 miles an hour we ought to have reached the first post by about 10 or 11: I had /all the way/ 6 horses, understand, paying but for 4, whether altogether according to custom, or partly through favour, I did not clearly comprehend. After toiling some hours, how many I know not, (for except when I have gone to bed I have scarce ever thought to wind up my watch), at length we stuck outright: luckily, we were within 4 miles of the post. After struggling an hour or two to no purpose, and breaking a reasonable quantity of tackle one of the two postillions set out for the post in quest of a reinforcement: he returned about daybreak with /a 3d postillion and/ 5 supplemental horses in addition to the 6 we had before. The same scene of whipping, and shouting and lifting recommenced, and with the same success. The additional cattle seemed rather to have diminished than augmented our effective strength. By whips composed of a short stick and a piece of slender pack-thread such as you would tie up half a dozen books with, no impression capable of lasting beyond the moment could be made. If then the /three/ postillions had been perfect timists, with Dr. Burney to lead them, instead of honest Ludwig (which is my Polish Servant's name) the effective strength to be collected out of the 11 horses would have been equal to that of 3; but as it was seldom that any two were struck together, or, when struck, pulled in the same direction, how many fractions of a horse our total effective strength amounted to for a constancy, is a problem which I must leave to the Royal Society /to solve/. Of the sleevelessness and stupidity and ignorance manifested upon this and other similar occasions by the honest Moldavians, no man whose travels have been confined to England and the countries which come next to England, can form a tolerable idea. Of all which, having neither implements to operate with nor tongue to speak with, I was obliged to be an inactive spectator, and, as impatience would have been useless, I chose to be a patient one. The country, though bare and wild and unenclosed, is not so desert as not to afford here and pg 449there a miserable hovel with a good stock of stout horned cattle: some such habitations, though not in sight, were fortunately at no great distance. Fortunately also the experience of the superior virtue of oxen at a dead pull had made its way into Moldavia: in process of time 4 of these cattle were procured and these, added to two of our best horses, at the first effort drew me out of limbo. I reached the post house at about 10 or 11 o'clock of the Tuesday morning (Jan. 10.) Here I eat a morsel of bread, and made a dish of milk-less Coffee in a tin pot I had bought at Bucharest: the only refreshment I had taken except a slender meal of the same sort, since Sunday about noon: and what I was much more in want of, I got a recruit of hot water for my feet in an earthen bottle I had brought from Jassi. Please to understand in a parenthesis that in all the shops of that metropolis, /though populous enough to contain between 3 and 400 places of worship of which about 70 parochial/ no such implement was to be purchased as a cork. I was obliged to have recourse to the Vice-Consul's generosity who gave me 4 of different sizes, but so expensively, though clumsily, fitted up with rings and caps and buttons and wires, aping at an immense distance our English ones, that I was ashamed to take them. What made the hot water expedient the more necessary is, that /since I have left Bucharest/ in this part of the world I have found the hearths every where raised a foot or two above the ground, as if on purpose to prevent the application of artificial heat to the lower extremities, the only parts which with me stand essentially in need of it.

A little before dusk I arrived without any material accident at Belch: the posthouse offering wretched accommodation and diseased inhabitants, I went a little out of the road in quest of a private house; much against the will of honest Ludwig, who though very studious to serve me in his own way, has /proved/ a constant enemy to every kind of eccentricity. By bad accommodations take care you do not understand as in England /want of a separate room or/ bad provisions or even none, for none /did I expect or wish for/, but a smoaking chimney, or an imperfect door, or a door opening immediately upon the fire place, in the one room which constitutes the house. I was shewn to the house which appeared to be the best, and which proved to be occupied by a Jew: Dealer and Chapman as all Jews are, but in what particular articles I could not learn: for Ludwig is an enemy to all impertinent curiosity, and with him all curiosity is impertinent. In this palace, for such it was in comparison of the ordinary Moldavian houses, I was as pg 450well received as I should have been at a post-house. And now would I fain paint to you this Jewish house and this Jewish family, as I would every house and every family I have visited since I left Constantinople, and so I could, if I had time: but I shall ruin you in postage, and at this rate we shall never reach /even/ Soroka. Here I made an Anti-Jewish meal of Yassi Sausages; Christian neighbours furnished a plate to put them on. I left Belch about 7 at night and after an exact repetition of the former night's scene, the oxen excepted, reached Soroka Wednesday morning at 11.

