Front Page Titles (by Subject) Bentham to Dumont. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 10 (Memoirs Part I and Correspondence)
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Bentham to Dumont. - 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 Dumont.
“27th-30th June, 1802.
“Avocats-Courtisannes, &c. &c.—
“Oh, yes—wonderous merit, truly! If I had called a cat a cat, would that have been any warrant for your making me call him so? My picture of a lawyer was not half finished: I had not laid on half the colours I had in store for him.
“Millions of thanks for the kindness of the offer, and the means you afforded me of profiting by it.
“I have said in my wrath something like what David said in his. All Frenchmen are independable upon—all except Dumont: and Dumont, too, is a Frenchman.
Εαπεν ὃ Δημοδοϰος· Χιοι ϰαϰοι· ουχ ὁ μεν, ὁς δ’ ου·
Παντες, πλην Πϱοϰλεους:—ϰαι Πϱοϰλεης Χείος.*
“My Greek displayed, I except your excuses, naughty boy! and pardon you.
“You are a pretty fellow, ain’t you? So beautiful you, I did not know you from myself. A compliment so fulsome, my fear was, lest in that character you should not be able to swallow it; and, lo! mixing it up with bile of your own, you convert it into an injustice. Seriously, though; whatever parts there may be in it of yours, with very few exceptions I have not been able to distinguish it from my own. If I had nothing else to do, it would be matter of amusement to make the rummage you are for putting me upon, and give suum cuique.
“28th June, 1802.
“Received your two letters, one dated 27th Mai, the other posterior to it, with no other date than Lundi: I suppose the 7th of this month, June—if it was not rather the 31st of May; for in that of the 27th you speak of your departure as fixed for that day four days. In your letter of Lundi, by Mr Studdings, you speak of your having sent, along with the complete copy in three volumes, ‘Le troisième volume defait.’ What means ‘defait?’ Literally it seems to mean, first done up, (i. e. sewed,) and then undone. I suppose it means here, not done up—i. e., as we say, in sheets. Be this as it may, done, undone, or not done, no such thing have I from Mr Studdings. His servant brought the complete copy in three volumes, loose. H. K. asked him for the other odd volume, translating to him that part of your letter—but he knew nothing of the matter. His master had then already been in London a fortnight, he said, and the day he brought it was 23d June. Since then I have heard nothing from Mr Studdings: so that the third volume, if sent, must have served him for waste paper. Sending the next day, (according to your worship’s order,) the two first volumes of my entire copy to Romilly, I sent him a license, if he thought it worth his while, to dun Mr Studdings for the other. So much for Mr Studdings.
“Your Lundi letter promises a dozen copies through Deboffe. Instead of those dozen, came, on the 25th, half a dozen from Abauzit, with a promise of the rest soon. This was I suppose by a fresh occasion, unthought of when you mentioned Deboffe. Abauzit had the honour to be mine, &c., ‘avec tous les sentimens d’un homme heureux, regénéré pas la lecture de mes ouvrages.’ What does this mean?
“He is a Ministre du Saint Evangile, is not he? Have I his soul to answer for, then, as well as other souls?
“I should like much to see your paper wars with Morellet and Garnier; and if you had been good for anything, you would have told me that I should see them, and how. Is there no young man in Geneva that would be glad to take a copy for so great a man as Monseigneur Dumont? Paper to make war upon us et tu Brute? As for your man of merit, I have been sadly disappointed with him. He has thrown a little more light upon the subject here and there, but I doubt a good deal more darkness. His levity, presumption, ignorance—blindness frequently, with every mark of wilfulness, is prodigious. To be sure, I have not yet read half his volume, but I don’t know how to get on with it. Text and commentary together will make such a hodge-podge, as we must endeavour, one of these days—if Providence grants us life and grace—to supersede.
You may expose his want of instruction, but as to instruction from him, I doubt neither you nor the public will get any. You will find in him neither the candour nor the discernment that are necessary for that purpose. From what I saw of him already, I set him down in the list of incurables. Can you tell me whether he had seen ‘Emancipate your Colonies,’ ‘Law Taxes,’ ‘Defence de l’Usure’ or ‘Defence of Usury,’ or, ‘Judicial Establishment’? Notwithstanding all I have said, I would send them to him—such of them as he has not seen.
“We are looking for it every day, with all our eyes, like astronomers for a comet; but we have the Moniteur of 7 Messidor before us, and still not a syllable of a puff from him, or anybody. Will he put his name to it, I wonder? Many puffers (I see) do:—if a puff without a name is worth one pot of beer, a puff with his name is worth two.
“You see the Moniteur, I suppose, regularly: and thence you have seen the annonce of the book,—the simple, or rather imperfect annonce, with my name only, and not yours. The bookseller is a noodle. The lettering at the back of the book is,—[Traités de] ‘Legislation [par] Bentham.’—Bentham, Legislation Penale et Civile,—would have been more expressive.
“On second thoughts, I am inclined to think I misunderstood your expression, ‘Gallois s’est chargé de l’annonce dans le Moniteur.’ Perhaps, by the simple annonce above mentioned, he has acquitted himself of the charge. And this was all the charge you meant. But for this, what need of Gallois?
Nec Deus intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus.
Was not the bookseller equal to the task of copying and sending to the newspaper the title of the book? We shall see, one of these days, what the Journaux say of it. In the meantime, if you are good for anything, you will let me know whether people say anything at all about it at Paris, where I presume your citizenship is not altogether without correspondence.
“By the by, do you know that my citizenship went to the keeper of the voting-book, and voted a freehold interest in the consulship to Buonaparte.
