Front Page Titles (by Subject) Bentham to Lord Lansdowne. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 10 (Memoirs Part I and Correspondence)
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Bentham to Lord Lansdowne. - 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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Bentham to Lord Lansdowne.
“You ask me, what success I have met with from the great man? meaning, I suppose, Mr Pitt. If I had met with success—that is, if I had settled with him—you would not have been four-and-twenty hours without hearing of it. The case is, that besides his procrastinating disposition, the chapter of accidents has been against me. On the 6th or 7th of last month, Mr Dundas, with the privity of Mr Pitt, wrote to Mr Long (Secretary to the Treasury) to meet him on the Monday, the 9th, at Mr Pitt’s, at half after ten, to settle everything. Mr Long having a cold, and sore throat, did not come till half after eleven,—and so nothing was done. Mr Dundas, at my solicitation, wrote therefore to Mr Long, to make another appointment for the same hour the next day. Mr Long having still the same indisposition, did not come till twelve,—so that opportunity was likewise lost. Mr Dundas thereupon finding the difficulty there was to find a sufficient time that would suit the joint convenience of himself, Mr Pitt and Mr Long, proposed, in concurrence with Mr Nepean, (who had conducted the business with me originally, to the stage at which, for want of parliamentary authority, it stopped,) that power should be obtained from Mr Pitt for him (Mr Nepean) and Mr Long to settle the business; and Mr Nepean devoted to that purpose the then next Sunday, (February 15,) the only day his regular business could possibly allow him to spare; and Mr Dundas was so sure of Mr Pitt’s coming into it, that he told me on the Friday before, I might take for granted the meeting would be held with me that day, and that the business would then be done. Mr Dundas, however, reckoned without his host; for on the Monday or Tuesday after, he told me that Mr Pitt would not turn it over to anybody else: but that he had promised him, that the first hour he could spare from those branches of public business that admitted of no delay, he would set about it himself—Sunday and the fast days that were then approaching; meaning the Wednesday and the occasional fast. These fast days, however, are over, and still the business is not done; yet everybody joins in assuring me, that Mr Pitt means really to do it. In the meantime, this unfortunate business of Ireland has come across them, and cannot have failed to furnish extraordinary occupation to their thoughts. They show at the same time a readiness to admit of our services in other matters. Mr Nepean t’other day introduced my brother to the Duke of York as commander-in-chief, for the purpose of examining his invention of an amphibious baggage-wagon, to answer the purpose of wagon and boats without increase of weight. My brother accordingly waited on the Duke, at York House, by appointment the next day, Sunday se’nnight, February 22, with the model. The Duke saw it,—approved it highly, and gave him orders for making some in the great, and talked of coming to Q. S. P. to see Panopticon and the other things. The very next day, without any warning, he came—saw—admired, and told Nepean afterwards that he should bring the king, who would probably have been here before this, if my brother had not desired a day’s notice, which was accordingly promised. No baggage wagons, however, will my brother make till he has got orders for them from Lord Cornwallis, the new master of the ordnance, to whom Nepean has already spoken of him, and has promised to introduce him in person by the first opportunity for that purpose. Mr Pitt and Mr Dundas have likewise intimated to Mr Nepean, a disposition to listen to my brother’s plans of improvement in relation to the navy: and for a beginning, have declared their willingness to turn over to him the Orion of 74—known as the worst sailer in the navy, which he has undertaken to make the best. He has likewise been sounded about quitting the Empress’s service, for the purpose of taking such a situation in our admiralty service, as would give him the power necessary for carrying his plans into effect. The arrangement of these matters waits for Nepean’s removal from his present office to his new situation of principal Secretary to the Admiralty, where he is to have great influence. We have already an order from the Board of Ordnance to make wheels, but the present situation of the works does not admit great despatch in the execution of it. What is remarkable is, that Pitt and Dundas should undertake for the alteration in the Orion, before Lord Spencer had been consulted about it. My brother’s introduction to Lord Spencer, has been deferred till Nepean, who is to do it, has been seated in his new office, which will render him the proper man for it. We are all along assured, from a variety of quarters, (for many people of weight among Mr Pitt’s friends have volunteered their services on the occasion,) that his procrastination has not proceeded from any dislike either to the men or to the measure; and it was but t’other day that Nepean said to my brother in so many words, ‘there are not two men alive that Mr Pitt has a higher opinion of than you and your brother.’ ”
“Pitt the second,” said Bentham, speaking of him to me in 1822, “had that quality,—the only quality necessary for a ministerial leader,—the quality of an orator. He had no plans—good or bad—wide or narrow. In fact, he came into office too young to have any,—just at the age when a man is intrusted with the conduct of his own private affairs. The Secretaries of the Treasury were Mr George Rose and Mr Charles Long. All that was wanting to the art of government was, that, from time to time, certain changes should be proposed, to prevent the machine from falling to pieces; and George Rose was generally employed to prepare and give an account of those intended and necessary changes. Mr Long was the arbiter elegantiarum—the master of the government ceremonies. The work that was to be done was concocted by Rose,—the secret superintendence of the workmen was managed by Long.”
