Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XV.: 1803—7. Æt. 54—59. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 10 (Memoirs Part I and Correspondence)
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CHAPTER XV.: 1803—7. Æt. 54—59. - 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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1803—7. Æt. 54—59.
Intercourse and Correspondence with Dr Parr.—Horne Tooke.—Dumont in Russia, and the Progress of Bentham’s Opinions there.—Mr Mulford.—Pole Carew.—George III. and Bishop Hurd.—Death of Lord Lansdowne.—Proffer of Marriage by Bentham.—Romilly in Scotland.—William Hutton.—Reform of the Scottish Courts.—Residence at Barrow Green.
Bentham’s habits were always to keep himself aloof from society. He did not form a part of the ordinary current. He frequently denied himself to visiters who conceived themselves entitled to a welcome. The two letters which follow are curious,—the first exhibiting a management of Bentham to get Dr Parr to his house,—the second, a plot of Romilly to get Bentham to his table to meet Dr Parr.
Bentham to Dumont.
“26th January, 1803.
“My dear Dumont,—
I left unfinished at Romilly’s a project I had for a renewal of acquaintance with Dr Parr. Romilly mentioned, in your hearing I believe, Mackintosh’s and Robert Smith’s as the two houses at which he is to be heard of. Both those citizens you will probably meet on Saturday; the danger is, lest by that time the bird should have flown. If, with your talents for intrigue, you could get the reverend luminary of learning and the church to condescend to partake of a tête-à-tête dinner at my hermitage, you would entitle yourself to my thanks. I don’t want any such third person as —; in short, I don’t want to have my talk polluted with Frenchmen or infidels. I want the irrefragable Doctor all to myself. But, seriously, I have a very particular wish to see the Doctor in that way before he leaves town,—which reason I will explain to you when we meet; and, in the meantime, you will much oblige me, by not mentioning to anybody alive any more of my desire to see him, than what may be absolutely necessary for the gratification of it. You understood, I suppose, from Romilly, that the Doctor had made many attempts to see me at different times, and that Romilly kept him off main force.”
Romilly to Bentham.
“13th February, 1803.
I wish you would dine with me on Tuesday next at five o’clock, and meet your profound admirer and universal panegyrist, Dr Parr. He is so earnest and so eager in his praise of you to all the world, that you should think nothing of the inconvenience of being involved for a few hours in thick clouds of tobacco. The first thing he said to me the other day when I met him in the street was, that he hoped I was a Panoptician; and the second, that he had had a long conversation about you with Charles Fox; so that you may see that he has formed a party for you—has given it a name,—and is canvassing for the ablest recruits to it. Dumont will dine with us, and only two or three other persons; but neither Trail nor Wilson, who, though they may be Panopticians, are certainly not Parrists. Yours ever.”
In the following short communication, Dr Parr gives expression to his feelings of partiality, and urges the introduction to Fox, which, as already stated, (p. 62,) was always declined:—
Dr Samuel Parr to Bentham.
“February 8, 1803.
“My wise and worthy Friend,—
You ran away from me rather abruptly when I went to your door with Mr Fox. I presented to him your books, and I am sure that you would not have been sorry to hear what passed between him and myself about your mighty talents, your profound researches, your important discoveries, your irresistible arguments, your honest intentions, and most meritorious services.—God bless you.”
Speaking of Horne Tooke, in relation to this period, Bentham said: “Horne Tooke had a narrow mind. His library was narrow. A man may be judged of by his library. He was of great use to Burdett. He gave him some degree of intellectuality. Burdett always travelled with some stuff of mine—but I could not get him to give up the common law. He thought it ‘a beautiful theory,’ and Lord Coke ‘a beautiful person.’ What a sad thing it is that imaginary law should be confounded with real law. What authority has the maker of the common law?
“Horne Tooke’s dinners were pic-nic dinners. Every man sent something, and more than he took. Among the eaters, Colonel Bosville was a Republican. Humphreys was admitted on the strength of a bon mot.”
Extract of a letter from
Bentham to J. Mulford.*
“31st May, 1803.
“Bread is not only the staff of life, but, to me, the greatest of all luxuries, passing turtle and venison. Having given up wine, and my countenance, instead of the less cheerful. being all the cheerfuller for it, have I not a right to have the best, if I can get it? always meaning honestly, of course. Perhaps, my dear Doctor, your doctorship could help me. What I mean by the best bread is, the sort of bread they make at farm-honses, such as they used to make at Browning Hill, for example.
“A friend of mine, who bought an estate about five or six years ago, somewhere on the borders of Bagshot Heath, not far from Blackwater, I believe, but has since parted with it, used to have a loaf or two sent him now and then from a servant or tenant there, and two or three times made me a present of one: it was exactly of the right sort,—just like Browning Hill bread, which certainly had no alum in it, nor so much salt as the London bread, nor was quite so much fermented, I believe; and when it happened to be a little sweetish, from the flour being grown, I liked it all the better. Among your doctorship’s protegés about the country, might not some bread-baking good soul peradventure be found, who, for a moderate profit, would be glad, or at least content, to make a loaf or two extra, and send them to me about once in three weeks? I don’t care how stale it is; but longer than that I think it will hardly keep without being mouldy. About three-fourths of a pound, or one pound a-day, would be sufficient.
“Here endeth the dissertation on bread from your ever grateful and affectionate coz.”
Mulford writes, that he cannot undertake the commission from the difficulties of the subject, but will cheerfully provide Bentham with the “Bread of Life.”
Dr Parr, in one of the worst specimens of his execrably bad handwriting, (June 1st, 1803,) begins:—
Dr Parr to Bentham.
I read your letter with great difficulty; but, I thank you for sending it, for it was lively, acute, and interesting. I shall have next week an amanuensis in Leicestershire, and will dictate such an answer as you may read. I will send, too, the Philippic: I shall enclose it to Mr Adam; and our enlightened friend Mr Koe* will call for it, according to directions you will receive in a week or ten days. I shall pass through Coventry on Monday, and will make some inquiries. I will write to a friend at Birmingham: my neighbourhood supplies neither males, nor females, for the purposes you mention. I have been extremely ill: my recovery is very incomplete, and indeed doubtful. Remember your promise to be here in the summer: come in August. My best compliments to Mr Koe. I can hardly hold the pen; but I will summon strength enough to assure you, dear Sir, that I am with great and unfeigned respect and regard, your friend and obedient servant.
“P.S.—I told you, I think, that I had not had time to read your book entirely, and with the serious and serene attention due to it. Alas, I now can hardly distinguish sense from nonsense. I am forbidden to read, or to write.”
Dumont in Petersburg.
Dumont went to Petersburg in 1803. From the curious memoranda which he sent to Bentham, I make a few extracts. The date is October, 1802. The memoranda are partly English and partly French.
