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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 Notepg 65Editor’s Note2075To William Wilberforce?7 May 1810 (Aet 62)

Q.S.P. 7 May 1810 Monday afternoon

My dear Sir

Within this half hour has been delivered at this House of mine a letter from Mr Secretary Wharton,2 a copy of which I here inclose: together with the also inclosed Letter of Mr Secretary Long3 written upon the occasion of Mr Pitt's exit from the Office Ao 1801,4 and which was afterwards among the Papers printed by order of the Ho of Commons.5 My answer, not yet written, is intended to be in very general terms—to say that Compensation is and ever has been out of the question with me, that I stand bound to execute the business upon terms as near, as the vast change of circumstances will admitt, to those agreed upon, but that as to Mr Wharton the business is of such complexity, and he so perfectly a stranger to the whole of it, that out of respect for his time, I forbear consuming so much of it as would necessarily be consumed, were I thus early to accede to his appointment, before I had endeavoured to learn by means of some of my friends what could be the real drift of it. These will not be my words, but this is the meaning to be conveyed.

As to Long's letter it was a direct breach of promise, announcing virtually more and more such to the end of the chapter.

If they be really in earnest, Nepean6 (who always votes with them, does not he?) and who knows all about the business from first to last, and who always has been that honest man that Long would be thought to have been, would be the man, through whom they would be ready to deal with me. I can make no doubt of his readiness: though I have not exchanged four words with him for these four years.

pg 66This is the Mr Wharton, who wrote the silly empty pamphlet, as if to advertize the Edinburgh Review.7

My eagerness to see the Dominus8 would not be great—my reluctance to throw away my time upon this Fur9 is extreme.

I imagine this has some connection with Romillys Motion;10 and perhaps they may wait to hear what I say before they determine what on that occasion they shall say in the House.

Possibly by speaking to Mr Percival11you might learn and be kind enough to inform me what is their purpose in sending me a letter written 9 years ago, and which has for these 9 years been receiving so many answers from my silence.

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Editor’s Note
2075. 1 Duke University Library. Autograph.
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3 Letter 1619, Correspondence, vi.
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4 William Pitt (1759–1806), first lord of the treasury 1783–1801, 1804–6.
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5 See Proceedings and Measures of Government, 17981303, on the Finance Reports of 17971798, section P, ordered to be printed, 12 June 1801.
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6 Sir Evan Nepean (1751–1822), government office-holder 1782–1806, at this time MP for Bridport, in 1812 appointed governor of Bombay. For his earlier contact with Bentham concerning Panopticon see Correspondence, iv–vii, as index.
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7 Remarks on the Jacobinical Tendency of the Edinburgh Review, in a Letter to the Earl of Lonsdale, London, 1809.
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8 i.e. 'master'.
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9 i.e. 'thief'.
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11 Spencer Perceval, who had become first lord of the treasury in succession to the Duke of Portland.
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