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Jeremy Bentham

The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 5: January 1794 to December 1797

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Editor’s Notepg 124Editor’s Note1047To the Marquis of Lansdowne26 March 1795 (Aet 47)

Q.S.P. 26 March 1795

My Lord

A Lady, who, not to mention her quality and character, is at once a friend of your Lordship's and a Sister of Sir Francis Baring,2 is a most difficult personage to deal with. The letter which I take the liberty to inclose for your Lordship's perusal, was on the day of its date returned to me from her house, being refused admittance. The story was that they did not know how to convey a letter to her Ladyship—that she had not been in town these two years—that she was continually removing from place to place, and that at present they knew not where she was. Your Lordship, I am inclined to think, will join with me in looking upon this as a strange history: strange if true, and equally strange to be reported if it were not so. Your Lordship, observing my situation, as it is most truly stated in the inclosed letter, will judge whether it admitts of my acquiescing in this refusal on the part of a lady whom I really can not suppose (endow'd and related as she is) to stand in need of any such forbearance as that she /claims/ exacts and who, to judge from the whole tenor of his correspondence with her would be much more inclined to laugh at me in her own mind than thank me for it. Under these circumstances your Lordship will not wonder that it should be a determined object with me to obtain the supply which is so much my due and which I am so much in want of: any more than that it should be an equally determined object with me to save the Lady from every inconvenience which is not the unavoidable result of the principal pursuit. Were the first the only one, nothing could be more efficacious or more expeditious as your Lordship knows than the remedy which the law puts into my hands. To save myself from the necessity of taking a step which would cast such a stain upon her Ladyship's dignity I have sometimes had thoughts of stating the case to Sir Francis: but as a disclosure of that sort might for aught I could tell be productive of family pg 125uneasinesses beyond the power of a stranger to estimate I have preferred as the least evil I could think of the making my humble resort to your Lordship for advice: and that the rather as /since/ because your Lordship having in former instances been troubled on the same subject, the present business /communication/ does not subject /expose/ the state of her Ladyships affairs to any new disclosure. Perhaps your Lordship might have the goodness to enable the letter to find its way into her hands.3 I have the honour to be

  • My Lord, with constant respect and       
  • attachment                
  • Your Lordships most obedient      
  • and humble Servant          
  • Jeremy Bentham           

Marquis of Lansdown.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1047. 1 U.C. Ogden Mss. 62 (2) 4. Autograph draft, with a number of obliterations. Docketed: '1795 Mar 26 / J.B. Q.S.P. / to / Ld L Berkeley Square.'
Editor’s Note
2 His sister was Lady Ashburton, the widow of John Dunning, 1st Baron Ashburton; she was a tenant of Bentham's leasehold house, number 14, Duke Street (see Correspondence, iv, 363 n. 2).
Editor’s Note
3 Missing; perhaps destroyed by Bentham after its return by Lord Lansdowne (see letter 1048).
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