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 Note827To Caroline Fox[?]December 1791 (Aet 43)

I send you a roasted lord for breakfast, or for after breakfast, as you please,—a courtly lord,—a deserter from your uncle.2 I roast him, however, not for being a lord, nor a courtier, nor a deserter, but for being a rival of mine, and because it will not be of so much prejudice to him, as it may be of use to me. I have sent a double portion, that you may give a slice, if you please, to another uncle,3 (I mean the cold one;) but upon the condition that, at any time, you should happen to be witness to his dropping of his own motion anything, or any word, that by any construction can be deemed a kind one, with reference to me; anything that could afford a willing interpreter a pretence for supposing that the dish pg 351could be at all relished for the cook's sake. Should no such sign ever make its appearance, my instructions and humble petitions are, that you would keep the share designed for him till you see me metaphorically, or if you would permit it, literally at your feet.

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Editor’s Note
827. 1 Bowring, x, 267–8. Introduced by the statement: 'Bentham sent to the Bowood ladies, with a copy of Panopticon, the letter which follows:'. As he refers to the recipient's 'uncle', she must have been Caroline Fox: the Vernons were half-sisters of Lord Lansdowne's second wife.
Editor’s Note
2 Apparently he is referring to Panopticon as a breakfast dish and puns on the other meaning of 'roast', i.e. to criticise.
Editor’s Note
3 Lord Lansdowne was an uncle of Caroline Fox by his marriage to her aunt; another uncle was Charles James Fox, to whom Bentham suggests the second copy of Panopticon might be given, if he shows interest.
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