The Duke de Liancourt writes to Bentham from Philadelphia, of the delight with which he had been studying the machinery, and the results of their system of prison discipline. He says, that he felt relieved on reaching a country where public opinion judged tolerantly of the variety of religious and political creeds. But he desires that his name may not be mentioned as the author of the remarks, lest he should awaken an attention he desires to avoid. He says, that the admirable management of the Pennsylvanian prisons has already brought about benevolent modifications of the penal code. He admires the care,—the attention,—the tact of the keepers: says that the jailor’s wife had succeeded to office on her husband’s death, and the discipline was quite as perfectly preserved as before. Whether from fear,—from conviction,—or from habit, order was admirably kept. He is struck with the superiority of the prisons, to every other public establishments. One thing only shocked the duke, namely, the total separation of the black from the white prisoners. And yet, says he, the directors of the prison are mostly Quakers and Abolitionists! So contradictory is man!
1795—1799. Æt. 47—51.
Dumont.—Lord Wycombe.—Duke de Liancourt.—Wilberforce.—Lord St Helens.—Letter on the Treason Bill.—Plan for an Index of Advertisements.—Pole Carew’s Financial Projects.—Dr Colquhoun.—Plans for Improving the Metropolitan Police, and the Westminster Magistracy.—Correspondence with Sir Francis. Baring on Banks and Paper Currency.
The multitude of letters which passed between Dumont and Bentham exhibit the curious workings upon one another of minds constituted of various and sometimes discordant elements. Dumont scarcely ever failed to make Bentham attractive, by the graces of his own style,—and by an infusion of commonplaces, of every-day knowledge, and of familiar illustrations. “You are too metaphysical,” he tells his master, “you write for too small a class,—I must be more diffuse,—more explantory; I must suppress what seems too abstract,—I must spread out what you have condensed.” “You should complete what you are about. We cannot wait for the Greek calends. Everything needs not be said,—everything is not expected to be explained in the same volume.”
Dumont was in the habit of suggesting to Bentham topics for his consideration, in order to fill up any blanks, or to correct any apparent defects in his writings. For example,—to the list of circumstances which influence sensibility, and which are given in the sixth chapter of the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Dumont proposes to add, the seasons; sounds;—music—military music, the voice—soft—sharp—exasperated, &c.; colours, darkness, as inspiring sadness, fear, &c; light; food; noise; silence; motion; repose; sympathy, (machinal) as in a theatre, produced by the presence of multitudes: dress, as distinguishing sex; localities, as an apartment where we have witnessed the death of a friend; symbolical figures; solitude; society; physiognomy, beauty, ugliness.
Quære.—Why is not the word passion in the catalogue,—or why is its absence not explained? There is tendency of the inclinations. Is this the genus, of which the passions are only the species? (Yes! J. B.)
Quære.—Do not habitual occupations belong to circumstances of the second order, inasmuch as their influence must be subordinate to that of health, strength, degree of light, inclinations, fortune, &c.?
Quære.—Should there not be a distinction between the circumstances which determine the quantum and the genus of sensibility, and the accidental or exterior circumstances acting on it and calling it into exercise?
The following letter contains many curious particulars illustrative of Neapolitan politics and Italian customs: