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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 NoteEditor’s Note567To Jeremiah Bentham28 April/9 May 1786 (Aet 38)

Crichoff May 9 th April 29 th 1786

Hond. Sir,

Not a day, I suppose, has passed since my arrival, but we have been imagining you here, and even hatching random projects for realising our imaginations; but true it is that we little dreamt of our being so near the accomplishment of our hopes, as we find ourselves to have been by your Letter of the 14/3d March2 received on fryday last, the second of Two which we have received since my last. Unfortunately at the present Conjuncture, circumstances are pg 467not so favorable to such an Expedition on this side of the water as on your's. Barracks have been a long time preparing, and are now compleated for Sam's Batalion at Sevastopol the new Port in the Crimea, and Col. Fanshaw's Batalion is Ordered thither, as he himself told Benson; it was expected that Sam with his Batalion would soon succeed him for a time, in the way to their final destination. In effect, since then Orders have come from the Prince; transmitted through General Haskin,3 who commands at that Town, requiring my Brother to put himself under the General's Command, under which Command he accordingly is at present. We have been in hourly expectation of the Prince in his way to his Government for a considerable time; but that expectation though confirmed, is rather retarded than accelerated by a Letter of his, an exact Copy of which is here subjoyned. When ever he do's come, it is looked upon by every body as a matter of course, that He will take Sam, and wish to take me, with Him, making Trips here and there, out of the main Road, to do business or see Relations, and stopping at every place an uncertain time. Whether under such Circumstances a Visit to Critchoff would be likely to answer to you both, and to my Mother in particular, must be left to you to determine. I rather imagine, you will think it advisable to defer setting out till you have heard from us something more determinate relative to my Brother's destination.

I thank you kindly for your News about Lord Cornwallis, the D. of Richmond's Motion, Hastings Affair etc.4 except that I am a Stranger to every Atom of English news that is of later date than some day in November; at Riga my Brother received a promise from Mr. Trompovsky of a regular Supply of news-Papers, one of which, I believe, is an English one. Unfortunately they were to come through the Channel of a Friend of Trompovsky's who lives between This and Riga, and we have seen nothing of them yet.

This (Tuesday) is the first day for sending Letters by the Post since fryday when we received your's as above mentioned.

pg 468Ayton, our Gardener, is Nephew to the King's Gardener at Kew,5 and was brought up under him.

With respect to Sam's Journey to Riga, They travelled post; all in Kibitkas, the only Winter Carriage used in Russia. These were Three of Sam's, one of the Prince Dashkoff's, He and Sam, went in One, Benson with the Money in another, my Brother's upper Servant, and the Prince's in another.

I found the Military Instruments transferred to Prince Dashkoff, and I was glad of it. It would have been all out of my Brother's Pocket, and a Master to teach them would have Cost £40, or £50. Dashkoff has a Capital Master, and my Brother can at any time send a sufficient number of men to learn of him, at little or no Expence. This Plan I shall promote.

We had begun and almost finished measuring the Land in the Peninsula, called Zadobras,6 but the melting of the Snow and consequent overflowing of a considerable Part of it obliged us to suspend our Operations; as soon as the waters have subsided, which, had it not been for some unusual heavy rains they would have done by this time, we think to finish. A Description, without a Plan would convey a very imperfect Idea.

The following is a Copy of Prince Potemkin's Letter to my Brother.

Monsieur, Je ne vous envoye aucun Ordre relativement aux demandes de votre Lettre de trois Mars de cette Année. La raison est, que comptant bientôt partir, j'aime mieux differer la decision de ces Arrangemens jusqu' à mon arrivée à Critchoff. Je vous prie done de m'attendre et d'etre persuadé de l'entiere devouement, avec lequell j'ai l'honneur d'etre parfaitement, monsieur

  • votre très humble et très obeissant serviteur          
  • Prince Potemkin.                              

  • St. Petersburg
  •   le 1/12. Avril l'année 1786.

pg 469Sir,

I do not send you any Order relative to the Questions in your Letter of the 3d of March last, the reason is, that imagining I shall set out very soon, I chuse rather to defer the determination of those arrangements till my arrival at Critchoff. Pray expect me then, and be persuaded of the entire /attachment/ devotion (devouement) with which I have the honor, perfectly to be,

  • Sir,                                                  
  • your very humble and obedient Servant       
  • Prince Potemkin                

  • St. Petersburg
  •   The 1st April 1786.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
567. 1 B.M. IV: 258–9. Copy by Jeremiah Bentham. Docketed by him: 'Copy / Fils Jeremy / Letter datd. Critchoff / April 28 / May 9 1786.' Also docketed under the date heading: 'Reed at Finchley 13 June 1786.'
An extract from this letter appears in Jeremiah Bentham's letter-book, B.M. XXII: 391.
Editor’s Note
2 An incomplete, undated copy of part of this letter is at B.M. IV: 322. Jeremiah Bentham contemplated setting out about June on a visit to his sons.
Editor’s Note
3 Not identified.
Editor’s Note
4 In February 1786 Charles, 2nd Earl Cornwallis had accepted the government's invitation to become governor-general of Bengal. The Duke of Richmond was at this time head of the Ordnance Board and a cabinet minister. His proposals for fortifying the naval bases at Portsmouth and Plymouth at considerable expense had been thrown out by the Commons at the end of that month (Alison G. Olson, The Radical Duke, Oxford, 1961, pp. 81–5). Edmund Burke took the first step in the Commons towards the impeachment of Warren Hastings on 17 February. (The Correspondence of Edmund Burke, volume v, July 1782–June 1789, ed. Holden Furber, with the assistance of P. J. Marshall, Cambridge, 1965, p. 259).
Editor’s Note
5 The king's gardener was William Aiton (1731–93), who became manager of the botanical garden at Kew in 1759, and who, at his death, was succeeded in his post by his eldest son. John Aiton's parentage has not been traced. He appears to have been the son of an unidentified younger brother of William Aiton whom the historian of the Aiton family, confusing him with his father, reports as having been employed, presumably later in his career, in the botanical service of the Russian Tsar (William Aiton, An Inquiry into the Origins, Pedigree, and History, of the Family, or Clan, of Aitons in Scotland, Hamilton, 1830, pp. 38–40). On him see also letters 604 and 613.
Editor’s Note
6 The correct form of this name is Zadobrast, but Bentham normally omitted the final 't'. Presumably it was not clearly sounded in local speech.
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