Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 4: October 1788 to December 1793

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Editor’s Note779To Samuel Bentham12 May 1791 (Aet 43)

London, 12th May, 1791.

No!—it is I that was the noodle; the town always empties immediately after the birth-day, viz., June the 4th,—so says pg 293Lord L.: he thinks of going the 1st of June; therefore, now you have received this, order horses.2 As to your staying there, it would not be any money in my pocket, which is all I care about; but I thought it was a pity that, being on the spot, you should leave any amusement behind you. But, hark ye! Mr Sir! you must not think of coming to me first—you must alight first upon the land where form is substance … As to my looking out for such lodgings for you as will be most convenient for myself, that's your Gallo-Russian palavering: how can I tell when you will come? and how can I tell what friend of yours you would like to live nearest to? There now, away with you to Q.S.P. Have a letter ready for me in your pocket to inform me of your arrival; if it is at the general penny post-office, in the Haymarket, before 9, or at least before 7, I shall have it the next day between 12 and 1, if I happen to walk to the office,—if not, between 1 and 2. If you arrive in town early—for example, about 12 or so—then you may come to breakfast with me the next morning; if not till latish, then you must sleep there, not only that night, but the next. The safest way is, to settle with yourself to stay with them two nights, at all events; that will be sure to satisfy them, and by that time I can have received a letter which will tell me when to expect you.3 Name your hour, and I will meet you at Highgate church, which is a pleasanter road than Hampstead. If I am not there at the time, come on to the White Lion: inquire your pg 294way for Finchley church, and when you are there, for Dollis's.4 In the great northern road, about a mile or mile and half beyond Highgate, in the way to Barnet, you will come to a nursery-ground in the road. At the top of the hill, on the left hand, is a public-house, called the Bald-faced Stag: at the bottom, before you come to the Bald-faced Stag, is another,—the sign the White Lion, I believe. Close to this White Lion is the stile that goes to Finchley church, which is about a mile distant. You might write to me from Dover, if the post sets out before you do. The place has been lately under repair; everything is dirt and confusion, which you will not mind.

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Editor’s Note
779. 1 Bowring, x, 253.
Editor’s Note
2 A reference to the information given in Lansdowne's letter of 12 May (778), p. 292above.
Editor’s Note
3 Bentham suggests that his brother should spend two nights with their father and stepmother at Queen's Square Place before coming out to Hendon. In a letter to Jeremiah from Paris, dated 12 May, Samuel acknowledged one from his father of 8 March, observing 'You tell me, Sir, that my mother has been so kind as to prepare a bed and chamber for my arrival. I naturally expected that after so long an absence you would be desirous I should take up my abode in your house as a means of our being more together; but give me leave, Sir, to express my fears that perpetual inconvenience might arise to us all from such an arrangement. The kind of regularity which you have been long habituated to and which at your time of life must be particularly necessary to your ease, would be too much interrupted by the different kind of people I may have to do with, and from the late and uncertain hours I must unavoidably keep, unaccustomed as I am to any kind of restraint, an anxiety not to derange your family would destroy all my comfort' (B.L. V: 251–2).
Jeremy had already explained to his father Samuel's wishes and on 13 May Jeremiah wrote to tell the latter: 'On Wednesday the 11th instant your Brother came and dined with us, and gave me the pleasure of knowing you was at Paris, and that I might be dayly in expectation of seeing you … I hope my dear Son, that you will come directly to your Fathers House, which you will find ready to recieve you, and where you may stay as long or as short a time as may be agreable to you. I shall not want to monopolize you, and shall therefore be contented if you should be inclined to make any other Place or House your Head-Quarters…' (B.L. V: 253–4).
Editor’s Note
4 Bowring has 'Dallis's', obviously a misprint.
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