## Editor’s NoteEditor’s Note1467ToEvan Nepean21 September 1799 (Aet 51)

Be pleased to observe, that according to the Contract as settled in 1795 (printed in the 28th Report of the Committee on Finance) pg 199the Money to be allowed for a building to contain 1000 Prisoners was—£19,000 making £19 per man. At this rate,

If 2,000 were the number of Prisoners to be built for, the allowance for the building would come to £38,000

If 2,500 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £47,500

If 3,000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £57,000

This 3,000 is the utmost number I would fix upon, if it were left to myself, judging from the data you have seen and which are in print.

£57,000 is a large sum. But it is for the whole of the United Kingdom: and this expence, which the whole Kingdom would have to contribute to, is less, by from £10 to 20,000, than the expence of the so much talked of and commended Prison in Cold-Bath- Fields, out of which, for want of these safeguards which Panopticon affords even to superfluity (universal and uninterrupted inspection within—by night as well as day—Watchmen watching and Patroles patroling without the Walls, between the Walls and a wet Ditch (etc.)) Prisoners have got out, by 7 or 8 at a time, and may get out again, for any thing there is to hinder them.

Expence of the Cold-Bath-Prison as supposed, upon a hasty recollection, by Mr Mainwaring2—between £60 and £70,000: say

therefore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £65,000

Do. per Mr Colquhoun upon a first recollection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £60,000

upon a second . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £80,000

It might of course be ascertained to a penny if it were worth while.

No. of Cells in Cold Bath Fields Prison, as reckoned up by the Governor's Son and the Turnkeys3 (present myself and Mr Colquhoun) more than one man being never put into a Cell ± 235.4

pg 200£65,000, divided by 235, gives the expence per man — £276

£80,000 divided by 235 gives the expence per man — £3405

N.B. This expence, thus bestowed on separation, answers no moral purpose whatsoever: since, if they are separate at some times, they are associated at others. The only effect of it is to screen them against inspection, and to prevent their being put to any profitable work.

£200 per man is mentioned in several printed Statements6 of mine as the expence agreed to upon Blackburne's Plan for the formerly-intended Penitentiary Houses.7 But this, if taken as the expence that would now be incurred by the execution of the same Plan, is very considerably under the mark: as, if any any thing turned upon it, I could pledge myself to shew. Even £250 per man would be found too little.

Mr Rose once (being then, as it seemed, in bad humour) did not choose to hear of any such comparisons:—but, unless it be by comparison, how is good or bad economy to be judged of?

The reason, why he would not hear of this comparison, was— because he (Mr Rose) regarded that estimate as an extravagant one. Be it so: yet, while Mr Rose, in his single person, was regarding it as an extravagant one, an assemblage of 15 persons appointed by Parliament—an assemblage, of which the Lord Chancellor and Speaker were two, and the 12 Judges 12, were declaring it under their hands not to be excessive. But let it be excessive: for I myself have the honour to be in the minority with Mr Rose. Still, may not the expence in question be an outrageously extravagant one, and at the same time an expence of no more than $1 18$ or $1 23$, say, for a medium, the twentieth part,8 for the attainment of the same object, be a most extraordinarily frugal one?

pg 201The conclusion is (and I flatter myself not an unfair one) that if £57,000 were to be allowed me, on condition of finding Room for 3,000 prisoners (the whole to be laid out on the premises) the allowance would not be an unfrugal one.

Notes Settings

### Notes

Editor’s Note
1467. 1 UC cxxi. 64. Copy. Docketed: '1799 Sept. 21 / Panopt. / Comparison between Building Expence of Panopticon / and do. of Clerkenwell / Jail / Copy sent to Nepean.' Headed in pencil: 'Establishment enlarged etc.'; and in ink: 'Building expence—Panopticon about l/20th of Cold Bath Fields—about 1/13th of Blackburne's Plan—Rose called that outrageously extravagant though the 12 Judges approved of it—would not allow Panopticon to be compared with it—£57,000 for 3,000 Prisoners would not be excessive.' Autograph draft at BL VII. 125–6, docketed: '1799 Sept 21 / J.B. Q.S.P. / to / Nepean Admiralty / Expence compared / with Cold Bath Fields.' Some discrepancies (noted below) between this draft and the surviving copy suggest that the latter was taken from a fair copy which is missing.
Editor’s Note
2 See letter 1360 n. 10. The Coldbath Fields House of Correction, Clerkenwell, was built in 1794 with 232 cells. The site of nine acres cost £4,350 and the construction of the building £65,656. (Henry Mayhew and John Binney, The Criminal Prisons of London, 1862, pp. 280–2.)
Editor’s Note
3 Marginal note in the draft: 'They reckoned up 15 other Rooms, into which, as in any Rooms, Prisoners might be put but which were not designed for Prisoners.' In the copy, this note has been added in the margin in Bentham's hand, and crossed through.
Editor’s Note
4 In the draft, the original figure '231' has been crossed out and replaced in pencil by '235' ; and the figures that follow for 'expence per man' are given (with 231 as the divisor) as £286 and £346.
Editor’s Note
5 Marginal note: 'Upon enquiry of an Architect, the increase of the expence of building, since that Prison was finished, has been 30 per Cent. Adding this 30 per Cent to the above Sums, the expence, to be charged for the purpose of comparison with the expence of a Building now to be erected, will stand thus
 Expence total Expence per head Ratio of expence as plan to plan Least estimate £80,000 £359 $1 18$, Largest estimate £104,000 £444 $1 23$.
In the corresponding marginal note in the draft, the figure for total expense on the least estimate is given as £84,500.
Editor’s Note
6 e.g. Twenty-eighth Report, appendix E, note.
Editor’s Note
7 William Blackburn (1750–90), architect, obtained in 1782 the first premium for a design for a male prison offered by the commissioners for penitentiary houses.
Editor’s Note
8 Instead of the words from '$1 18$' to 'part', the draft has '$1 13$ $1 14$$1 16$ or even $1 18$'.