Jump to Content
Jump to chapter

Jeremy Bentham

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

Find Location in text

Main Text

Editor’s NoteEditor’s Note163To Samuel Bentham2 May 1776 (Aet 28)

Line. Inn Friday May 3 1776

My dear Sam

The Watchman has just called Ten, and Wilson is with me: so that whether I shall be able to say to thee all that I would say to thee, which however is not much, I know not. I saw my Father this morning he was coming down Southn. Buildings from Staples Inn. As I wanted you know to have a few words with him alone, I thought that would be as good an opportunity as any, and I might take the occasion to make him the compliment of inviting him up. So I open'd the window, bow'd and beckoned to him.

When I mentioned to him the state of mind into which his letter had thrown you, he said what might be expected and what was proper on the occasion, that he could not be happy, if he knew of your being otherwise, and so forth: when I mentioned these words which you took amiss, he said he did not remember any such words and seemed inclined if it had been possible to deny them. I said he could not suppose it could answer any purpose to invent such words pg 319to impute if they were not really in the letter. I added that he neither surely could be surprized, nor ought he to be displeased that what he said to you in the way of disapprobation should make a deep impression: on the contrary it would be a much more reasonable ground of concern if you were to treat it lightly and hear it with indifference. I likewise took occasion to introduce (with a little variation in the words) what you had said in your last but one, that it was a cruel stroke upon you to receive such language as you mentioned from a quarter from whence you would naturally expect encouragement. I told him withal, that I imagined his letter was written at a time when he was out of order—This he seemed to admitt: and talked in half-serious half-ironical way, of writing to you to beg your pardon.

We then enter'd upon the subject of the accounts—I told him, that supposing the measure to be right, there was no occasion to force it upon you in this manner, and that a simple recommendation would answer the purpose much better. To that he replied that he had been talking to you about it at different times for these two or three years and had not been able to prevail with you to oblige him in that particular.

Really, entre nous, my dear Sam, I don't see the extreme hardship and difficulty in it that you do, nor do I see, considering what a point he makes of it how you can avoid complying with his desires, without subjecting yourself to the reproach of obstinacy.

I could not say any thing against the utility of the practise, nor could I possibly say any thing that could have any chance of persuading him (or indeed any body else) of that extreme difficulty which you say you had in it. There are not many ways in which you can have it in your power to oblige him: and when what he wishes you to do, and that so strenuously, is what is apparently at least to your advantage, I really see not what you can have to say that will appear plausible against it. He always has been and always shall be he says ready to do every thing in his power to contribute to your happiness, etc., etc., etc., and in one of the very few occasions that you can have of doing any thing to oblige him, will you peremptorily refuse it? If you ever have any thing to ask him for he will be flinging this in your teeth—' no—you will do nothing for me —I won't do any thing for you'—And what can you have to say in your defence.

Wilson to whom I shewed your letter thinks you ought to comply: he smiles at your objections, and without pronouncing them groundless thinks them however rather refined than satisfactory.

pg 320I can see I must own the extreme hardship of taking out your pocket book at some certain time, either immediately before you go to bed for example, or immediately after you get up or immediately after dinner etc., and if you have happened to lay out any money since the last of these times, to set it down, if you have had no intermediate opportunity of doing it. If it should happen you have laid out nothing within that period, why then the trouble is saved. Adieu—here I must make an end.

N.B. I do not understand that he expects to see your accounts, but only that you should keep them for your own satisfaction—I will keep mine—if you will your's.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
163. 1 B.M. II: 24–25. Autograph.
Addressed: 'To / Mr. Bentham / at the King's Dock Yard / near Rochester / Single Sheet.' Postmark: '3 MA'.
logo-footer Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Access is brought to you by Log out