Soroka being the /last/ Moldavian town, there consequently end the Moldavian posts. As it was through Poland that I was thenceforward to travel, I thought the Polish town the best spot for enquiring concerning the means of travelling. Not to leave my baggage unguarded or guarded by strangers. I thought it a point gained when I had prevailed on honest Ludwig to engage the Moldavian postillions to cross the river to Chekanofka. I had no sooner crossed it than I was stopped by a Polish Centinel unarmed, who declared that the colonel's order forbad my advancing any further. Passports were produced, but in vain, and all explanation refused: I desired to be introduced to this Colonel: this too was impracticable. In the course of the altercation, understanding I spoke little or no German, 'what business then,' says he, /'can he have/ to travel?' A piastre dispelled this and every ⟨other⟩ difficulty, and I soon found myself at the 'Colonel's' quarters. He there informed me that /according to orders/ a quarantine as against travellers from Moldavia was there in force: but that as he, all circumstances consider'd, apprehended no danger, he would not send me to the quarantine house but /station me at large in/ better lodgings, from whence if I would wait with patience, he hoped in the course of two or three days to have it in his power to dismiss me. The conversation was carried on sometimes through the medium of Ludwig, who comprehended French but very imperfectly, sometimes immediately in Latin. He had got the length of several sentences, and still I heard nothing of myself, but a great deal concerning I knew not what 3d person under the title of Magnificus. Whatever pride your son might have conceived at finding himself to be the personage dignified by so high-sounding a title would have been much lower'd by a question that was soon put to him whether since he had denied himself to be a merchant, was not Magnificus a Drawing-master or a Player. The firm and possibly rather disdainful tone with which I thought it advisable to answer these and other such questions in the negative operating on him as an evidence of pg 451truth, he betook himself to his apologies, begging I would not take amiss what he said, observing that questions of that nature were necessary preliminaries, and concluding that being now perfectly satisfied that I was what my passport purported me to be, an English Gentleman, he could not think of assigning me any other quarters than his own house. His momentary suspicions to the contrary had been founded he said on something that had been dropped by my servant whom he understood to have said that I was /actually/ a Drawing-Master. I have my conjectures relative to the ground of this mistake, but it is not worth while to state them here. He then introduced me to his Wife, a good pretty young woman, with whom his honey moon seemed still to be in the full, though it had already lasted above six months. His name is Dunakefski: he acknowledged six and twenty: (very young thought I for a Colonel, but of that hereafter). He is a subject of the Emperor being a native of Cracow in Austrian Poland: he had spent 10 years he said in the service; the first 4 or 5 in the K. of Prussia's, the rest in that of Poland.—I have set you down in this house:—how shall I bring you out of it? I must pass over Madam Dunakefski's Jew Menmantua-makers, her female visitants, my visit with ⟨the family to⟩ a neighbouring gentleman of the name of Callinski /⟨my devotions⟩ at the Greek church,/ and my transactions at the Custom-house. One incident however I will mention relative to my visit. One of the sons, a young man seemingly about one and twenty, talking a little Latin, kept himself near me, standing by the sofa on which I sat. Observing him constantly in that posture, I asked him why he did not sit? upon which, after looking round him with marks of hesitation, he set himself down in the place I made for him. I soon found that in compliment to me he had broke an etiquette—Guess why he could not sit? because his mother was in the room. Present this, with the traveller's best respects, to the present Clerk of the Rules, and the future Chancellor, who knows but it may lessen your bill from the Upholsterers?

