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Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 8: January 1809 to December 1816

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Editor’s NoteEditor’s Note2143To Aaron Burr16 October 1811 (Aet 63)

16 Oct. 1811.

To Col. Burr

Under the then existing circumstances of the moment, for greater celerity, and better chance of timeliness, H.K. was commissioned to write to you by last night's post, to speak of your Yarmouth letter that instant received,2 and to express our wishes for your earliest appearance.

pg 179This letter is a postscript to the above.

Our plan is to stay here as long as possible: viz. till driven away by the cold's becoming strong enough to render sojournment in the one […?] of […?] study uncomfortable without a fire. I hope nothing will render it necessary for you to leave this place till we do: and in particular that you will do nothing yourself towards the creation of any such necessity. Last year it was about the last day of the month. We hope it will be at least as late this year.

One object of apprehension with me is—that some Minister—Ld Wellesley3 for example, to whose department it belongs—will wish to talk with you, and for that purpose, with the customary barbarity, endeavour to keep you, with or without seeing you, to the day of judgment.

But for this, I can scarce conceive that Mr. R.4 would have written to you or behaved towards you on any such civil terms. It was he that packed you off before, at the suggestion of the foolish man who but a few months ago told me so, for which I gave him my opinion not angrily but not the less decidedly, that what he did had been much better left undone5—for the reasons which I mentioned. It was on the information of the woman with whom you lodged,6 who from the circumstance of your mode of living, having maps before you, and a man sometimes to write for you, and wearing that odd wig, she concluded that you must be either a Swindler, or a Spy, or a Magician or a Devil, or something of that sort. Cut not her throat till I see you, and then we will have a cut at it together.

Reasons exist in abundance—and not of more amusement—why we should see one another without loss of a single day. You will find such an addition to the company, indeed several additions, which you will not be displeased to see.

If you have got Blodget's book,7 pray bring it with you. I have been trying in vain to get it ever since I saw you. One man alone had seen it: no one man knew where a copy was to be found.

If in the confusion consequent upon a little alteration in Q.S.P. House the maps can be come at, it would be desirable that we should have here a Map of North America, the do of South America which latter I believe will however hardly be findable and a portion of a map of South America which had no 〈…〉 case to it, but usedpg 180 to lie upon my combination of d〈…〉 the station of which was on the table on which I write.

Lest these should not be findable, perhaps either you have of your own, or could contrive to borrow, the aforesaid.

To Mr Graves.

If at the arrival of this, Col. B. should already have set out for the abode of his friend in Surry,8 Mr Graves will, of course have the goodness to keep it for him, without forwarding it.

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Editor’s Note
2143. 1 Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Autograph. Docketed: 'J. Bentham 〈…〉 Octr 1811'. Addressed; 'Mr Wm Graves / Mercht / 18 Wallbrook / London'. Postmark: '〈…〉 / 17 OC 17 / 1811'. Stamped: 'GODSTONE / 〈…〉'.
Editor’s Note
2 Presumably letter 2142.
Editor’s Note
3 Richard Colley Wellesley, Marquis Wellesley (1760–1842), the foreign secretary.
Editor’s Note
4 Reeves. See letter 2142.
Editor’s Note
5 Perhaps Lord Liverpool, home secretary at the time of Burr's arrest on 4 April 1809.
Editor’s Note
6 Unidentified.
Editor’s Note
7 Samuel Blodget (1757–1814) was the author of Economica; a Statistical Manual for the United States of America, Washington, 1806.
Editor’s Note
8 Presumably either a round-about reference to Bentham himself, or to Mrs Ann Prevost, a relative of Burr's deceased wife Theodosia Bartow Prevost (d. 1794), who lived at Weybridge. See letter 2009, Correspondence, vii.
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