“Henry Thornton on Paper Credit—
“This is a book of real merit,—a controversy with him would be really instructive. I have tumbled it over but very imperfectly, that not being the order of the day; and for fear of calling off my attention, and absorbing my capacity of exertion. But one of these days I may not improbably grapple with him. Admitting all his facts, with thanks,—agreeing with him in almost all his conclusions,—but disputing with him what seems (as far as I have as yet seen) to be his most material conclusion, viz., that paper money does more good than harm. Here is a book of real instruction, if the French are wise enough to translate it: the style clear, plain, without ornament or pretension; the reasoning close.
“Archimedes [Sir S. Bentham] received (through he knows not what channel, I suppose Abauzit) two copies of a book, which goes at Q. S. P. by the name of ‘Dumont Principes.’ Whatever was the design of this anonymous, not to say insidious, present, the effect of it was destroying subordination in a regular, quiet family,—making younger branches insult the elder,—snapping their fingers and vaunting their independence.
“I had like to have forgot the Institute, I declare,—a pretty kettle of fish there we have made of it. You must now draw in your horn, and put your microscope in your pocket. You will not have the face to set about making observations upon man, now that auspices are wanting from above.
“Has Abauzit fingers capable of holding a pen? If so, and he is a true apostle, you might set him to take off some of your enemies off your hands.
“Thank you for your account of him. His name was as well known to me as any name, viz., by its connexion with his works, which, however, I know only from extracts.
“Benthamite? what sort of an animal is that?—I can’t find any such word in Boyer’s Dictionary. As to religion—to be sure a new religion would be an odd sort of a thing without a name: accordingly there ought to be one for it—at least for the professors of it. Utilitarian (Angl.,) Utilitairien (Gall.) would be the more propre. Consult the Physical Class of the Institut: which, by the by, I am truly sorry to hear you say, is on its decline, or at a stand at least.
“You have nothing particular to do here: when you have seen Lord H. safe to whatever place he would be safe at, you ought to take another trip to Paris, to see how matters are going on there. You might by that time take the opportunity of buying Dumont Principes at so much per pound. Imported here, they might be put into one of the new invented Quasi-Medica kettles, boiled young again, and regenerated into poems and sermons. You brag of your paper, but, besides its letting the fingers through, it will not hold the ink—a device of yours, I suppose, for stopping the career of my amendments.
“Place and Time,*&c.—
“I have not compared anything with the original brouillon, and probably never shall: but, as far as I can judge, it is a happy thing that there happened to be so much room to spare. The Promulgation des Raisons edified me very much: it was a favourite topic, and I was very glad to see it, and see it so well managed; putting the specimen after the general matter, was an idea altogether excellent. Place and time being of the nature of that sort of general speculation that one likes, and, at the same time, fixed and specialized by the applications made of it, will, I should think, be found rather amusing than otherwise, and, by giving a sort of vernis philosophique, make an excellent finish. I have filled my paper—a duty I never neglect: so now, my good boy, good by to you.
“You see from the Moniteur that there are several of them setting up at Petersburg—in Bavaria—to say nothing of probable ones in little Republics. Of the six copies received already, I think of sending two to Lord St Helens, leaving him to do with them what he pleases. Even Rumford, would be a proper channel, I suppose, for anything to Bavaria: but it is against my habits—my principles—my everything, to propose it to him. By Peltier, I suppose, it might be done, if you thought it worth while to mention it.
“Should it fall in your way, I wish you would give a commission to any German capable of undertaking it, to transmit to me whatever critique may come to be made upon Dumont Principes. I would not grudge a few pounds (nor, in short, any sum that it could amount to) in this way, for my menûs plaisirs. I would not serve you as X. Y. Bellamy had liked to have served us.
“Diatribes contre la Loi—
“How rare and extravagant is that proposition about suppressing advocates, &c. It is as if a man would propose to keep meat sweet, by keeping maggots off from it. He has made me ashamed almost every now and then of my own opinions and my own wishes, by the bad arguments he has given for them.”
Bentham sent to Wilberforce his statement of the grievances to which he had been subjected on the subject of Panopticon; and in answer to the inquiry whether he should publish, Wilberforce replies† :—
[* ] Adapted from the Anthology—beginning Καὶ πόδε Δημοδόϰου.
[* ] See the Influence of Time and Place in matters of Legislation, Works, vol. i. p. 171.
[† ] The following notice of the subject of the letter is from Wilberforce’s Life, vol. ii. p. 71:—
“Never was any one worse used than Bentham. I have seen the tears run down the cheeks of that strong-minded man through vexation, at the pressing importunity of creditors, and the insolence of official underlings, when, day after day, he was begging at the Treasury for what was indeed a mere matter of right. How indignant did I often feel when I saw him thus treated by men infinitely his inferiors! I could have extinguished them. He was quite soured by it; and I have no doubt that many of his harsh opinions afterwards, were the fruit of this ill-treatment. ‘A fit site,’ at last wrote the weary man, ‘obtainable for my purpose, without a single dissentient voice, is that of the golden tree and the singing water, and after a three years’ consideration, I beg to be excused searching for it.’ ‘Bentham’s hard measure’—‘Bentham cruelly used’—‘Jeremy Bentham suo more,’ are in Wilberforce’s docketings upon the letters which, at this time, passed frequently between them. Some of them are not a little singular:—‘Kind Sir,’ he writes in one, ‘the next time you happen on Mr Attorney-general in the House, or elsewhere, be pleased to take a spike, the longer and sharper the better, and apply it to him by way of memento that the Penitentiary Contract Bill has, for I know not what length of time, been sticking in his hands; and you will much oblige your humble servant to command,
“ ‘N. B.—A corking-pin was yesterday applied by Mr Abbot.’ ”