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Jeremy Bentham

T. L. S. Sprigge (ed.), The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 1: 1752–76

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Editor’s Note115To Samuel Bentham5–9 September 1774 (Aet 26)

Charta Chymica? I have got some of it somewhere still—You know the use of it. It saves pencil: you write upon it with a style of any metal except Iron: the marks are not so subject to rub out as those of pencil: but then they are fainter.

To Southampton by water? that's a good scheme if practicable. It gives experience, saves charges, and the Boat will be very handy for the purposes you mention—Make haste, and if you can get it ready by the time you say, I will meet you at the Dr's. I must spend a week at Whitchurch before I go to Totton: my Uncle is to have a horse for me, borrow'd of Mr. Osborn: He talks of buying it. I pg 194must try whether I can beg it of him. begging is a trade I am not used to—Father excepted, I don't know that I ever begged the value of half a Crown of any body in my life. I believe I have told you that my Father undertook to keep a Horse for me if I could get one.

I was to go to Whitchurch on Thursday (come) sennight as my Grandmother used to say. I will put it off till the Monday following: I will stay at Whitchurch till the Monday after that (this day 3 weeks) by which time I suppose you would be able to meet me at Totton in the manner you proposed.

For 'each to each' say 'each to its correspondent one.' Each equal to each spoken of two pairs of any-things, is properly speaking all four equal. 'Either to either', is to this purpose the same as 'each to each'. I say to this purpose—for to another it is not. take an example. 'I have a pear and an apple: you have a pear and an apple: you shall have mine, either of them.' What do I mean by that? this. viz: you may have the pear, but not the apple: or the apple but not the pear: which you will, but not both. Had I said 'each' of them, 'twould have been the same as if I had said 'both'. On the other hand if I said My pear and my apple are equal to your pear and your apple, either to either, 'twould have been the same as if I said each to each: in which case they are all four equal taken separately: and therefore both mine taken together equal to both your's taken together: and therefore in short any two of the whole four equal to the remaining two.

The different effect of 'either' in the two cases depends.2

In a Parenthesis—You never told me about the phials: Whether you received them—Whether they answer the purpose. the smallest are half-ounces—no—I believe ¼ oz. I thought you wanted some small: they are no cheaper than ounces or even I believe 2 ounces.

The Tables representing the Combinations[?] of the 3 Mineral Acids with the several other substances yet known (together with the manner of effecting those combinations) was transcribed for you into a thin book of the small 4to. form with a blue paper cover: surely you have it: Thomas sat up (an hour) or two extraordinary to finish it before you went.3

pg 195Friday. 9th

Alas! Sam it is but too true—The Sails must be New under the penalty you mentioned. That d—d Act (God forgive me) that you and I looked at together, is continued by another d—d Act (God forgive me once more) to the present time. The original act is 19. G.2. Ch. 28. § 11. The continuing Act 6 G.3. c. 45. § 5. 'Ship or Vessel' are the words, so that if your's is either a Ship or a Vessel, there is no help for it, New Sails must you have or none. But by the bye is the Boat your own? is it not in the King's Service—if it is, or you can contrive to make it so, we are safe again. For no Act extends to the King, unless he be specially named in it.4

I have called at Wright's5 for your pencils, and have a promise of them for next week. I had him not send them to you: but to me, as I shall see you somewhere or other I suppose before it's long. He said somebody called about them when he was not at home about a month ago. do you know any thing of it?

The reason of the different effect of ('either') in the two cases instanced must be deferred to my next. Duty to my Father etc. How does the Chatham air agree with him? How do they like their quarters? Should they take Brighthelmstone in their travels they may not improbably meet with a Clergyman of the name of Downes.6 He is a very agreable man, an Irishman; he has been some years abroad. If they think proper they may give my Compliments to him, by way of introduction. He is an old College acquaintance—I have lately spent some hours every now and then in his company.

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Editor’s Note
115. 1 B.M. I: 302–303. Autograph. Docketed: 'I.B. Aug. Sept. 1774.'
Addressed: 'To / Mr. Sam: Bentham / at Mr. Gray's / Master Shipwright / of his Majesty's Dock Yard / near Rochester.' Postmark: '9 SE'. The earlier part of the letter was evidently written on Monday 5 September (see third paragraph).
Editor’s Note
2 Some words are crossed out here, and are illegible, but clearly the passage would be unfinished even with them.
Editor’s Note
3 For Thomas (or Tom: surname unknown), Bentham's amanuensis, see also letter 140 (12 September 1775) at n. 6.
Editor’s Note
4 Neither of Bentham's references is wholly accurate. The 1746 Act is 19 Geo. II c. 27, of which § 11 provides that 'Every ship or vessel which shall be built in Great Britain … shall upon her first setting out, or being first navigated, have or be furnished with one full and complete set of new sails … made of full cloth manu factured in Great Britain.' The penalty was £50. The continuing Act referred to by Bentham is 6 Geo. III c. 44, § 5 of which extended the provision to 1774. (It was in fact further extended to 1781 by an Act—14 Geo. III c. 80—passed in 1774.)
Editor’s Note
2 What precedes this is autograph, what follows is in Villion's hand—hence the joke about his improved hand.
Editor’s Note
5 Perhaps Wright and Gill, stationers, of Abchurch Lane.
Editor’s Note
6 Probably the Downes with whom Bentham had attended Blackstone's lectures in 1763–64 (Bowring, x, 45): this was presumably Dive Downes, son of Robert Downes of Dublin; matric. Queen's College 4 May 1762, aged 17; b.a. 1766, m.a. of Trinity College Dublin 1771, ll.b. and ll.d 1776; Prebendary of St Patrick's Dublin 1775–94 and of Kildare 1775–94; died unmarried 1798.
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