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Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 12: July 1824 to June 1828

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Editor’s Notepg 93Editor’s Note3167To Joseph ParkesMid-January? 1825 (Aet 76)


My dear Joseph

This letter will be delivered to you, either by two impostors, or by two Greek boys— Eustratio Rallis and | | Stamonaccos.2 I will not let slip this opportunity of declaring by expressions more permanent than sounds the impression made upon me by the generous offer of your fostering protection and instruction at such times as your indispensable occupations and theirs may admitt, in addition to so many other proofs as I have received of your unwearied kindness.

I anticipate with pleasure the amusement which I think it will afford our arch-venerable friend3 to rub his stock of antient against the modern Greek of these striplings, should your business ever admitt of your conducting them to such a distance.4 For this purpose, if for no other, if he has not already added, he should add to his magnificent library Blaquiere's Account of Greece, a work written in an interesting manner and accompanied with a better map than any theretofore extant.5 But alas! how it will wound his prosodäical orthodoxy as it has mine, to perceive how compleatly the original and immutable relations of quantity have been sacrificed under the reign of barbarism, to the modern and phantastic relations of accentualism! and to learn, if he has not learnt already that, under the auspices, I suppose, of monkery, the Greeks generally and even now, do what the Latins did in the dark ages, substitute doggrel rhyme to poetry!

In speaking of our friend Parr—the Parr, qui non habuit nec habebit Parem6 I stile him—as duty warns me—arch-venerable—for me, who pg 94am his junior by I know not how many years7—even me, curtesy of or rather towards age has for some years—poor profane layman as I am—ranked with Archdeacons: in which character, I, whom no King would ever hear pray and say Oh King live for ever!8 say and with more sincerity than is usual in prayer Oh Parr! live in one sense for ever, and in the other in such sort as to be more than on a par with the illustrious Parr, and fully upon a par with the still more and most illustrious of long-livers—Ephraim Jenkins!9

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Editor’s Note
3167. 1 Inserted in the copy of Bowring, 'Memoirs of Bentham', opposite p. 548, at British Library shelf-mark C. 61. C. 15. Autograph. An extract is printed in Bowring, x. 548. The Letter is dated to 1825 in Bowring, and it was almost certainly written in mid-January of that year. According to Hazelwood Magazine, vol. iii, no. i (February 1825), 4–5, the Greek boys, Rallis and Nakos, who were to deliver this Letter to Parkes in Birmingham, arrived at Hazelwood School on 20 January 1825. Moreover, Bentham's reference to Samuel Parr (1747–1825), Latin scholar and Anglican clergyman, who died on 6 March 1825, indicates that the Letter was written while Parr was still alive. For Bentham's earlier contact with Parr see Correspondence, v, vii–xi, as index.
Editor’s Note
2 i.e. Stamos Nakos.
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3 i.e. Parr.
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4 Parr lived at Hatton, near Warwick, about twenty miles from Birmingham.
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5 Edward Blaquiere, The Greek Revolution; Its Origin and Progress: Together with Some Remarks on the Religion, National Character, &c. in Greece, London, 1824, was published with a map bound into the front of the volume.
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6 i.e. 'who neither has had nor shall have an equal'.
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7 Bentham was in fact only a little more than a year younger than Parr, who was born on 26 January 1747.
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8 Daniel 2: 4.
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9 Thomas Parr (d.1635) and Henry Jenkins (d.1670) reputedly lived to the ages of 152 and 169 respectively. Bentham is confusing Henry Jenkins with Ephraim Jenkinson, a character in Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield; a tale, 2 vols., London, 1766.
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