“Czarskozelo, formerly gilt, but now all gone—all stolen—gilt over-thick: the Jews offered 100,000 rubles for the gold left—in imitation of Nero’s Palace—interior Asiatic luxury—a chambre garnie d’ambre—everything in amber—lined with amber in squares—ranged in regular order—another in opaque glass—large columns of glass supporting the ceiling round—a cabinet—beautiful Flemish tables—a bridge upon the antique plan—a large piece of water appears to change its form according to the position of the spectator—the effect produced on account of two islands—beautiful islands—German colonists prosperous—prices quadrupled at Peters:—Pavlovsky residence of Paul—Legumes fallen in price—Chouxfleurs fallen in price—German colonists depress prices—Pavlovsky upon an eminence—ground trenched about—not so large as Czarskozelo—elevation, 60 feet. Storch’s work in 10 vols: 2 vols. in French. He obtained of Paul permission to procure all the documents he required—Answers to Catherine’s questions, 20 vols. in folio—Russ. population, 40,000,000—Crown peasants pay four rubles, et sont quittes de tout—Peasants registered—Paul gave freedom to peasants: they said they belonged to the empire and not to the emperor—this they understood—they were bayonetted and knouted—they acquired fortunes, and by this means lost them—Paul gave peasants to la derniere canaille—Paul gave peasants, sometimes to all the valets, sometimes to the secretaires—Paul gave D. of W. an equivalent instead of peasants.
“Academie of Sciences, best built buildings in Petersburg—Cherries eight rubles per 100—Mujiks present at the Academy of Sciences—Presentation to the Empresse—Dr Rogerson, there—Great Duchess of Mecklenburg.
“Madam Demidoff—great with Paul—disgraced—afterwards great with Empress—Paul had a daughter, par une blanchisseuse—Mademoiselle D. put to take care of her.
“Imperatrice much louée—she hid herself two days in the palace—suffered great inquietudes under Paul—1000 rubles spent by Russ. Marchands at their entertainments—French principally artists—Foreigners have no idea of permanently settling at Petersburg.
“Ministres adjoints no power—Divisions of departments ill-arranged—beaucoup de questions de competence—everything passes through the hands of the Minister of the Interior.
“Speranski profited by Dum: Principes—eulogizes it—d’une utilité prompte—tenth part of Petersburg in edifices publiques—police divided into ten parties—spies numerous; among them a Swede et deux Suisses—churches filled with saints of burlesque appearance—Russ docile—attached à la maison Imperiale—conspirations always commence among the nobles.
“Speranski ne croyait pas à la possibilité d’etablir la Politique en Russie. Point de bon traducteur en langue Russe—tutors expensive—two rubles per lesson—autres, five or seven. No chemists in Peters: Garnerin ascension drew few people. A. was presented to the Emp: and Empress, to let off. Madame G. fille publique de Paris—la femme qui aura le courage de monter au ciel sera, &c.—Madame G. talked familiarly with the Emp: and Empr—(Bons mots de Constantin.) Thirty thousand at a masquerade—four horses for a day thirty rubles during the masq:—do not cost so much for a month, in ordinary times. Conversation on a projected journal—Mercure de Frankfort—le meilleur modèle—Karamsin’s Journal—three to four thousand subscribers—40,000,000 habitans par dernier census—Princesse de Georgia brought à Peters: pour avoir assassiné un officier.—Ac. des Sci. much neglected—no professor pour montrer—point d’eleve.—T., professor at Dorpat, brought to the emperor un collier garni de fer—formerly in use, but not now.
“Bee: Secretary to Paoli—honest—amassed no money—neglected at present—employed under Speranski. M. Duval gave Recque the book—he said the best book he ever read—a puffer of it—bookseller at Peters:—got the book very early—six weeks after it was published.—Punishment of a Marchand Extranger employed in a characteristic punishment pour quelque friponnerie.
“Cronstadt une ville immense, with about 15,000 inhabitants—no carriages—passport lost.—Russian measure of value—number of peasants—Le revenu de l’etat est 100 millions—paper money about 200 millions. Produce of Custom-houses eight or nine millions—saving under Alexander, of Depenses du Cabinet, six hundred millions rubles. Paul gave 800,000 peasants, which had been affranchised.
“Corps of cadets costs 235 thousand rubles.
“Corps of noble young ladies costs 200 thousand rubles.
“Corps of pages costs 150 thousand rubles.
“I have heard that the Jesuit Grouber, then established at Moghilev, and the remarkable men of his order, had contributed to the defeat of the ambassador, Lord St H. On the first news of the project, he wrote to the Empress Catherine, that he had relations with the Jesuits of Pekin, and that if her Majesty had orders to give, he would communicate them to that country. His services were accepted, and he directed his colleagues to employ all their influence to counteract the English, and to represent them as ambitious people, always preparing, by conquests, to establish commercial comptoirs.
“The Empress has erected villages into towns, which confers freedom on the population. Paul reconstituted them again into villages; he did this with more than a hundred, and they became, in consequence, slaves of the Crown.
“Nothing easier than to obtain 18 per cent. for money on land. This is a resource for foreigners; but they cannot become proprietors; and so it must be, because what is sold is not lands but men.”
Dumont writes to Romilly from Petersburg, on 10th June, a letter from which a translated extract follows:—
Dumont to Romilly.
“Could you have believed that as many copies of my Bentham would have been sold in Petersburg as in London?
“A hundred copies have been disposed of in a very short time, and the booksellers are asking for a new supply. This has obtained for me a welcome from many persons, which I am turning to account. The work is admired, and the editor modestly takes his part of the admiration. But what has most surprised me, is the impression made by the definitions, classifications, and method, and by the absence of those declamations which had been so wearying to sound intellect.
“We have here a Livonian, M. de Rosenkampff, long the President of a Tribunal of Justice at Dorpat, and now employed, without a title, to collect all the ukases, that is to say, all the laws of the empire—to arrange them—to separate all that is incoherent or contradictory, and to prepare tables which he successively places before the emperor, for the emperor is in the habit of working on synoptical tables. This M. R., who is a great admirer of Bentham, with whom he was closeted for fifteen days in the country, hastened to see me on my arrival, and we have had many conversations together. He is somewhat superficial,—but he has information, and I think he might manage tolerably well the redaction with which he is charged, if he had the courage to make some sacrifice of self-love; the evil is, he is afraid of being called a plagiarist in employing clarification which he did not invent. Video meliora proboque deteriora sequor. There is a bureau of Legislation, and a great Signor at its head. It is from thence that ideas come—it is much if they arrive then.
“I do not know if you have met with M. Navasiliof in England. He was a friend of General Bentham. He enjoys the highest credit with the emperor, and a general public esteem. I had the pleasure of partaking of a very interesting dinner at his house. I met there Prince Adam Czartoriski, whom I had known at Bowood, where he had spent many days, and the young Count Strogonoff, whom I had also known at Geneva. One is minister (en second) for the interior, and the other for the exterior,—but these two seconds are in reality the firsts, as they enjoy intimate familiarity with the emperor. I cannot estimate them in matters with which I am unacquainted,—but this I know, that it would be difficult to find men occupying so high a position with so much simplicity, and so much instruction as they exhibit in miscellaneous conversation. They are now much occupied with their project of public instruction; a report is to be made in the form of a journal, to be published from time to time, when an account will be given of the various establishments, so that one may be compared with another, and the progress of each exhibited. This publicity—which is here a new idea—will do more for their success than any positive laws. It is to be hoped it will extend to other branches of the administration, and especially to procedure—for it is the tribunals which want it most,—but the organization must be reformed before it can be submitted to the public eye. If you knew what an advocate—or a man of law—is here, you would blush for the honour of the profession! I will speak of it in detail by and by. And the judges! In England you could have no notion of the state of things. I am persuaded that in ten years all will be much changed. This is one of the enjoyments that my journey to Russia has procured me. I know none greater than to watch a tranquil and wise progression in improvements of every sort.
