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Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 2: 1777–80

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Editor’s NoteEditor’s Note361To Samuel Bentham5 June 1780 (Aet 32)

June 5th 1780 9 in the eveng.

Q.S.P. called on me this morning and we settled the matter, as mentioned in my last. I shall write to M. about it to night.2

The public prints will inform you of the outrages committed here for some days past by the anti-catholic mob set on by Lord George Gordon—Many houses have been pulled or burnt down in various parts of London. The Sardinian Ministers Chapel near Lincolns Inn Fields I saw in flames on Saturday evening from my chamber window. Newgate is in flames while I am writing; a gentleman has this instant called on me who has been seeing it. This was done to free some of the rioters who had been committed pg 458thither: whether that part of the design has succeeded or no I have not yet learnt. The two Houses I believe are still sitting. Ld. Sandwich and several other members have been insulted again to day. Proclamations have at length been issued offering rewards for the discovery of offenders. While I was at dinner today at my fathers came a card from the D. of Northumberland3 desiring his attendance 'on business of the utmost importance' in the most pressing terms. The Soldiers are not yet permitted to fire. The mob attack them with impunity and take their bayonets from them. My Hairdresser saw yesterday a parcel of bayonets that had been wrenched off the musquets of a party who were on their return from Newgate, and thrown under the grate of the common Sewer near Temple Bar.

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Editor’s Note
361. 1 B.M. III: 55–50. Autograph. Docketed: 'June 5th 1780.'
Addressed: 'Samuel Bentham Esqr.'
The anti-Catholic riots into which London was now plunged were in protest against the Catholic Relief Act of 1778 and its extension to Scotland. The mob was stirred up by the mentally deranged Lord George Gordon.
Editor’s Note
2 'M' is presumably John Mulford. Bentham is probably referring back to the excised part of letter 360. In letter 358 Bentham indicates that he is getting together with his father and cousin Mulford in an effort to determine Samuel's financial position. Mulford had promised Samuel assistance to the extent of £100 (see letter 319, n. 2).
Editor’s Note
3 Hugh Percy, formerly Sir Hugh Smithson, bart. (1715–86), Duke of Northumberland, was Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex and Master of the Horse.
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