I had not been above 2 hours at Chekanofka before I was ⟨informe⟩d by the Colonel, and I believe truly, that ⟨by ord⟩ers received since my arrival, the quarantine was totally taken off. I was therefore at full liberty, but horses remained to be procured. Upon talking with the Collector of the Customs he had mentioned by conjecture about 6 roubles as a likely price for 4 horses either all the way on to Olviopol, or a part of the way, I forget which: but his conjecture seemed to be a random one not grounded on experience or any specific information. Ludwig could not meet with pg 452any one who would undertake for the whole journey, which he was informed was 18 (= 144) miles. Several indeed were willing to undertake for the first stage, which is 3 (= 24) miles at a place called Miaskoofka:14 but they all concurred in demanding 1½ florins equal to a trifle more than 9d a horse per mile, and as the snow they said was deep and the road steep and mountainous, none would undertake it with fewer than 10 horses. I was informed through the same channel that the cattle were but indifferent and that it being a feast holiday time as usual amongst some or all of these people it was uncertain how soon if at all this requisite number could be collected. After several conferences on the subject, the Colonel interfered, telling me a person whom he could depend on and who had six stout horses for whose sufficiency he could answer was willing to let them for the three miles for as many ducats. This made 54 florins. The other proposal amounted to 45. The enormity of this demand /concurred with other circumstances in/ exciting some suspicion: but I had already had experience of the inefficacy of undisciplined numbers: and for so small a difference as 9 florins equal to about 4s 6d, prudential considerations, if no other, seemed to forbid the rejection of an offer coming from such a quarter. In short I accepted it: he then said, if I would then deposit the money in his hands the bargain was made, and he would forward the money to the proper hands and be answerable for the event. I thought this a little odd, but I complied. Other incidents relative to this negotiation I must e'en pass by: such as his labouring without effect to prevent my visiting the Collector; and my labouring, I believe with a little effect to make him believe that that visit had no ⟨reference⟩ to him.

About 2 o'clock of the day after my arrival (Wed. 12th) I set out for Miaskoofka: dinner seem'd to have been hasten'd that I might share in it. We parted with many professions of friendship on his side; and many farewells and bows and acknowledgements on mine. I was surprized at the splendor of this hired equipage: 6 fine horses that would not have disparaged an English carriage decently caparaisoned, and driven by 2 smart postillions, with an outrider bearing a long pike. I asked Ludwig, whether he knew whose they were: he said he had asked, and nobody would tell him: but thus much he knew by the circumstances of the pike-man, that the owner could be no other than a gentleman, or if you please, a nobleman. As Noblemen in that little spot could not be plenty, our suspicions concurred in fixing on the Callinski family. Not long after pg 453he spoke to the Postillions, and then he told me they confessed that their master was no other than mine host. Admitting payment to be due for accommodations proffer'd by hospitality, he would have been no loser had he lent his horses instead of letting them: 4 or 5 pound of extraordinary fine raisins in a place where raisins of no kind were to be had for money, an English letter padlock which he stripped my cloak-bag of, in exchange for a trumpery one of the country, a pair of Leghorn hare fur gloves which Madame wheedled me out of after Monsieur had attempted it in vain; these articles, trifling in England, Leghorn and Smyrna, but every one of them matchless in Chekanofka: these presents, you will think, if weighed against the entertainment of a day to which no addition appears to have been made on my account, might have been sufficient to turn the scale of obligation in my favour. Honest Ludwig repulsed a similar attack with better success. Madame, smitten with a bauble she saw hanging to his watch, would have begged it of him: his offer of parting with it for the 6s or 7s it had cost him in Leghorn was rejected: but pleading servitude and its attendant poverty, he was at length excused. After all my friend the Colonel, as his Soldiers called him, and as he himself suffer'd me to stile him all along, turned out to be neither more nor less than a Lieutenant of horse. So Ludwig, who having served in armies recognised him by his uniform, and knew this very man three years in his present rank, informed me, but with his usual simplicity not till after my departure. His command, render'd lucrative if Ludwig's information speaks true, by horse-jobbing; and his wife, who brought him two villages to her fortune: these resources, if he had had no others than his pay, should have set him above the disgrace of plundering travellers under the mask of hospitality. Let Mr. Mulford thank his star that his 7-foot pipe-tubes did not make the tour with me by land: Madame Dunakefski (for this noble young lady without a breach of the fashion smoaks) would not have failed to grasp at them: and who could have wrenched any thing out of so fair a hand?