“And since I have spoken of the emperor, let me tell you what will interest you more than any descriptions of the external splendour of the capital. I cannot mention the Prince without an emotion of pleasure. I shall not speak of the language of his admirers, or of those who approach the nearest to him. He is best praised by those who suppose they are censuring him,—now for his gentleness, ‘which pushes him too far’—now for his goodness, ‘which falls into extremes’—now for his economy, ‘which is opposed to the habits of the court,’ or ‘lowers the external majesty of the empire.’ I have heard no detraction more violent than this; and when facts are inquired into, I can discover none which show any excess in these two virtues. He has succeeded to a government, suspicious, arbitrary, and rigid, to say no more; to a government, prodigal without measure; luxurious,—and undermining its own foundations, to support its luxuriousness. The change, no doubt, has been somewhat abrupt; and you can fancy to what class of men these demi-censors and these demi-approvers belong,—for, after all, the censure is a half-approval. At first, there was an apprehension of too rapid a tendency towards emancipation, or liberation—a rapidity incompatible with the existing state of things—the springs of government too much loosened, after having been too much tightened: but now men see that the emperor is both prudent and patient,—that he both prepares and matures his plans. I will give you more detailed accounts of what is proposed to be done for public education, and for the editing of a General Code. I am able to obtain information as to the confederacies against improvement. But, in a word, there is no government more essentially well-disposed,—more occupied with the public weal, than this. It is not mere fireworks,—it is not a newspaper glory: if anything is wanting, it is the instruments for doing the good they are desirous to do. Men must be deterré, or created; and here is the true difficulty. It seems astonishing, at the first glance, that there should be so many establishments for public instruction, and so few instructed. In all the departments, it is necessary to employ strangers, which is a great evil,—but it is an inevitable evil.”
The letter which follows is endorsed by Bentham,—“1803, August. Dumont, Petersburg, to Romilly, London. Speranski’s disposition to apply to J.B. about Codification. Dissatisfied with Mackintosh’s answers to queries thereanent. Emp. Paul’s freaks. Other Russ. anecdotes:”
“I passed an evening with Speranski.* We were alone. He loves his country, and feels strongly that the reform of justice and of legislation is of all goods the chiefest good. They had addressed themselves to German jurists,—to an Englishman, (Mackintosh,) and were not satisfied with their correspondence. They were ignorant of their country, and in most of their writings there was nothing but old routine and Roman law. But since they have got hold of Bentham, they think they can brave all the others, and it is almost decided that he shall be directly consulted. I have been vaguely asked if I were willing to settle in Russia. I am quite decided upon this point; but I have told them, that if they addressed themselves to Bentham, he would probably occupy himself with the Civil Code; and if specific questions were sent to him, informing him of the local circumstances, he would answer. They seem to me disposed to enter into correspondence, and to make some arrangement with him. But I do not know what will come to pass.
“Puget, the tutor of the young Grand Dukes, was suddenly exiled 5000 versts into Siberia, at a time that he had not the least doubt of his security. He had but one hour’s notice to depart. He was ill-treated by the Courrier du Cabinet, the weather was very bad,—and he was compelled to travel day and night, though in an open carriage. The courier, by way of consolation, told him he would probably receive the knout when arrived at his journey’s end. What was most alarming, was the uncertainty of his fate, for he was himself the bearer of the order specially addressed to the governor of the place to which he was sent. P. resigned himself to his fate; but what gave him the greatest pain, was the apprehension of the knout. Arrived at his destination, after travelling six weeks, he found himself in a fort, in the governor’s house, who received him with humanity; and, upon being asked, gave him wherewithal to eat and drink, and asked him, ‘What and who he was?’ ‘A Swiss.’ ‘In what service?’ ‘The Emperor’s.’ ‘I do not recollect having seen you at the palace. At what door were you?’ ‘I was at no door.’ ‘But did not you tell me that you were a Swiss?’ ‘I am a Swiss by birth, but not by profession.’ And both of them enjoyed the equivoque. ‘What did you, then?’ ‘I had the honour of being tutor to the young dukes.’ ‘Oh, the devil! sit you down, then, my good Sir. I will now read his majesty’s order.’ He broke the seal, and examined it attentively: Pnget did not remain long in suspense. The order was contained in ten words:—‘Receive the Swiss, Puget, courteously, and watch his correspondence carefully.’ Immediately the commander invited him to dinner, made him offers of service: he proposed to him to choose his apartment; and le Courrier du Cabinet, witness of all this without comprehending what was said, the conversation being in French, threw himself at the feet of Puget to beg pardon, and exhibited a thousand and a thousand meannesses. Puget said he would not prefer any complaint against him, and exhorted him to behave with greater humanity in the event of his having other unfortunates to accompany. After dinner, the governor of the fort went to consult the governor of the city, and to communicate to him the singular order of the emperor. If this man is guilty, said he, how happens it that the emperor orders us to receive him with courtesy: and, if innocent, why does he exile him? You may be certain, said he, that it is a spy whom they send under the name of a prisoner; and when he has made himself acquainted with everything, he will be summoned back again.
“Puget availed himself of this disposition of the commandant and the governor, who treated him with distinction, and left him all possible liberty.
“After a two months’ residence here, he actually received an order of recall: his innocence was established. Paul had suspected him of keeping up a correspondence with De la Harpe in Switzerland; but, on his return, he received many marks of favour and liberality. He was appointed, shortly after, tutor to the Grand Duke: this proves, at least, that these are not days in which it is thought necessary to find an Aristotle or a D’Alembert to instruct those who are to govern empires. This man is a good fellow, who understands orthography: but I cannot say so much of him as to the French language.
“I have seen M. Parrot, Professor of Law at the University of Dorpat. During the passage of the emperor, he congratulated him, among other things, on the dispositions he had shown to relieve that great portion of his people, (the Liconian,) who had been hitherto forgotten. I find that, on his journey to Petersburg, he brought to the emperor one of those collars with iron points, which a Livonian proprietor had made for one of his peasants. The enemies of Parrot told the emperor that these collars were formerly employed, but had ceased to be for a long time; and that it was a calumny against the nobility of the country to produce instruments covered with dust. But Parrot persisted that the collar was new, and he has been able to produce the smith who made it.”
The following are loose memoranda of Dumont:—
“A tax of 5 per cent. upon affranchisement.—Roz affranchised 600 peasants, and the emperor thanked him by a letter in the Gazette,—this is said to be a prank to oblige the lords to allow, for a certain sum, every peasant to purchase his liberty.—Strogonoff immensely in debt,—generally beloved,—immense territories in Siberia,—badly looked on by Paul,—disgraced by Paul,—abandoned by everybody,—shammed ill, and excited the pity of Paul, and was restored to favour.—72,000 and odd ukases, mostly repetitions.—Laws renewed at the commencement of each reign.—No private libraries.—Russian artists despised by Russians.—Engravers despised in Russia as in England.—No chemists,—disburse 2,000,000 rubles to establish colleges.—Biberodko—Gallery of pictures rich,—difficult to procure admission,—his father, under-secretary to Cath.,—became immensely rich.
