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Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 10: July 1820 to January 1821

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Editor’s Note pg 233Editor’s Note2728To Edward Blaquiere9–15 December 1820 (Aet 72)

Q.S.P. 9 Decr 1820

Dear Sir,

I am in no small perplexity. As long ago as the 17th of last month I sent you by the post a letter directed according to your instructions A Madame Blaquiere aux soins de Madame Barker 22 Place Vendome Paris.2 You used to be the most punctual of correspondents. I am afraid you are angry with me for something in my above mentioned letter: if so, do tell me so, that I may beg your pardons for the second time: for I do so provisionally by these presents. Since the time when you should have received that letter I have not heard a syllable from you, nor has Mr Bowring. I received indeed, and I suppose in due course, a letter from you dated the 20th Novr:3 I know not whether by the course of the post you ought at that time to have received mine of the 17th: be that as it may no mention is made of it. It was a fair copy however that I sent: and the original brouillon is preserved so that in case of miscarriage I can send it you if I do not now. I think however I have tokens of your existence, for this day appeared in the Morng Chronicle an interesting letter which seemed to have (I mean in stile and manner) your mark on it.4 So long as Morng Chronicle will insert it, it is certainly better for the purpose than the Traveller, or any other than the Times. But the Morng Chronicle I hear much complained of, as growing careless in regard to intelligence and in a word as falling off. It would afford me sincere satisfaction to hear from you that you have obtained or are to obtain some satisfaction for the service you have rendered and would render here. The misfortune is he5 combines penny wisdom, or rather penny savingness without wisdom, with pound folly. He has laid out about £6,000 on trash books only because pg 234old and printed in block letters: upward of £600 on one such book: so I was assured by a friend of mine who was with him t'other day, and heard him giving this account of his purchases which he saw.

In regard to correspondence another bad thing is that I have not received from Mora a syllable later than that letter of the 30th October6 which passed through your hands.

On the other hand so far as regards my own designs to which you have been so largely contributory every thing is in the most prosperous state. Advice has at length been received (I know not the day) but so I learnt some time ago from Mr Bowring and or Mr Lawrence of Trinity Square, by whom they were sent on the arrival of the Two Brothers, at Bilbao and therewith of course the books.7 That however is eclipsed by greater things. On the 7th or 8th instant Decr I received from the Chevalier de Colomb first Secretary to the Spanish mission (descendent of Columbus) an official letter in English accompanying a letter in Spanish quoting the words of a Commission in force in the King's name which he had just received from the Finance Minister (Canga Arguelles) authorising and requiring him to treat with me, about a certain plan relative to Paper Money that had been mentioned in one of my letters to Mora8—Oh yes the Ministers letter to Mora passed through your hands. In a long letter which I thereupon had written to Colomb9 I informed him that my offer to occupy myself about that business depended upon a condition, as might be seen in a letter of mine to Mora: and that the condition was—that a letter should come to me in the Kings name, inviting me to draw up an all-comprehensive Code of law for Spain, to be presented to the Cortes. This produced in addition to a former shorter one, a second visit that same day, in the course of which he informed me that in his opinion there could be no doubt that the proposition would receive immediate acceptance: and that he had already made a Report upon it in form, recommending acceptance in the strongest terms. Our intercourse is of the most cordial kind, and on his part quite enthusiastic. To all appearances my four letters on the late liberticide laws and measures of Spain10 miscarried: they included the principal part of my principles in regard to the liberty of the press, and cost me much time to write, and would in all probability have made some sensation at Madrid—for I had cut up Gareli11 the deputy and the Minister of the Colonies in pg 235an unsparing manner. They were, I imagine, stopped in France. But other copies are gone by a surer conveyance. In one mode or another I have for the future such means of conveyance as may be regarded as tolerably sure. At length, now with this are intended to go the three letters of introduction spoken of in mine of the 17th Novr.12 They are now copying. Besides the public matters above alluded to, what has retarded them this long, is the extraordinary length of them. For to men whom I had not seen these 18 years an ordinary letter of introduction would never have done. It seemed necessary to me to recall old stories to them, and at the same time give such an account of you as should excite their curiosity, and impress upon them an expectation that any time employed by them in making your acquaintance would not be lost. I mentioned your intended history of the Spanish revolution, but was afraid of mentioning your keeping up a constant correspondence with Spain, for fear of putting them on their guard, and closing if not their doors, their lips. I gave them to understand that you were of the number of our countrymen, in whose instance comparative economy was the motive for their preferring Paris to London as a residence. I hope I did not do wrong in doing so. I make a merit to them as well as to you (you will remember) of not giving you a letter of introduction for you to carry to them, so that if you see them at all it will be upon terms much more pleasant than those ordinary ones.

