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Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 7: January 1802 to December 1808

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Editor’s NoteEditor’s Note1770To Charles Abbot30 December 1802 (Aet 54)

Q.S.P. 30th Decr 1802.

3 o'clock.

A principal reason for my wish to see you and that you should have read the 'Letters' before I saw you, was—that if in the second (which has not been circulated) there had been any thing particularly objectionable in your eyes, I was in hopes you would have been kind enough to point it out, that I might have it in my power to cancel it. In that view I forbore trusting a copy out of my hands to any person whatever (Ld Pelham himself of course included) pg 179except one person well known to you2—a man perfectly to be depended upon—and to him only under a solemn promise of secrecy. However, that it should have passed into the hands of the Attorney General since it is through your's, is what I am not sorry for: it shews two things—that it did not seem to you absolutely unit for communication—and that the seeing of it was an object with him a fact I might not otherwise have known of. I had some time ago a very civil as well as spontaneous letter from him,3 promising to take an early opportunity of reading it. But promising to read is one thing—reading is another—and acknowledging the reading is a third.

I shall not understand, unless it be necessary—and I hope it is not necessary—that your disinclination to see me on the subject is to last for ever. Neither the differences between our respective situations, nor the peculiarities of your's would be unobserved by me. I should hear whatever was to be heard: you would say whatever you thought fit. I have no commission of inquiry to make you say any thing more.

P.S. I had like to have said what was not true. I open this to add to the persons to whom I sent the 2d Letters, Sir Charles Bunbury and Mr Romilly.

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Editor’s Note
1770. 1 Colchester MSS, PRO 30/9/33 unpaginated. Autograph. No docket. Addressed: 'To The Right Honble Charles Abbot.' Autograph draft at BL VII. 689–90, docketed: '1802 Decr 30 / Panopt. / J.B. Q.S.P. / to / C. A. Old Pal. Yd.'
Editor’s Note
2 In the draft Bentham wrote initially 'excepting the Chamberlain', but crossed out these words and replaced them with the phrase that appears here. The person referred to was Richard Clark (1739–1831), an attorney who was one of Bentham's oldest friends; he had been lord mayor of London in 1784, and had been elected city chamberlain in 1798 (Correspondence, i. 90 n., vi. 42 n.).
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