Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 5: January 1794 to December 1797

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pg 176Editor’s Note1101To Samuel Benthamc. 12 January 1796 (Aet 47)

Your undecypherable line2 about newspapers might be meant I thought to convey a desire on your part of receiving newspapers: struck with remorse at having forgotten to send you a cargo the last time on which I had notice of a parcel going to you from Lloyd, I hereby send you those of the last week together with the Times of today which has all the news of the others, the 2 others being gone to Puss. Along with them and with this go certain pieces of plate glass 6 doz: I believe at 3d procured by Mr Bunce.3 Dont forget to return the newspapers. The Chelmsford4 [Chronicle] is sent together with the whole week's compleat except that Frydays are not as yet found.

Mr Bunce was sent for post-haste on Saturday by Ld Hugh,5 and likewise by Nepean for the purpose of attending the Board. They had sent twice to his lodgings in Queen Street without being able to find him. On Saturday when I thought him gone to the Admiralty in consequence of Ld Hugh's message, he went by some misconception to his own lodgings in expectation of finding a message for him there, and in the mean time Nepean's message came here. Being just returned from his measuring work, I recommended it to him to go to Nepean immediately (5 o'clock). He is gone accordingly. This looks like business. It looks as if they wanted to see him for the purpose of ascertaining his consent, and putting his name into some of the instruments.

Bunce is just returned. It was only for Ld Hugh, it seems, that Nepean wanted him. He was accordingly sent to Ld Hugh's under the notion of his being at home, but he not being at home nor expected at any certain time Bunce came away settling it with the Admiralty people there he should attend early tomorrow.

pg 177Wilson6 tells me he hears that Rose has read Escheat—I believe I told you that ministerial people say that the Collateral Succession Tax is not likely to go through.

Now as to Oliver—let me think about it on paper. If I discharge him, what shall I say to him? To discharge a servant without cause might increase that bad name the house has acquired through the enraged,7 and make it difficult to get a good one in his room, especially on account of Barret, the coal merchant, who recommended him. An allegation of dishonesty would be worse than none, for I cannot prove any upon him, and just now he has been detecting an instance of dishonesty or mistake in the part of the Grocer. Shall I say it is for having given offence to you?—that would set him upon you—shall I say it is for having taken liberties with his tongue and made mischief〈?〉—that might set him to think what mischief, and so make more mischief. If you could have staid till the man comes from France the embarrassment might have been avoided: the change would then have been the natural result of prior negotiation (which is in some measure the case), without prejudice to Oliverian dignity. I can't discharge him without settling his accounts, nor can I settle his accounts without you, unless it be by paying him the balance without examination—what was it you agreed for? Discharging him would not break the thread of tittle-tattle without discharging John, who has given us no offence: nor would even the discharging John, without discharging the two maids i.e: the only remaining servants: and then how to get others?—and still there remains Barret who is undischargeable. If either Panopticon or Inspector Generalship had taken place we should not care 2 pence about all these put together, but at present they are plagues. When you have made a good launch and matters are ripe for Inspector Generalship, you wont mind facing the Protector,8 at least for the purpose of dethroning him. After all the charge against him turns upon 2 or three words, not one of which, we may be pretty well assured was made use of by him: the subject could not have warranted such an appellation in the eyes of anybody: and the only evidence is the exaggerations if not the inventions of a woman half crazy with a mixture of rage and porter, and these communicated at second hand through a turbid troubled medium.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1101. 1 B.L. X: 617. Autograph, without date, docket or address.
Editor’s Note
2 Missing.
Editor’s Note
3 Samuel Bunce was a pupil of James Wyatt and exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1786–97. He joined Samuel's staff on 25 March 1796 as Architect and Engineer of Naval Works, but died of a fever, 18 October 1802.
Editor’s Note
4 The Chelmsford Chronicle, started 5 April 1771, contained local Essex news of interest to the Benthams.
Editor’s Note
5 Lord Hugh Seymour (1759–1801), son of the Marquis of Hertford, a vice-admiral and a lord of the Admiralty, 1795–8; he was a crony of George, Prince of Wales.
Editor’s Note
6 George Wilson.
Editor’s Note
7 The angry cook.
Editor’s Note
8 A humorous nickname for the servant, Oliver.
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