In truth I should not have sent to you the letters in question but for the opportunity which Mr. Moore is so happily possessed of.13

Bowring is in Elysium: he and I are son and father. He is one of the most extraordinary, if not the most extraordinary man, I ever saw in my life. But how we have rated you for attempting to send him to me without any the slightest idea given to me of his worth! Vituperation, furious: but the conclusion always is—pardon and gratitude. What a pity: his health is delicate! and the winter of this climate is scarce tolerable to him. He is the most loving creature God Almighty ever made—I scold him for loving his wife and child as he does. Yet he never leaves me he says but in better health as well as spirits.

A thing for a man in your situation to bear in mind—particularly if any of my letters take effect—is this. A man if he suspects you of writing for the press, may tell you something which is not true for the purpose of getting it believed by your means: or, taking care not to mention it to any body else, or not to mention it to any but those on whose secrecy he thinks he may depend, he may tell it you whether it pg 236is true or not true, for the purpose of seeing whether it gets into print: if it does, then he knows, or thinks he knows, by what means.

One reason for not writing earlier was that in answer to mine of 17th Nov, I waited to receive a letter from you, informing me whether Admiral Tchitchagoff was or was not at Paris: because if he was not, the writing a letter to him—and so long a letter—might be saved.14

This is intended to go through the hands of Mr Moore by the opportunity he pointed out to me. Pray fail not to answer by return of post, unless the delay of a day, or at the most two days, will enable you to profit by a counter-opportunity, if there is one: which I forgot to ask him about when he called here.

One sad thing is—that Mora having written to you about the want of money as well as correspondence for carrying on his paper to advantage and you having sent me that part of his letter he did not so much as state what the sum is that he is in want of: I wrote thereupon immediately two letters: one to him, to desire him to particularize: another to you desiring you to tell me what more, if any thing, he had told you. This must have been I know not how long before the 17th Novr: for my sore eyes are already bedeviled by poring over our correspondence, and I can not work them any more.

Decr 11th 2 P.M. Yours of the 4th instant has just been brought to my house by Mr Moore.15 Unfortunately I was absent on my every mornings 3/4 of an hour walk. Mine of the 16th Novr—(17th I believe was the last date) did not reach you till the 25th:16 if you were at Paris when it arrived there this seems a clear proof that it had been detained for the purpose of being opened and read. Again: mine of the 20th17 did not reach you—you being then assuredly at Paris till six days after date: this seems another proof; considering the shortness of the time which the Newspapers take. It seems but too probable that the French government have got scent of the whole of my correspondence both with you and M.18 and have read my letteres to you and yours to me, and suppressed a number of my letters to him perhaps all that went through the post in the ordinary way since those three long ones which he speaks of in his of the 30th Octr19 (the last I have seen of his) and the preceding ones.

Answer to Queries

1. I have never heard any thing from or of Mr. Augustin Arguelles. In one of my letters to M. perhaps in a duplicate sent by the Two pg 237Brothers I certainly took measures for endeavouring to recover from him those of my works that you sent him: either in my own name or as from somebody else I suggested words for the application. In my last letter to M. that went from here I hope through a safe channel (date 8 Decr20) I expressed my surprize that things sent under such a misconception should not have been returned. In a few days a trustworthy person will go from here and he will see you and explain divers matters viva voce.