“Paper-money 200,000,000. Half in Pets. Letters of exchange confined to Moscow and Petersburg. Want of paper.—Nobles ruined by not visiting their estates,—by visiting they might quadruple their revenue,—they might be made to yield 18 per cent.—Paul gave 1,800,000 peasants.—Crown peasants treated but indifferently. Emp. not suffer to make proselytes to Catholicism by priests.—Grouber prevented the success of Lord M.’s [Macartney’s] embassy, by means of his intrigues with the Jesuits,—told them English neverestablish a factory but to convert it into a fortress.—Under Paul, better soldiers and officers,—better justice,—duties better fulfilled.—Under Catherine trop de douceur. P. never examined, never heard, but punished.—Revolution Française, alarmed Catherine, and made an impression on Paul, and caused his severities. P. walked alone in the street,—he observed the hats, cravats, &c., and if he found anything wrong they were sent to prison and examined.—An Englishman met the emperor,—haton,—he was well mounted,—galloped away,—was followed by the emperor, and escaped.—Proclamation for apprehension,—got into a friend’s house,—great rewards,—ultimately escaped. People were like statues upon the appearance of Paul.—This was to prevent crowds round him.—No mobs.—Polite enough to invite ladies to remain in their carriages.—If they did not,—coachman beat,—master sent to prison.—Round hats avoided,—attributed first to Police,—afterwards found to be Paul’s whim.—At first more ridicule than rigour.—No interval between suspicion and exile.—He shed no blood.—He did not conceal his acts,—more sanguinary in the end.—Ros[enkampff] says procureurs do everything: parties do not appear; everything secret. A ring bought, described to be stolen, and the buyer punished by paying three times its value, without being examined,—without returning the ring,—matter pleased the empress much,—and the emperor,—quite the amusement at court.—Under Cath. Ros: grand cajoleur de son metier. Tattle made for emperor. Klinger preaches atheism to the corps of cadets,—introduces semi-reform economy.—750 élèves du corps des cadebts.—Noblesse Russe poorest in the world.—250 mathematicians in corps des cadebts,—names of élèves published when they distinguish themselves,—punishment,—confinement and double tasks.—In Catherine’s time whipped publicly,—forty-five sent into Italy,—ten returned.—Women in the town get drunk and whipped by their husbands’ order in the presence of the police—200,000 rubles establishment de demoiselles nobles—Russian no ideas of religion—Priests without property or understanding—Paul persecuted a particular sect—Constantine wrote for —. D— said he expected the empress, and he was glad she would know his visiters. Galitzin dines with Dr Grieve—First minister will dine with any merchant. Titre de noblesse to an etranger. Casadovloff a senator—examined the cases of 300 exiles in Siberia—sentences of some reversed by emperor, and pensions granted—this not to be published—Dam: pleaded for its being published, but in vain—accounts extremely complicated—cause, the multiplicity of offices, everything sadly confused.”
Another letter from Dumont to Romilly, dated 5th August, 1803, has this passage:—
“Bentham’s work is recognised as superior to everything that has preceded it: they had been in correspondence with the jurists of different countries: they were by no means satisfied with their letters. But Bentham presents the two great desiderata, classification and principles. A translation is ordered: it will be done with much care, and even magnificence. They are waiting for what is to follow on Judicial Establishments. I have much to say to Bentham: I shall pursue my work with doubled ardour, as I already see the fruit of my labours. The Empress Dowager said she had been informed I was the editor of a book she had heard much praised, and requested I might be presented to her: so I went to Pavlousky—she spoke to me in the most obliging manner, and inquired why I would not settle in Petersburg?”
Dr Parr to Bentham.
“23d September, 1803.
“My excellent Friend,—
The symptoms of my disorder were paralytic. I have, by the advice of my physicians, been rambling from one place to another, and though not well, I am considerably recovered. I was in Leicestershire when your letter arrived at Hatton. It has been forwarded to me, and I hasten to send you a short answer. I congratulate you on the extended and deserved fame of your inimitable work on Legislation. I readily admit the representation you give of your own prowess and ardour in gallantry. I disclaim all imputations of compulsion to obtain a letter to you from Mrs Wynne—her own admirable good sense suggested all she said to you—and among female critics, there is no one on whose praise you ought to set a higher value. What Mr Romilly told you is true—more is true which he has not told you, and which increases the absurdity.
“I am sorry you did not see Symonds,* for he is a profound scholar, and a most sagacious and conversable man. Well, I shall now tell you my movements and my wishes, or rather my commands.
“I am engaged in a most arduous, most interesting, and most important work of friendship, to an old, worthy, injured, and oppressed pupil. It is an Herculean labour; yet my patience, strength, and fortitude are equal to its difficulties and its merits. I return to Hatton for a few days, and then, by appointment, I must go into Northamptonshire. I shall be at home on the 19th, for it is a Fast—now, on the 19th October, or any day after it, I must insist on seeing you at Hatton. Two roads from Birmingham to Warwick go through my village; the distance is equal in both. I am seventeen miles from Birmingham—come to me,—I entreat you to come. I hope yet to be in better spirits, and better health than I now am.
“God bless you; remember me to your faithful and sensible auxiliary, Mr Koe.—I am, dear Sir, with very great respect, and very sincere regard, your friend and obedient servant.
“I am, at this moment, annoyed with numberless vexations: come, come!”
Bentham to Dr Parr.
“17th October, 1803.
“Marche route of the Queen Square Place Volunteers.—Set off on Tuesday—reach Birmingham on Wednesday evening.—On Thursday evening or Friday morning, retreat to Hatton. There storm the vicarage, giving no quarter—after committing ravages indescribable, evacuate the place on Sunday morning early—continuing the treat to Oxford. Take up quarters there, Monday, and possibly Tuesday.
“None of your Alcandrumque Haliumque, Noëmonaque Prytanimque, under the notion of helping to désennuyer the travellers; for what is it that we go forth for to see? Answer.—Parr, and Parr only; a reed lately shaken by the wind, but now, we hope, stout and strong again. Time, according to my estimation, not by a great deal enough for that; but more at present cannot be found.
“Stay the hand of the Vicar’s wife, and say unto her—Slay no fatted claves—the elder hath outlived that branch of the lusts of the flesh, not to speak of others. The younger? he hath never known it—Step not, even although it be but a span’s length, out of the path to which thou art accustomed; and remember we are Rechabites. Is it not written,
Ουαι τϱυφης παϱα ςοι χϱηϛομαι αλλα μονης.
Not improbably, a boy sent to me by Mr Strutt at Derby, from a place of his brother’s called Belper, six miles from thence—boy’s name unknown—age about twelve—may inquire for me at the Parsonage, either Friday or Saturday.
“Should death have disposed of me in the meantime, pay the boy his expenses thither and back again, I pray thee, opening the letter he will possibly have for me, and bring your action against my executors and administrators.”
“Your friend Homer, in his quality of vates sacer, added to his gift of poetry, a spice of the gift of prophecy. One proof of it is, that, foreseeing the provocation you would one day give me, he provided me with so apposite a nom de guerre to belabour you with. As for my name, if it be not in the Iliad, like yours, totidem verbis, it will be found there totidem literis, which, in these cases, (you know,) is quite sufficient. Have at you, then, once more, Ω Δυσπαϱι!!! There you have it again, up to your very gizzard!
