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Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 4: October 1788 to December 1793

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Editor’s NoteEditor’s Note 833To William Pitt2 February 1792 (Aet 43)

Dover Street No. 2 Feb:y 10th 1792


Recent considerations and calculations have enabled me to put my proposal of Jan:y 23d 1791 relative to the Penitentiary system into a shape which removes altogether what I have all along understood to be the only objection to which that system has been looked upon as exposed.2

I am now ready to execute the plan stated in that proposal at an expence per man less by 25 per cent than that of the Hulk system: taking on myself all expence of building, and that without any advance to be made by Government for that purpose. £184 a man was to have been the least amount of that expence, as I now find by the Report made to the House of Commons in 1784.

Sir Charles Bunbury is ready to express his entire approbation of my plan, together with the most zealous wishes for its adoption, on all occasions, public as well as private, without reserve: and Lord Auckland, I have some reason to flatter myself, (though without having as yet been honoured by any direct communication from him) would not be backward in the expression of similar sentiments. The suffrages of these gentlemen, the original patrons of the Penitentiary system, may, I hope, afford some presumption that pg 360 the spirit of it has at least not suffered by the amendments I have presumed to make in it.

  • I have the honour to be, with all respect,              
  • Sir,                                             
  • Your most obedient                   
  • and humble Servant                 
  • Jeremy Bentham                  

  • Rt Hon. W. Pitt
  • etc. etc. etc.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
833. 1 PRO30/8, Chatham Papers, vol. 113, fos. 80–1. Docketed: 'Mr. Bentham / rel. to Penitentiary / Houses etc.' A draft in B.L. V: 315–6 is docketed: '1792 Feb. 10 / J.B. Dover Street / To Rt. H. W. Pitt Downing Street / Letter 3 / Fresh proposal / Brouillon.'
In B.L. V: 317 is a memorandum in Bentham's hand headed 'Panopticon Papers— Copies / Titles as sent to G. Rose Esq. Palace Yard 12 Feb. 1792.'
Editor’s Note
2 This new offer goes much further than the first approach to Pitt on 23 January 1791 (letter 738) and the reminder on 26 November (letter 822).
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