2. Miscellaneous sent from Bayonne—Not received. I have two: viz 10 March 1820 and 3d of June 1820: but these I believe are Mr Bowrings.

3. Desired Catalogue raisonne of my letters to Mora. Answer impracticable, if your curiosity can in any way be satisfied, it must be by a temporary perusal of brouillons or copies. I will see whether it can be effected in regard to the three earliest and principal of them. If sent, you will deliver them without fail to Mr Murdock to be carried on without fail to my Brother.

1. Tchitchagoff, to know whether he is at Paris, ask at the Russian Ambassadors for his address.

2. Baron de Lessert. Being a Banker, and a Member of one or other of the Legislative Assemblies he can not but be ordinarily at Paris. Can there be any difficulty in finding out the house of such a man, and asking at his house.

3. Comte or Marquis Garnier Paris. True perhaps with regard to him. But I have not written any letter to him. All I have done or could do is to propose to De Lessert to introduce you to him.

Being all of them written and two of them copied all three letters will go along with this in a cover to you. So it was intended—but I doubt whether there will be time—if not, they must go through Mr Moore.

The Duke de la Rochefoucault you do not mention. He may be at his estate at Liancourt near Clermont I believe it is, near the road from Paris to Calais. But he can not but be occasionally at Paris. He is said to be extremely poor. If so, his poverty can scarcely fail to prevent invitations and produce coldness. His eldest son, whom I saw with the father, was Ambassador at Vienna—I believe under Buonaparte—I don't know what he21 is at present. He served under, and lived with, the Duke of York in Flanders, who was drunk and lost his head every night.22 pg 238Gallois23 Ao 1792 Secretary of Legation here under Taleyrand:24 afterwards Tribune. If be is alive, you may make any use of my name to him. Ao. 1802 I dined at his House with Romilly, Lord Erskine,25 and another or two.

M. Cambronero. In your letter of the 18th of October you speak of it as being of the 19th you speak of his expressing some surprise at my rejecting the Upper Chamber. With no other text than this would you have had me quit my other occupation to write a dissertation on his surprise? Do not you speak of his writing me a Letter? I have recd. none. There is my letter work the Consejos. Why does he not publish his objections and send them to me if he thinks it worth while that I should take cognizance of them? Either to you or M. I wrote a few lines on this subject t'other day. The Consejos was more directed I believe against its being composed of the privilege orders, than against the existence of it. It is no time now for me to set my shoulders to it. I have just been saying upon what terms I should for aught I know be in favour of it.

Money regarded by M as requisite for carrying on his paper. I can no more learn how much it is from this letter of yours than from your former one. I wrote at the same time to him. If a man will not say what it is he wants, he ought not to be surprized at not having it.

Pray remember this when you write to me in future. Whenever the subject changes, begin a fresh paragraph: and number the paragraphs. This will save more pain and damage to my eyes than I can describe. My son B26 dines with me tomorrow in court. Your last letter will be talked over.

Decr 15. Just learnt that he cannot, but will on Tuesday. Just learnt likewise that Mr Murdock, for want of a passport, can not go till tuesday.27