After all I saw no cause to regret the forced preference I gave to the Commander's cattle: for it was not without some difficulty that in about 5 hours his six fine horses under able management, dragged me to Miaskoufka.

Here the difficulty of getting horses recommenced; nor could it be overcome till the next morning (Fri. 12. Jan.)15 about 3 or 4 o'clock when I set out with 6 horses for Cheechelnik.16 The 5 or if you please pg 454the 40 miles between Miaskoufka and that town took me till near the same hour in the afternoon. Here as at Yassi, Religion intervened and put a spell upon me. From one side of the Polish Ukraine to the other not a Christian horse ever stirs without a Jew-Broker to give him motion. Before such an animal could be ferreted out, tho' no time was lost in hunting him, the Sabbath had begun: and it was not till the afternoon of the next day (Sat. 13th)17 that Ludwig after tugging all night long, tore a leaf out of the book of Mortimer and held up to the view of the astonished inhabitants of Chechelnik the doctrine of 'Every man his own Horse-broker.' I arrived at Savran,18 a stage of equal length, travelling as usual in the night, by 2 o'clock the next morning (Sun. 15 Jan.) There by good fortune, though not without Jew assistance, in the compass of 2 hours I got horses for this place.—From Chekanofka even unto Bohopol, a space of not less than 144 miles not an Inn have I entered that has been in any other hands than those of the race of Israel: a people by inbred filthiness the worst qualified, and by religious scruples, one should think the least disposed, to engage in such a business. Would that our good friend, his late Lordship,19 were s-itting beside me (he knows what I mean) I would relate to him at full length and in piteous sort my entertainment among these Iewes. He and I, in reading of the scrapes they /used to/ get into in Hollingshead, have often joined in lamenting their hard ⟨me⟩asure: enlighten'd by experience and familiarized with vicarious punishment, I am now satisfied that the sufferings of the forefathers were no more than a just retribution for those which the children have inflicted on me. Qui fit Mæcenas, that in all Poland, (for it is the same in other provinces as in this) a man can not get a rag to cover him, nor a piece of black bread to eat, /nor a beast to carry him,/ nor a hog-stie to lay his head in, but he must have a Jew to help him to it?—O but (cried an old Polish Latin-talking gentleman-traveller to whom I gave a supper at Miaskoufka) they have a head!—'Yes,' replied I, 'but it is a lousy one.'—If such is the superiority of Jewish heads, what are native Polish ones! I have a theory less disgraceful to the body of the nation. These interlopers form the tiers etat, standing in the gap between a people of Lords and a people of slaves, in a country not inviting enough to allure better capitalists.20