“When as the prophecied, by the prophecied—Oh, thou false prophet! by thee prophecied—5th of January approached, Herbert [Koe] and I began counting the hours. Phœbus’s horns had scarce reached their first bating place, when I detached him (not Phœbus, but Herbert) in quest of you to the fatal place, the Carian Street,—to the campos ubi Troja fuit,—from whence he brought me, alas!—(the alas! should have come earlier: pray, put it in the proper place)—the beggarly account of empty boxes! When a disappointment falls on me,—to spite it, in return for its spiting me,—I endeavour to laugh it off as well as I can. So accordingly I did, and by these presents do, by this: but, in serious and sober sadness, it was a grievous one. Ask Herbert else, when the next fatalisdies comes (the 5th of May, is it not?)—ask him, who, being the younger, should, according to the old rule, be the honester of the two—or rather, clap your own sacerdotal hand to your own sacerdotal gizzard, and ask that.
“Nor yet art thou the only slippery card, on which it has pleased the vates to exercise his prophetic talent. In a cover, franked by my old friend Phil. Metcalf, (one of Sam Johnson’s executors,) I sent to Hatton, as per order of your reverence, in usum του Φοξου. two months ago, Citizen Dumont’s letters. In all this time, Romilly has neither received nor heard of them: a fortnight, I think, or thereabouts, was the time indicated. He has sent Mercury to me express upon this single subject; and it is under the spur of the god that I write this to you. C. Fox, if Fame is to be believed, has a turn, or head as men say, for forgetting things,—at least such little things; and this is what his friend Homer made known to the world, though it has never been found out till now, (for the best prophet, I need not tell you, is nothing without a good interpreter,) in the line which beginneth, Φοξος [Editor: illegible character] εφαλην, which was what the old man in the Spectator had in view, when, shaking his own head, he cried out to his son, ‘Ah, Jack, Jack, thou hast a head, and so has a pin.’ How clear an insight must the bard have had into futurity, when the two most illustrious characters of the present age could thus be designated even by their very names! No contortions, no translations necessary:—not Ισος, but Παϱις; and in the case of a spot in the sun, Δυσπαϱις:—not Αλωπηξ, but Φοξος. The name of Φοξος, in particular, is become so familiar to him, as to have passed already, you see, into a proverb. How deplorable the hallucinations of the scholiasts and lexicographers, who have mistaken the proper name for an adjective, and imagined a physical noun to affix to it. If the case were among those in which error finds an excuse in invincibility, they might perhaps take the benefit of it,—such of them, I mean, whose respective flourishing times have been anterior to the present age,—for nothing less than a prophetic view of the subject could have set them right; and well they might plead, that the spirit of prophecy never descended upon them. But I am in your reverence’s judgment, whether in a case of prophecy, and errors thereupon assigned, invincibility be a plea pleadable.
“This puts me in mind of a system, which, like the Alliance and the Divine Legation, had a considerable run when it first came out; but which, notwithstanding the ingenuity of it, and the high reputation of the author, was never made out in such a manner as to exhibit itself clear of all objections to my weak eyes. I mean Dean Swift’s hypothesis about the derivation of the Greek from the English language: a proposition which, after all the proofs that were collected in support of it, did not appear to me to be established upon any more solid grounds, than Dr Vincent’s hypothesis about the Greek verb—‘Alexander the Great’ not being deducible from ‘All eggs under the Grate,’ or even ‘Archimedes’ from ‘Hark ye maids,’ (and so of the rest,) without considerable violence to language; not to speak of the chronological difficulties, which, to my satisfaction, were never thoroughly cleared up.
“Compare that hypothesis with—I will not say the hypothesis, for it is a matter of simple observation; I claim no merit in it—the Homeric prophecy. Look at it, you find it all broad daylight: not mere etymology, but actual orthoëpy;—and as for chronological difficulties, here, ex natura rei, they have no place.
“Dispel your fears, my friend: my inspiration has at length run itself out of breath. Should it find you incredulous, (we are neither of us intolerant,) fear not from me either excommunication or prœmunire. The worst punishment I would inflict upon you, had I Pandora’s box, with its whole contents, under my arm, would be, imprisonment from the hour of five to eleven in Queen Square Place.”
In a letter from General Sabloukoff to General Bentham, he says:—
“February 5, 1804.
“I can hardly wean myself away from Dumont’s Principes, even to write to you. Your brother’s book satisfies alike the soul, the heart, and the mind. It fills the soul with peace, the heart with virtue, and dissipates the mists of the mind. I am so strange a fellow, that I must have an element of my own, and I have found it in Bentham’s writings. Russian as I am, my instinct will not let me rest; and I desire for my country the possession of those truths which the beneficent genius of Bentham has created for the whole human race.
“Russia wants laws. It is not only Alexander the First who desires to give her a Code—Russia herself demands one. We Russians have seen the growth of the French Revolution—the despotism to which it led, and from which they have lately been delivered; but we must have a Code—a Code which will preserve to government the necessary energy for governing in justice this vast country, composed of varied nations—all of them conquered—but which paralyze it for injustice too. Let Jeremy Bentham prepare it!
“I do not know him—but I say to myself, ‘If he die without having dictated a Code, he will be ungrateful to that Creator who gave him his intellectual powers.’ And then I ask, ‘May not my country possess it?’ But how? It must come from the throne to the subject, or be presented by subjects to the throne. But as the sovereign is as much interested in giving, as the people are anxious to receive it, whenever that Code shall be ready, there will be little difficulty in deciding who shall be the giver, and who the receiver. Let it only be ready. Let it be translated into Russian. All that I can do shall be done.”
Bentham to Dumont.
“Q. S. P., 22d March, 1804.
“My dear Dumont,—
As to the papers being inserted in the Russian edition of Dumont, you are certainly in the right. It would be quite a hors d’œuvre. But I thought your wish was to make them a present of something which might form a separate work, though a small one. If what appeared to you parodoxes, are either erroneous or insufficiently supported, that is a sufficient reason for not sending them. As to further elucidations, you will agree with me that it would be ‘Diamoniacal’ policy to quit a work almost finished for another little more than begun.
“I had been working at, and thought to have finished, a concise view of the influence of money in the increase of wealth, as a specimen of the ‘Prœcognita,’ preparatory to the practical part—the Agenda and Non Agenda.* But, just now, I have got returned from Trail my Thornton and your Wheatley; and I see few ideas in my papers that are not to be found somewhere or other in their books. What I could hope to do would be little more than substituting method to chaos, and keeping clear of contradictions, which are to be found in both, but more particularly in Wheatley, who, immediately after recognising (from Thornton) the mischiefs of a too contracted circulation, and adding, (and truly,) I believe from himself, that they would be worse than those of a too enlarged circulation, comes plump to the conclusion that all country paper ought to be prohibited by an operation nearly, if not altogether instantaneous. The moral is—that I should go quietly back to Evidence, of which already I have left scarce the smallest corner altogether unexplored, after discovering a multitude of odd corners in it which no lawyer ever noticed. Were I to die immediately, the loss would not be great to Evidence: if half a year ago, quitte amour propre, the case would have been different.