Just learnt likewise—and though not by direct but only by circumstantial, yet by but too conclusive evidence, that my letters, both those to Spain and those to my Brother, have been intercepted by the espionage system, and mostly suppressed.28 Suppressed are certainly three letters, at least, all of them written in November to my Brother, pg 239in all of which mention is made of a project of mine for a visit of his to Spain. This I learn from a letter of his of the 6th instant (Decr.) in which he speaks of one of mine of the 18th of Novr. as being but at that instant received.29 A letter which should have been received on the 8th or 9th. day, not received until the 18th. Being an enormous long, and scrawled in the blindest of all blind hands, it required all that time for them to decypher. More or less mention of Spain can not, I think, but have been made in it. Much, however, there could not have been, and the quality of family matter being so great, and so important, my notion is that, through compassion, they forbore to suppress this letter as they did the others. The Prefet is an acquaintance, and has been a visitor of my Brothers;30 and it seems not unlikely that the seat of the espionage and the compassion may have been in the same breast. The non-receipt by me of any letter from Mora of a date posterior to that of his of Octr. 30th, which passed through your hands, is a mystery explained by the same cause: so likewise my never having yet heard of any one of my four letters against the liberticide laws: letters, the first of which ought, in course, to have arrived 5 or six or seven days before Novr. 9th, the day of the closing of the Cortes. November 3d or 4th. went from hence to him a letter from me through the Spanish mission:31 which is so friendly to myself and Mora—Mora being an old intimate of the person in question:32 and now, on the 15th. Decr., I have no tidings even of that.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
2728. 1 UC x. 57–64. A draft, part autograph, part in Colls's hand. The final version appears to be the letter sent on 19 December, through Bowring's partner Murdoch. See Colls's journal, entry of 19 December (UC cvi. 257).
Editor’s Note
2 Missing. Colls's journal entry for 17 November records that he took 'J.B. to Blaqe.' to the foreign post office (UC cvi. 255).
Editor’s Note
3 Also missing. Its receipt on 23 November is recorded in Colls's journal (UC cvi. 256).
Editor’s Note
4 The Morning Chronicle of 9 December carried extracts of two letters from Paris; one of 2 December, the other of the 4th.
Editor’s Note
5 In the MS 'he' is crossed out by Colls and 'P' written above it. 'P' presumably refers to James Perry, proprietor of the Morning Chronicle. By this time John Black (1783–1855) had taken over from Perry as editor.
Editor’s Note
7 Colls's journal entry for 30 November (UC cvi. 256) states: 'Per Bowg. advice recd. of the arrival of J.B's works by the Two Brothers at Madrid.'
Editor’s Note
10 The letters published in 1821 in English as On the Liberty of the Press, and Public Discussion.
Editor’s Note
12 i.e. letters 2721 (to Chichagov), 2722 (to Delessert), and 2723 (to La Rochefoucauld).
Editor’s Note
13 Colls's journal for 28 November (UC cvi. 256) mentions the arrival at Queen's Square Place of 'a Mr. P. Moore' of 16 Great East Cheap, who 'can send any letter gratis to Mr. Blaquiere'.
Editor’s Note
15 Missing.
Editor’s Note
16 This information is recorded in Colls's journal for 11 December (UC cvi. 256).
Editor’s Note
17 Missing. Colls's journal indicates that this was posted on 21 November.
Editor’s Note
20 Missing. According to Colls's journal, Doane was sent to the Spanish ambassador's with a letter from Bentham to Mora on 8 December (UC cvi. 256).
Editor’s Note
21 MS 'it'.
Editor’s Note
22 The Duke of York had commanded the British forces in Flanders in the campaigns of 1793–5. For an earlier allusion to the Duke of York and the comte de La Rochefoucauld see letter 2723.
Editor’s Note
23 Jean-Antoine Gauvain Gallois (1761–1828), French politician.
Editor’s Note
24 Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754–1838), French diplomat and statesman, made Prince of Benevento by Napoleon in 1806.
Editor’s Note
25 Thomas Erskine, Baron Erskine of Restormal Castle (1750–1823), lord chancellor 1806–7, but at the time of the Paris visit MP for Portsmouth.
Editor’s Note
26 Bowing.
Editor’s Note
27 A note to this effect is entered in Colls's journal for 14 December (UC cvi. 256). The following Tuesday was 19 December.
Editor’s Note
28 Bentham drafted (but did not send) a letter to Sir Samuel on this subject on 15 December. See UC x. 32–5.
Editor’s Note
29 Both letters are missing.
Editor’s Note
30 The prefect of Hérault at this time was Augustin-François, baron Creuzé de Lesser (1771–1839).
Editor’s Note
32 i.e. Colón.
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