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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 NoteEditor’s Note1157To Charles Long4 August 1796 (Aet 48)

Q.S.P. August 4 1796


In consequence of a Letter of mine sent yesterday2 to Sir Thomas Spencer Wilson, his Land Steward, Mr Stride,3 a respectable Attorney in Carey Street, has just been with me on the part of Lady Wilson,4 stating her repugnance. The spot forms thepg 238termination of a favourite morning's walk of her Ladyship's:- Offers made by individuals who wanted the spot to build on had accordingly been refused:- Lord Cholmondeley,5 I think, was mentioned, who had actually built on a spot not very far distant—What seems to have been forgotten at the moment, tho' it was mentioned afterwards, is, that the Law had been beforehand in the refusal: the Estate being in strict Settlement.—No objections to the Penitentiary Plan in general—on the contrary, an enthusiastic approbation of it.—No alarm about the intended vicinity of the Prisoners:—for in truth the favourite walk in question can never have been taken without seeing them, and that in a state of less secure confinement, one may venture to say, than they would be in within the four Walls of the intended House. But the loss of the property of the favourite termination of the walk was the great, though only, grievance.—A variety of spots offered in lieu, unfortunately none but what are a mile at least from Water Carriage: Charlton Common the most plausible—To make the argument the stronger, a fit of illness undertaken for on the part of the Lady in the event of a perseverance in the choice.—Decency seemed to require of me to direct the complaint to the real source of authority, rather than take upon me in appearance an authority that does not belong to me. I accordingly referred the parties to the Treasury, recommending paper as the proper vehicle for their representations: but her Ladyship's Sons in Law,6 as in duty bound, will doubtless support the paper with their voice.

If the part I have in the choice were to be kept out of sight, the sort of sympathy which a man can't help feeling for a Lady in her situation, might, at a proper time, give me a chance, at least, of alleviating her reluctance, by such explanations, and even accomodations, as the case may be found to admit of:—on the other hand, were I to be considered as the author, nothing I could say or do, would have any other effect on her uneasiness, than to encrease it.—On my own account, you have seen too much of me, I believe, to attribute to me a desire of shrinking from any responsibility that belongs to me.

Sir Thomas, it is declared, never sees any body, but his own pg 239family, and this Steward Mr Stride; nor ever visits the spot in question, or any other spot without the circuit of his own walls. Whether he keeps it or parts with it, he remains equally a prey to morbid melancholy. The property of Mr Bowater (who happens just now to be in Town) was already (Mr Stride told me) intended to be disposed of. There is therefore but one repugnant party in the case: (the Tenant (Harden)7 having declared himself passive, referring every thing to his Landlord, whom he expected to find equally so:) There is therefore, I say, but one repugnant party in the case: and if the considerations which plead in favour of the choice were to be deemed insufficient to support it against an opposition of that size, you will judge, Sir, whether the task of looking out for a fourth spot after three years struggle would appear worth engaging in. I have the honor to be, with great respect,

  • Sir                              
  • Your most obedient and            
  • humble Servant                    

  • C. Long Esq.
  •   etc. etc. etc.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1157. 1 B.L. VI: 240–1. Fair copy, not in Bentham's hand. Docketed by Bentham: '1796 Aug 4 / Panopt / J.B. Q.S.P. / to / Long Treasury / Lady Wilson.'
Editor’s Note
2 He clearly means letter 1156, although that draft is dated 30 July.
Editor’s Note
3 John Stride (c. 1745–1825), attorney, of 24 Carey Street, London (see Gentleman's Magazine, xcv, May 1825, p. 476).
Editor’s Note
5 George James Cholmondeley, 4th Earl and 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley (1749–1827), succeeded his father as earl, 1770, and was created a marquess, 1815.
Editor’s Note
6 Three daughters of Sir Thomas and his wife all married influential husbands: the eldest, Margaretta Elizabeth Wilson married (1787) Charles George Perceval, Baron Arden (1756–1840); Jane married (1790) Spencer Perceval (1762–1812), the brother of Lord Arden and the future prime minister, who was assassinated; Maria married Sir John Trevelyan, 5th bart.
Editor’s Note
7 Elsewhere called 'Harding'.
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