“Keeping what I have written on the subject of the influence of money on the production of wealth, I send you the chapter on Method, which was what you had proposed to, and for insertion without the leading features. You will find some little additions to it, which you will do with, collectively and severally, as you please. Many thanks to Lord Henry [Petty] for his ‘Report:’ I was much edified and interested by it. Sierra Leone has always been an exception to my anathema against Colonies.”
Bentham to Sir R. P. Carew.
“Queen Square Place,
Mr Colquhoun, t’other day, having put into my hands the papers communicated by him to your office, in relation to the Bill for the Suspension of the Army of Reserve, the use I observed therein made of a favourite and long ago entertained, digested, and even communicated idea of my own, not only for the prevention of desertion, but for abundance of other uses—I mean personal identification marks—suggested the following queries:—1st. Might it not be easier, by consent, altogether voluntary, (viz. among the conditions of enlistment, at the receipt of the bounty money,) and consequently without Parliamentary cognizance and debate, to apply the security to all recruits enlisting in future, than by converting it into a stigma, to confine it to the case of deserters only, on whose persons, the ordinary punishment of whipping, produces equivalent effect, though probably not thought of by those who instituted it. The name, with some other identifying particulars, (a symbol of honour might be of the number,) might form an ornamental bracelet above or below the elbow.
“2nd. At present, spontaneously inflicted marks of this sort, are said to be so common among the seamen, that it is perhaps easier to find one who is furnished with such a mark, than one who is free from it. In those instances, how variously soever diversified the marks may be, and how far soever the man may be from having in contemplation any such act, yet can it be otherwise than that these means of identification operate as a restraint upon desertion with very considerable efficacy?
Were a signalment of this kind once established in the character of a mark of infamy is it not to be apprehended that the above-mentioned custom of self-marking would cease? And in that event, would not the gain of this sort of security in the instance of a thousand or two convicted deserters (and who already wear the like security though in another shape) be very dearly paid for, by the loss of it in the instance of perhaps fifty thousand seamen in the king’s service, not to mention those in the merchant service, and even of other classes?
“I will not, on the present occasion, attempt to trouble you with a detail of the prodigiously diversified, as well as important and useful applications capable of being made of this species of security for good behaviour, in proportion to the extent which could be given to it. A variety of offences might by means of it be rendered altogether impracticable; many more encompassed with additional and palpable danger, and thereby checked—and punishments mitigated without prejudice to their efficacy. The security of imprisonment might be increased, and, at the same time, the rigour of it abated, &c. &c.
“In Panopticon, it was a sheet-anchor: my plan was, by all imaginable and lawful means (rather than fail—of which I had little apprehension—I would almost have hazarded unlawful ones) to get the prisoners to submit to it, as part of the uniform of the establishment; and to prevent its being considered as a punishment, or a hardship, I intended to have set the example in my own person, and, if possible, in those of my subordinates. I mentioned it at the time to Sir Evan Nepean, who was struck with it, and seemed to come into it heartily. I believe, he himself, as a seaman, had been used to think of it in some such view; but, for my part, I had applied it upon paper, to the whole catalogue of offences committed and committable. The present generation, I fear, I should rather say, I am certain, is not yet ripe for giving it the extent of which it is susceptible, nor of deriving a tenth-part of the advantage that might be derived from it. Real public spirit is so rare—horror of singularity, to any useful purpose, so general, that there is not, perhaps, one man in a thousand to whom any degree of public utility would afford sufficient compensation for the depriving himself of so good a pretence for setting up, or joining in a horse-laugh. I have, therefore, for these twenty, or twenty-five or thirty years, kept myself from saying of it in print, what otherwise I should have said of it. I should not, even now, have thought it worth while to sacrifice the hour I have been bestowing upon it, had it not been for the alarm of seeing my panacea spoilt forever, by what appeared to me an injudicious application of it.
“In a very short conversation I have had with Mr Colquhoun, I threw out a few hints to the above effect, and he did not appear to disagree with me. Excuse once more this trouble, which, with great reluctance I have prevailed on myself to give you. Give me credit for substituting a legible hand for the illegible one you sometimes complained of, and believe me ever,” &c. &c.
Bentham to J. Mulford.
“My dear Doctor,—
I don’t know whether your letters and newspapers come often enough to have informed you that it is all over with your brother Doctor* and Co. at the Treasury: their inability to continue to prescribe for the body politic, having been confessed by them in both Houses on Monday. The king was to have sent for Pitt yesterday, or the day before, to make up a new Ministry, but did not. If he had, Pitt was to have sent an offer to Fox on the same subject. This not having been done, things are consequently in great confusion; and, if not done before, Fox is to make a motion in the House to-morrow. The wonder is not great: I have it on the present occasion from ‘near observers,’ that on all changes of administration—even those which have happened when his majesty has been in full health—he has been prodigiously agitated: so much so, as to have gone without food for two or three days. At present, I understand from equally good authority, that on Saturday and Sunday, there was a visible relapse into insanity, (though nothing said of it, I believe, in the newspapers;) and, moreover, that should he recover his soundness of mind, the body is manifestly and irrevocably broke.”
Dumont makes these remarks in a letter to Bentham on the article in the Edinburgh Review on Bentham’s writings:—
“Romilly tells me, after having seen somebody who has read the article in the Edinburgh Review, that the book—the book of books—has been treated there with scandalous irreverence; and for the rest, after having been well chastised, well pulled up, well humiliated for our faults and our errors, we shall have the advantage of being thoroughly instructed in matters of legislation, since these gentlemen—dissatisfied as they are with us—will, doubtlessly, teach us to do better. I am charmed that the lessons of these young people have come in time to prevent me from continuing my follies. I only just wait to read what they say, before I throw all your MSS. into the fire. What remains of life will be tranquil. Hallelujah! I shall have nothing to do!”
Dumont gives to Bentham (August 9, 1804) this description of Harrowgate:—
“The water here strengthens the appetite, but weakens the digestion. The place has few attractions, though there are some agreeable walks in the neighbourhood. Knaresborough is in a very picturesque situation—the whole valley is charming. The dripping well is very singular—it is an abutment of the rock, whence falls a perpetual rain of petrifying water, which the curiosity of the inhabitants employs for petrifying nests, hats, wigs, &c. A wig is petrified in a year. The ordinary manner of life here is, to take up your abode at an inn, where there are tables for sixty, eighty, or one hundred persons. When one of the inns gives a ball, the custom is to send a general invitation to the other inns. Thus, ‘the ladies and gentlemen of the Dragon request the ladies and gentlemen of the Marquis of Granby, to do them the honour,’ &c. The prices are moderate. At the best, it only costs six shillings a day for breakfast, dinner, supper, and a luncheon whenever you please; and the tables are abundantly supplied. Three shillings for the servants.”
Dr Parr to Bentham.
“August 26, 1804.
