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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 109Editor’s Note1028To The Marquis Of Lansdowne11 December 1794 (Aet 46)

Q.S.P. Dec:r 11 1794.

My Lord

The most unfeeling and faithless of Ministers2 and mankind has not left me bread to eat. If it were of any use my existence should be supported two or three days longer, you might pay, give or lend me a miserable £12, being the price of certain books sent in to the Library at Lansdown House, in obedience to your Lordship's commands in the year of the Christian AEra 1789. It was the collection of the Transactions of the French Provincial Assemblies in 20 Vols 4to or thereabouts.

Great debates whether to beg as thus, or to write a letter about blood and wounds, and putting of money into a sartin place, or to lay in wait and display the polish of a pistol, or to break into the Butler's room some favourable night, and lay hold of whatever it afforded. At last, among a number of courses equally scandalous, this was preferred, as steering clear of halters.

All this will seem a dream to you: but if you will enquire whether such books are in the library, you will probably find them there: and if you enquire from what Bookseller they came, you will hear of none unless Mr. Cross3 should happen to have among his Bills one of Elmsly's to me for those books, and I think to that amount, which said bill I with this hand gave not long after into your Lordship's.

Were you to see me, you would find me looking as well as talking like Romeo's Apothecary:4 yet still, (saving these my necessities)

  • Your Lordship's most devoted Servant               
  • to command till death, that is for a few days,        
  • Jeremy Bentham            

Marquis of Lansdown

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1028. 1 Lansdowne Mss. Autograph. No signature, docket or address.
Printed in Bowring, x, 306, with a few verbal differences, perhaps because a draft was used.
Editor’s Note
2 William Pitt.
Editor’s Note
3 An employee of Lansdowne's.
Editor’s Note
  • 'In tatter'd weeds, with overwhelming brows,
  • Culling of simples; meagre were his looks,
  • Sharp misery had worn him to the bones'
  • (Romeo and Juliet, V, i, 39–41).
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