pg 455Before I take leave of Chechelnik, it would be ingratitude not to commemorate a Russian Major, of the name of Bibicoff: he redeemed me out of Jewish Purgatory, and entertained me with the politeness of a gentleman and the cordiality of a friend. He has been stationed there these two years by the Admiralty at Cherson, purveying wood from the demesnes of Prince Lubomirski;21 (who by the bye has a not inelegant palace built within these 4 or 5 years in the middle of the town, but locked up, /his family being absent/ and invisible in the inside.) Over night, as an article of news, Ludwig had apprised me of his existence: it struck me immediately, in spite of Ludwig's controuling judgement, that a Russian officer serving in an inferior rank within the sphere of my Brother's connections might be willing as well as able to be of use to me. ⟨Finding no⟩ station in the Inn ample enough to receive my narrow bed, except the State bedstead, a kind of portable trough, littered with chopt straw, which /I had just seen/ the Landlady empty of two children, to receive me, I abandoned this luxury to my faithful attendant, leaving him to bask in the straw inhaling the fumes of Judaism, and in spite of his remonstrance retired to a cleanlier place ⟨in the⟩ Stable. There, climbing up into my waggon ⟨and⟩ wrapping my pelisse around me, ⟨I had⟩ as perfect a night's sleep as ever I enj⟨oyed at⟩ Lincoln's Inn. He objected a frosty night ⟨and⟩ imperfect roof at least fifty foot high in the company of cattle: but I had already had more than one night's sleep on colder nights without any other roof than that of the Waggon, and I am Gulliver enough to prefer Houhyms to Yahoos. In the morning having taken a breakfast of Yassi bread and Yassi Coffee, with some rich Chicken ⟨broth⟩ poisoned by a Jewish pipkin, I dragged Ludwig with me to the Majors: he was not yet stirring, but returning a while after to the charge, I found him visible. He detained me to dinner, while he bestirred himself with great zeal to find out horses for me, though eventually without effect. The company consisted of his wife, a Clerk called in Russian stile his Cancellier, and I know not what Russian visitor: a little Italian, of which our stock was equally slender, enabled him and me to maintain some sort of conversation. At parting, he gave me of his own motion a letter to a person in authority at Savran to find me horses, and another of general recommendation to a dependant of his /here/ one Licoka, a Jew, pg 456with whom /having a room to myself,/ I am much better lodged than I could have been at any other home either here or at Olviopol.

Crechoff Feb 10/21. I arrived here after a variety of unexpected and unfortunate delays, this day sennight: and now I may without scruple make use of the first opportunity for sending off these two sheets of my history. The joy produced by the re-union of your two sons after a separation of 5½ years may be left to their father to conceive. This paper will scarce hold anything more: but it will not be long before you have another. Take in the mean time a very general sketch of the events which filled ⟨up⟩ the long interval betwixt the first and the last dates of this long letter. After crossing the Sinjuka through a deal of dirt and with a deal of difficulty, I reached Olviopol the 6th day I think it was after my arrival at the opposite shore. I had then 4 or 5 days more to kick my heels alone at the Quarantine House. My journey from Olviopol to Kremencheck took me 4 days of which one was spent amusingly enough at St. Elizabeth22 at the house of a rich old farmer of the Brandy duties. There, as indeed at Olviopol, I found myself treading on what to me was much better than classic ground: ground on which Sam had trod, in the company you know of.23 At Kremenchuck I had the good fortune to meet with Lieut. Col. Fanshaw24 and Col. Chevalier de Ribas.25 The former has the only remaining one except Sam's of the ten independent Batallions. The other, half an Englishman by the mother's side, ⟨has⟩ a Regiment of horse. I happened to have a letter of introduction to Gen. Sinelnikoff the General of the Province,26 but Fanshaw told me, and as I had reason to think truly, that the best introduction pg 457I could have had was the relation I bear to Sam. I had there the satisfaction of hearing of his existence after ½ a year's interruption of all intelligence. I was detained there a fortnight by a rascally Major who pretended to wait for nothing but passable roads to set out for Dubrovna a place of the Prc⟨'s⟩ within a post or two of Crechoff, and who after all left me in the lurch. I was obliged in his stead to take up with one of a small party of Sam's batallion whom my good stars had sent to Kremenchuck some months before. From Kremenchuck to Crichoff took me from Thursday night to Tuesday /last/ inclusive. And here for the present I must end.27

Notes

The Russian town is compact: the Polish, scatter'd: the Turkish still more so. In the Russian post there is a Colonel with 200 men [ … ?] the Polish a Lieutenant with 12: in the Turkish, no [ … ?]