I enclose you an extract from a letter which Mr Fox wrote from Chertsey, and which reached me this morning at Cambridge. Depend upon my exertions to recover the papers. I am exceedingly sorry that my daughters, during their short stay in London, were unable to visit one of the wisest and best of human beings in his charming retreat. Mr Fox writes thus—‘What a vexatious thing was the termination of the Middlesex election! However, without being an extravagant optimist, one may hope that it will turn out for the best, and help to raise some spirit.’ ”
In a letter to Dumont from Speranski, dated October 10, 1804, this passage occurs:—
“We are very glad to have the addition respecting Political Economy; for, by the extent of its views, the clearness and precision of its classifications, and the systematic character of its arrangements, it is eminently valuable. The desires which Necker expressed to you would have been fully answered had he seen this chapter. For nothing is more true than your observation as to a want of system in this part of our knowledge. Adam Smith has furnished us with inestimable materials. But, as he was more occupied in proving and deducing from experience the truths he established, he did not think of making a corps de doctrine out of them. The more closely he is examined the more obvious is the want of method; but those who have come forward to supply it have thought they accomplished the end by omitting some details—shortening some digressions, and giving another arrangement to his materials: so true it is, that among so many workmen, the architect is wanting. I believe that in following the plan of Mr Bentham, Political Economy would occupy a position much more natural, more easily to be studied, and more scientific. You may thus judge the value I attach to the promised work.
“The specimens of Bentham’s work, which have been printed in the Journal de St Petersbourg, have been most warmly welcomed.”
Rev. John North to Bentham.
“Ashdon, 22d October, 1804.
“By a Linton wagon I shall send you, in a few days, a parcel of perennials, and a few shrubs, &c., according to my engagement when I had the pleasure of seeing you here: happy if you will permit me to add my mite, in order to adorn the spot inhabited formerly by a great poet, as now by a great legislator. Happy if they should thrive in the place, and ever and anon remind you of anything that was pleasant in your abode at Ashdon. If Mr Koe should consider this Envoi as a Praxis Botanica for him during the next summer, and should be able to assign to each of them their Linnean names, I shall take the liberty of proclaiming to the universe, that he is a systematic botanist of no inferior note. For my own part, if I had affixed a label upon each of them, I should have been tempted to make use of an inscription only—vivite memores nostri.
“I have lately had a letter from our Dumont: he makes his approaches to us with all the solemnity of an emperor of former times—from Harrowgate he journeyeth to Bowood—from Bowood he journeyeth to London—and there he breathes a few days: when he will proceed to Ashdon, his imperial majesty saith not. When you get him within the magic circle of your study—amidst all the scoldings wherewith you will scold him, pray you, my good Sir, do not forget to scold him for leaving me, during so many months, without any Benthamic food whatsoever.”
Dr Parr to Bentham.
“December 23, 1804.
“I do hereby promise, in my own name, and in the name of our holy mother the Church, to return faithfully into the hands of Jeremiah Bentham, Esq., a certain red tea-canister, with the key appertaining thereunto, which he left at Hatton parsonage, ad 1803—as witnesseth my hand this 20th day of December, 1804.
“And now, dear Sir, you may confidently summon Mr Koe, and pronounce exultingly, populus quod clamat Osiri invento, Ἑυϱήϰαμεν, συγχαίϱωμεν; with all due attention to your taste as a tea-drinker, and your whims as an old bachelor, Mrs Parr seized and preserved the precious relique. Accept my best thanks for the valuable present of wine, and the wily manner in which you assign your reasons for giving it to me.
“ ‘Porcis hodie comedenda relinques,’ was the common language of a donor in old Horace. But you are more courteous, more friendly; and you give what is more acceptable to an orthodox divine. I shall never forget the age, and raciness, and transparency, of the delicious beverage—and I fortify myself with Pindar’s authority.
“—Your wine makes me obedient to the first part of the precept, and I wish our contemporary poets would give me an opportunity to comply with the second. Your present comes, too, auspiciously and seasonably, for my ζεὺς ϰτήσιος, has lately been on the point of slumbering. Yesterday morning I dismissed three of my servants for naughty attempts to break open the cellar-door; and surely they were induced with what Cicero calls the robustior improbitas, in practising their tricks on a spot which, in particular, has long been watched by the angry ghost of my reverend predecessor, Parson Nelson. The culprits acknowledged their belief in the spectre, but denied their guilt. In vain did I threaten to employ all the powers of ancient divination:—νεϰϱομανσεια, ἀξινομαντεια, ἀλεϰτϱυομαντεια ϰεφαλονομαντεια ϰ. τ. λ. And luckily I could have used the last-mentioned spell with peculiar force; for I lately bought a jackass, and had only to cut off his head, and broil it on the coals, and observe whether the teeth chattered, or the jaws moved, while I called over the names of the suspected. I shall welcome your caskets; and I applaud you for shunning the ill-omened dozen. I meant to be in London by the 20th December, in order to attend a meeting for the relief of decayed schoolmasters, where the Bishop of Gloucester, the Dean of Westminster, and I, are stewards for this year. But I, last Monday, sent an apology; and you will not see me before May—and in May, I must say a few words on the question of utility. I shall mention you in the pulpit by name—nothing shall protect you—fear nothing, for you will find me not very distant from you in principle; and I shall have occasion to commend the correct and logical way in which you state your opinions. Not so doth Godwin and his French followers.
“You have used, and I have used after you, the word religionist, as opposed to the mere moralist. I am censured for innovation,—and the censure equally falls upon you. As the habits of thinking and writing, in our day, require the word, in the sense we assign to it, I see no reason why we should be ashamed of supplying it. But I think that I have seen it so used elsewhere; and if you have any [English] example, pray tell me. Smith, and Brown in his answer to Shaftesbury, use it in the opprobrious sense of religious warmth. I will give orders at the Black Swan, and when the wine arrives I will tell you. I have lately been visited by a learned bishop; and as he is a very inobtrusive, enlightened, tolerant prelate, I wish you had been here, and you should have had his benediction, and you could not have incurred my anathemas. I shall set a mark on all the corks, that my friends and I may drink to your health. I have been revising some epitaphs, intended for a tablet, which the Birmingham Dissenters are going to put up, in memory of Dr Priestley. I was pleased with three, but have written a fourth, and I believe that my clerical brethren will not be very much dissatisfied. My great object was, to avoid all Sectarian, Unitarian, Democratical jargon. Pray desire Koe to get me a copy of the inscription upon Lord Mansfield, from Westminster Abbey, and I will send you, as soon as I can, the epitaph on Dr Warton—it will soon be transmitted to me. Now, friend Jeremiah, what bribe would you offer me for my Latin inscription upon Burke? It is the best I ever wrote; and, one or other of these days, Mr Koe will filch it from my lips. I have been reading old Latin writers on metre, and puzzling my pate with bad readings and lame verses in Terentianus Maurus, but not to the neglect of better things—ethical and ontological. Well, is there a king?—is there a parliament?—is there a ministry?—is there a war?—take away taxes, and I shall be a sceptic upon all these points.
“Remember me kindly to Mr Koe, and believe me, with very great and very sincere respect and regard, dear Sir, your friend and obedient servant.”
A friend and favourite of Bentham, writes to him:—
“February 17, 1805.
