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 380Editor’s Note1291To A SocietySeptember 1797 (Aet 49)

To the Society etc.2

My Lords and Gentlemen

I know not whether the following /enclosed/ paper will be thought /found/ to come within the design of your benevolent institution. It is but a project: indeed but the fragment of a project: and among the papers which you have as yet published I observe nothing but facts /things done/executed/deeds done/ records of deeds done/. Yet, with submission, if the matter does not render it unworthy /exclude it from the honour/ of your adoption; the species of composition it belongs to, ought not to exclude /be considered as excluding/ it. Design is a prelude to execution: and in matters of this nature /the nature in question/a political cast/ a necessary prelude: every aurelia must first have been a chrysalis: every institution established—every deed done—must first have been a project.

Now that your Treasury is opened—and so respectable so rich a Treasury—I should be sorry /mortified I must confess/ not to be admitted to throw in my mite: and the only mite I have to bestow has the /word/ name of project stamped upon it. /My heart is with you—my purse should be, if I had one/. What I have to bestow—my head and my heart are /is/ with you. Silver and Gold alas! I have none3 for you: why I have /the cause of my having/ none—a cause which I am not ashamed of—nor have need to be ashamed of—howsoever it may be with others, is not unknown to some of you—nor unlamented. Silver and Gold then I have none: but what I have—a project—that give I unto you. /Had/ Fidelity to engagements I have not been happy enough to find /been/ among the virtues of administration: if I had, I might have had something to present /to/ you with by this time besides projects. I do not mean silver and gold alone: but deeds done—deeds done for the reformation of human wickedness as well as for the relief of human pg 381wretchedness /misery/—deeds done such as you have had /given to yourselves/ the satisfaction of proclaiming to the world—with the implied exhortation—Go and do thou likewise.

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Editor’s Note
1291. 1 U.C. cliv: 53. Autograph draft, among 'Poor Plan' material.
Editor’s Note
2 Bentham may have sent a letter based on this draft to the Society for the Betterment of the Condition of the Poor, founded in 1796, or to another 'benevolent institution'.
Editor’s Note
3 The phrase 'Silver and Gold alas! I have none' is crossed out at this point, but needed to make sense.
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