Front Page Titles (by Subject) M. Delessert to Bentham. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 10 (Memoirs Part I and Correspondence)
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M. Delessert to Bentham. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 10 (Memoirs Part I and Correspondence) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 10.
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M. Delessert to Bentham.
“The Hollanders are much divided in opinion: but in the manner of exhibiting their opinions, they show the apathy and slowness of the national character. Much excitement is necessary for the smallest movement. It is not as in France, where a song can create a revolution. A Dutchman with his coffee without sugar, his pipe and his Geneva, is happy as a Frenchman in his Assemblée d’élection. The people is surrounded by abundance, has no grievances, and should be disposed to remain neuter, and to allow the upper classes to settle all political squabbles. They are, however, generally disposed to support the prince. The stadtholder had managed to attach them to him during the last troubles, and has cultivated their affections. In some towns the contrary is the case. In Amsterdam, and almost everywhere else, the merchants are for the most part patriotic, and desire and hope for change.
“There are some discontented members in the Assemblies of the States; but the burgomasters and the other magistrates are all on the side of the prince. The officers of the military bodies entertain the same sentiments. As for the troops, they are mostly Germans, and know nothing but to obey.
“The heads of the patriots seek to agitate what the exiled are intriguing in France. The efforts of the one can only be successful by those of the other, and the French must aid them by efficacious coöperation. I do not know what are the dispositions of the French Government. Here an invasion is feared and expected. The decree which frees the navigation of the Scheldt and the entrance of vessels belonging to the Republic into that river, announces that they care not about conciliating Holland, and would willingly have a pretext for a quarrel. England might retain them; but her declaration to the States has produced little effect. It is thought too forbearing. An armament might have given some weight to it.
“If the French enter, there is little to oppose them. Everybody opines that the means of opposition are worthless. There is an army of 30,000 men to defend an extensive country and badly fortified holds. The troops are ill practised to resist warlike and triumphant soldiers. The fleet is decaying, and the help of England unavailing to stop an invasion by land. The inundation of the country may be had recourse to; but this is as detrimental to the inhabitants as it would be to foreigners. Domestic dissensions would make it difficult of adoption, and the approach of the winter would render it impossible.
“And even though the French should invade the country, and change the government, and drive away its chief, they would not succeed in propagating their principles. The customs, or, if you will, the prejudices of the people, present the same obstacles which are found in Brabant. You know that the Belgians are divided, as of old, into Vonhists and Vandernootists. These last are supported by the aristocracy and the clergy, who are still very powerful. They are energetic, and desire the ancient government. They would be embarrassing to the French.
“It would seem as if the confederated powers had determined to carry on the next campaign with vigour. Mollendorf is mentioned as the general. The Empress of Russia guarantees his states to the King of Prussia, and promises her assistance in case of rebellion. He is causing all his troops to advance, while Austria brings her last resources into action.
“The French reckon on the bravery of their troops, encouraged by their success. Discipline and confidence are reëstablished in their army. They have a great advantage over their enemies. They have made a territory beyond their own the theatre of war.
“These preparations menace us with a long succession of calamities. War and intestine division threaten all the countries of Europe. England alone can establish peace. Her power, her wisdom, the neutrality which she has observed, designate her as the mediatrix. Even her interest calls on her to interfere. Liberty and licentiousness, which traverse Europe together, may trouble her repose.
“Spain and Holland are deeply interested in this pacification, and must seek to promote it. France herself must desire it—the victories exhaust her. In fine, she may wrong fortune, and ought to bear reverses.
“It is said that your ministry is busied with these negotiations. How glorious would be their success for England!—how satisfactory for humanity!
“The resources of the imagination are exhausted to find excuses for the retreat of the Prussians. Not content with those which the faults of the campaign present,—they go so far as to believe that Dumouriez was able to turn to account the weakness of the King of Prussia, and his well-known foible for the illuminati. Odd stories are told of visions and apparitions which have appeared to him.
“Nobody knows what will be the fate of the emigrants who pass through this country by thousands on their way to England. The government will not allow them to remain, and has notified in the newspapers that they are not to consider themselves protected against pursuits or reclamations (recherches ou reclames.) Remembrances to Romilly and Trail.”