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
562. 1 B.M. IV: 240–3. Autograph.
Addressed: 'Jereh Bentham Esq. / Queens Square Place / Westminster / London.' Postmarks illegible. At the foot is added: 'Direct for either of us at Critchoff to the care of the Postmaster at Riga.'
The head of the letter is misdated; see n. 8. Partly printed in The Slavonic and East European Review, xxix (1950–51), 73–6.
Editor’s Note
2 Missing.
Editor’s Note
3 The letter to which this passage refers appears to be missing, unless, as seems probable, letter 551 is meant.
Editor’s Note
4 This is a later insertion, a day or two after Bentham had arrived at Krichëv. It is not clear to which of Potëmkin's appointments he was referring.
Editor’s Note
5 Bohopol, together with Olviopol, and Holla to which Bentham made reference later in this letter, all of which were situated about the confluence of the Bug and the Sinyukha, have become the present Russian town of Pervomaysk.
Editor’s Note
6 Russian—granitsa, frontier.
Editor’s Note
7 Not identified.
Editor’s Note
8 Monday was 16 January by the Gregorian calendar, by which Bentham was still reckoning at this time.
Editor’s Note
9 The Kodyma, a right-bank (western) tributary of the Bug, joins it a few miles upstream from Pervomaysk.
Editor’s Note
11 letter 557. In a letter to Jeremiah Bentham dated from Pera, 10 January 1786, Henderson stated that this had just reached him and would be forwarded by next post (B.M. IV: 234).
Editor’s Note
12 Now Soroki, in Russian Moldavia, situated at 48° 08′ N., 28° 12′ E., on the right bank of the Dniester.
Editor’s Note
13 Beltsy, 47° 44′ N., 27° 51′ E.
Editor’s Note
14 Not identified.
Editor’s Note
15 Friday, 13 January.
Editor’s Note
16 Not identified.
Editor’s Note
17 Saturday, 14 January.
Editor’s Note
18 A village at the confluence of the river Savranka and the Bug, 48° 09′ N., 30° 04′ E.
Editor’s Note
19 I.e., Richard Clark, who had been Lord Mayor in 1784–85.
Editor’s Note
20 The earliest instance (one in print) of the use of this word noticed in the O.E.D. is by Arthur Young in 1792. An instance of its use as early as 1764 in a Russian official document is noted in E. I. Druzhinina, Severnoye Prichernomor'e v 1775–1800 gg, Moscow, 1959, p. 67.
Editor’s Note
21 Not identified.
Editor’s Note
22 Not identified. Probably Yelisabetgrad, about half-way between Olviopol and Kremenchug.
Editor’s Note
23 I.e., in the company of Potëmkin.
Editor’s Note
24 Lieutenant Colonel Henry Fanshawe (1756–1828), alias Fensh, under which name he and members of his family appear in the Russkiy Biograficheskiy Slovar′. He came of a landed family in Lancashire, had risen to the rank of colonel in the 1st regiment of footguards, and, after the end of the American war of independence, sought adventure and opportunity in the Russian military service. A few months after Samuel Bentham received his military rank and command of an independent batallion of chasseurs, Fanshawe was given a similar command with the same rank. He eventually rose to the rank of general in the Russian service, at various times held the governorships of Kiev and of the Crimea, and became a senator.
Editor’s Note
25 Don Jose de Ribas-y-Boyons (1749–1800), born at Naples, the son of a Spanish father and a French mother (so identified in F. A. Golder, John Paul Jones in Russia, New York, 1927, p. 53 n.). He had been introduced into the Russian service some years before by Count Orlov.
Editor’s Note
26 Ivan Maksimovich Sinel'nikov (d. 1789). He was Potëmkin's chief assistant in the government of the namestnichestvo of Yekaterinoslav and was governor and officer in charge of the building of the town of that name.
Editor’s Note
27 Some of the chronology of the last part of Bentham's journey can be established only approximately, and he appears to have over-estimated the periods he spent at the frontier and at Kremenchug. If he stayed ten days at Bohopol and Olviopol, he resumed his travels on 16/27 January and reached Kremenchug on 19/30 January. These dates are uncertain; but his statement is categorical, that he left Kremenchug on 29 January/9 February, and reached Krichëv on 3/14 February.
logo-footer Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. Access is brought to you by Log out