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Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 3: January 1781 to October 1788

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Editor’s Notepg 245Editor’s Note490To Jeremiah Bentham11 and 12 March 1784 (Aet 36)

Linc. Inn. March 11(th) 1784.

Honoured Sir

I /write this merely to/ beg you would make my apology to my Mother for the abrupt manner in which I left the room yesterday afternoon, without taking my leave of her any more than of you. Nothing could be further from my thoughts than Conceiving that after the turn the conversation had taken, that room was by no means a proper place for me to be in, as indeed it had not been for some time, I took myself away accordingly: (a little sooner perhaps than I should have done otherwise, but not so soon as I wish I had done) but the idea of the cause that made my intention no longer tenable affected me in such a manner as to deprive me of all power of utterance. The reason therefore why I did not speak to her at parting a circumstance that musk might naturally appear disrespectful on my part if not explained /to shew a want of respect if not explained/ was a very simple one: viz that it was as much out of my power as if my tongue had been cut out to speak at all. As to That nothing disrespectful to her of that sort could have been meant by me will I hope appear the more manifest /the more easily find credit/ when it is recollected that /of/ whatever unkindness I had been the object of in the [ … ? … ?] you may have given me to complain of an unkindness, she who had been a silent auditor the whole time [farther correction obscure] Whether the ground I concieved I had to complain of unkindness be just or otherwise, she had not the smallest share in it. I am with all respect

  • Honoured Sir                         
  • Your dutiful son              
  • J.B.                     

Letter 2d in reply to the answer to the above

pg 246Hond. Sir

It gives me great satisfaction to find my Mother had the kindness not to put that construction upon my behaviour to which I own it was so liable: but the /As to my waiting upon you today, the/ same considerations which in my conception rendered it improper for me to stay on in the room in question, render it equally improper for me to return to it, untill some points have been cleared up, which can /not/ with propriety be opened up discussed (between persons so related as you and I arc) according to my notions(be discussed with propriety before any) third persons whatsoever. Such at least are my notions on the matter /in/ which from what /incidents/ I have so often been witness to in that same room, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I am by no means singular. If I am Singular in them/or not/ I am at least so consistent that /as often as/ my Brother has happened to have any of those /certain/ points to discuss with you which from my experience /my experience/ the disposition of the parties I have judged /have appeared to me/ to be of a delicate nature I have been as anxious to leave him alone with you as now I am to be alone with you myself. Some day or other your business will call you my way; whenever it happens to suit your convenience I shall be happy the opportunity of assuring you /in person/ of the affectionate respect with which I am Hon Sir Your dutiful Son J.B.

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Editor’s Note
490. 1 B.M. IV: 27–8. Drafts, with corrections. Autograph. Docketed by Bentham:
'1784 March 11 and 12 / I.B. Linc. Inn / to Q.S.P. Q.S.P. / Brouillons / Post Phillippi [ … ?] / coram [ … ?] / and / Reply to answer.'
No information has been found throwing light upon the nature of the dispute between Bentham and his father referred to in these letters.
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