In writing of Charles Abbott, Afterwards Lord Colchester, Bentham says:—
“Not long after the publication of the ‘Fragment,’ a person, related to me by marriage, accosted me, and spoke to me nearly in these words:—‘You are just able to keep body and soul together without practice; I am not: I must think of myself in the first place, I will think of the public in the next place.’ In my remembrance the prophecy is still fresh: I should not expect the like in his. The word was not a hasty one: he has kept to it: how well, let the Finance Reports of 1787 and 1788 declare. To form anything like an adequate conception of the merit of that work, those which have succeeded under the same title should be compared with it. Further than he went towards reform, the system would not have permitted him to go, or it would not have permitted any one to go: the wonder was, how he could go so far, and be afterwards what he was. Under Pitt’s administration it was barely possible: what would it have been under such as we have had since? Farther than he went few but himself would have been inclined to go, few besides Pitt would have permitted him to go: he went as far as he could, and in no small degree further than many a learned and eminent person wished.”
Of men more or less known to public fame, and who at this period were among the acquaintances of Bentham, I have gathered the following sketches, which fell from him spontaneously when allusion was made to them:—
“I remember Dr Lawrence—a man of harsh physiognomy: there was a roughness in his tout ensemble. We met at Phil. Metcalf’s. There was a silk gownsman who had never any business, but who went by the name of Omniscient Jackson. I gave the title to Macculloch (Dr), who was all omniscience, and preterea nihil.
“Bryant* was an acquaintance of mine. If be found in Judea a man whose name began with Col, he would swear he was the builder of Colchester.
“I remember hearing a trait of young Beckford’s profusion. When about to sleep at an inn, he ordered it to be papered for him, at an expense of £10, like Wolsey, who travelled with a set of gold hangings.
“Dr W. Hunter was the Garrick of lecturers.”
Dr Swediaur brought Bentham and Baron Regenfeld together. “Regenfeld was the eternal Secretary of the Austrian Legation. He spoke English so well that he might be mistaken for an Englishman, and he got an illegitimate son of his into the English navy.
“Through Regenfeld I got acquainted with the Tokay, which grew on his estate. He said he had still a finer wine, which he called the Essence of Tokay, and which could not come hither, the place of its production being so far inland. In my eagerness for exterior information, how glad I was to lay hold of Regenfeld,—and indeed of anybody coming from that large place called abroad.
“Bishop Barnard was an unbeliever. I met him at Owen Cambridge’s, who had a house of which he was very proud, near Pope’s, at Twickenham. The bishop was much among the aristocracy,—a man of the world, and a clever man. At the same party was Baron Nagel, from whom I learnt the word Bywork, (bywork,) a word we want for a picture. I made a little quizzacious attack upon the bishop, which he took very well,—no offence in the slightest degree.
“Salisbury† is now compelled to write for the papers. He ruined himself by gossiping,—holding people by the button, and wasting his time.
“Wickham was afterwards Under Secretary of State, and Honourable. He and Charles Abbott had a project to make me fall in love with his sister. I went there once; and after dinner an appearance of business left me alone with his wife and daughter. The net was spread, but the fish was not caught.
“Arthur Young owned a landed estate of the value of from £300 to £400 a-year. He is preserved from oblivion by various works, the usefulness of which has not been obliterated by the hand of time. He held a situation of no inconsiderable altitude in the good opinion of George the Third. He was the editor of the ‘Annals of Agriculture,’ and among his correspondents, if what I have heard say be true, was the monarch, who borrowed, for that purpose, the name of Robinson. In the Number for January 1, 1787, there is a letter on ‘Duckett’s Husbandry,’ entitled ‘by Mr Ralph Robinson of Windsor,’ (p. 65-71;) there is another, dated March 4, 1787, (p. 332-6.) These were among his amusements:
Another amusement was architecture,—to which Kew bears witness.
M. de Liancourt thus speaks of the murder of the Duke de la Rochefoucauld, in a note of October 10th, 1792:—
“The horrible news which I have just heard of the assassination of M. de la Rochefoucauld,* my cousin, and my friend—the worthiest and the most respectable of men—the most faithful friend of justice, and the public weal—has so overwhelmed me with affliction, that I cannot come to you—cannot enjoy the pleasure I had reckoned on.”
And in a letter dated 23d October, 1792, Dumont writes:—
[* ] Jacob Bryant, the author of “Analysis of Ancient Mythology,” &c.
[† ] Richard Anthony Salisbury, author of the “Icones Stirpium Rariorum.”
[* ] This occurred on 14th September. Dumont had (see below) been misinformed.