“To speak again of my far less worthy self, I am come over to turn dealer in human flesh—in other words, recruiting officer; and my business is to raise fifteen men for the —, in consideration of which, I am to be transferred to that regiment from the Infantry. By this, I gain nothing in rank, but my then commission will be double the value of my present one. Would Panopticon were established—the wish is both patriotic and selfish; for then I would endeavour to coax you out of that number of your incorrigibles, who might do well enough for soldiers, though mere drones in your industrious hive;—so far selfish—now for patriotic: Let all who have compared it with the present system of transportation and dock-yard labour, decide—I am now, then, stationed at —, with a small party of dragoons, for the purpose of persuading honest labourers and mechanics, to sell their liberty for thirteen pounds eight shillings, and quit their ploughs, their looms, and their anvils, for the sword and musket. Much to the credit of their intellects, though sorely to my own mortification, I have not yet had eloquence enough to induce any one to make the exchange—in vain my men are dressed out in all their military finery—in vain bunches of different coloured ribbons are fixed around their helmets—in vain my printed bills invite them to fight for their king, and live the life of heroes; the villagers seem invincibly attached to their rags, their hobnails, and their obscurity. They have not a spark of ambition in their souls; and, if I must speak my real sentiments, they are in the right. What would they gain?—not honour—that is monopolized by the General in a larger proportion even than the prize-money. Wounds then—and an old age of poverty and distress; for, as to Chelsea Hospital, I should suppose it cannot by any means provide for all the claimants on the gratitude of the country.”
Dr Parr to Bentham.
“26th February, 1805.
At a very sudden and unexpected warning, Somebody set off from a Warwickshire parsonage. He has been in town rather more than a week—he is lame, and out of health and spirits, and in a few days he must make his escape. He has twice seen Mr Dumont, and on Saturday morning he stept from carriage into Queen Square Place. Three times he gave three stout raps at your door—he waited five minutes and more, but in vain. He cannot call again, and is so teazed with lawyers, &c., that he will not permit you to sally out. He has preserved your precious teachest, and will deliver it to you in May next. He desires to be most kindly remembered to Mr Koe.—He is, with the greatest and most sincere respect, your friend,
“To Jeremy Bentham, at the deserted house.”
I find among Bentham’s papers, of this period, the following curious letter of George the Third to the Bishop of Worcester, Dr Hurd:—
“My dear good Bishop,—
It has been thought, by some of my friends, that it will be necessary for me to remove my family. Should I be under so painful a necessity, I know not where I could place them with so much satisfaction to myself, and, under Providence, with so much security, as with yourself and my friends at Worcester. It does not appear to me probable that there will be any occasion for it; for I do not think that the unhappy man who threatens us will dare to venture himself among us; neither do I wish you to make any preparation for us; but I thought it right to give you this intimation. I remain, my dear good Bishop,
Dumont thus announces the death of Lord Lansdowne, which took place on the 7th May, 1805:—
“There is no longer any information to be asked. The last event took place this morning at six o’clock. The two last days have been passed in a state of exhaustion or insensibility.”
Admiral Modvinoff writes to General Bentham:—
“Petersburg, 5-17th May, 1806.
“I long to settle in England, and, settling there, to be acquainted with your brother. He is, in my eyes, one of the four geniuses who have done, and will do most for the happiness of the human race—Bacon, Newton, Smith, and Bentham: each the founder of a new science: each a creator. I am laying up a certain sum for the purpose of spreading the light which emanates from the writings of Bentham.”
The letter which follows explains itself. It is the answer to a proposal of marriage made by Bentham to a lady for whom he felt an affection, which lingered in his spirit to the very end of his days. Of that lady I have often heard him speak with tears in his eyes; and in illustrating a later period of his life, when he made me the confidant of his “love passages,” I shall have to record more of his reminiscences on the subject. Even in his playfulness, the introduction of her name, or any circumstance connected with her name, would overpower him with melancholy. That name need not now be divulged, though there is nothing in the correspondence but what is highly honourable to the writer:—
“October 10, 1805.
“You do us but justice in believing that the renewal of friendly intercourse, after the lapse of so many years, afforded us the sincerest pleasure,—so great a pleasure indeed, that I am afraid the wish for its continuance (aided by an apprehension, on my part, of yielding to what, for aught I knew, might be the suggestion of an extravagant female vanity) has misled our judgments, and caused a pang that I would have given the world to spare you—for we can never meet but as friends; but this I did think, that, after a separation of sixteen years, we might have done with comfort and satisfaction to us both. Alas! I have been painfully, to myself as well as to you, mistaken; and I really never shall forgive myself, unless you acquit me of the least intended disturbance to your peace—unless you acknowledge that your own caution or your nervousness might naturally have led me to form that conclusion which was most agreeable to my wishes, as it flattered my hope of seeing you, and living henceforward in habits of intimacy with you. This was foolish—I ought to have known you better; and had dear Mrs—been within reach, she ‘who looks before and after,’ and quite into the hearts of men, would have been more clear-sighted. She never was cruel, but for a kind purpose; and we should have done better had we followed her example. Dear — — once compared me to a cat playing with a mouse. I was hurt and vexed at the reproach; though my conscience acquitted me then, as it does now, of ever designing to give pain to any human being, much less to one whom I did, and ever shall respect and esteem, and gratefully remember. Yet I am more vexed now, because I think appearances are more against me. It is in your power, however, to make me easy, if you will instantly, without the waste of a single day, return to those occupations from which the world will hereafter derive benefit, and yourself renown. I have enough to answer for already, in having interrupted your tranquillity, (God knows how unintentionally,)—let me not be guilty of depriving mankind of your useful labours, of deadening the energy of such a mind as yours. No, I have heard wise people say, and I hope it is true, (though not to the honour of our sex,) that single men achieve the greatest things. Pray, pray, rouse all the powers of your mind—you certainly have weapons to combat this idle passion, which other men, with vacant heads, have not. Let me, as a last request, entreat you to do it, and to devote all the time you can spare from your studies to your friends in Russell Square. There is not a man upon earth who loves you more affectionately than Mr Romilly—I know he does; and his wife’s society, you acknowledge, is soothing to you. Do this for my sake, and allow me to hope that, before I have quite reached my grand climacteric, I may again shake hands with you: it would be too painful to think it never could again be so. In the meantime, God bless you, and be assured of the unalterable good wishes and regards of the two spinsters. One word more, and I have done. Remember that we wrote to Mr Dumont, positively to know if you had made any stipulations against meeting us, whom you might very probably find at —. I thought, perhaps, he might have guessed a truth which I was unwilling and ashamed to mention; but ignorant as he appeared to be of the state of things, it was no wonder he answered decidedly not, or in spite of —’s urgent entreaties we should have sent an excuse that evening. Heartily sorry I now am that we came; but the past cannot be recalled: only forgive it, and forget it if you can; and do not believe that, when you weep, I smile. No, I weep too; nor when you are reading this letter, will you be more nervous than I have been in writing it. Health and success attend your labours; and if I must be remembered, let it be as one most sincerely interested in all the good that befalls you. So once again, God bless you,—and farewell!
“If it is any consolation to know that your letter has made me very unhappy, I can assure you, with truth, it has, and will do so for a long time to come, till I know that you are as comfortable as you were this time twelvemonth.”
Romilly to Bentham.
“February 4, 1806.
“I suppose there is no doubt that I am to be Solicitor-general, though it has never yet been announced to me, nor even that I was to be proposed for that office. If it had, I should have communicated it to you.”
General Sabloukoff (8th June, 1806) mentions some curious facts in connexion with the evidence of serfs in Russia, on questions of landed property:—
General Sabloukoff to Bentham.
“As you are now working on the subject of evidences, I think it worth while to communicate to you a very strong argument, of which I thought since yesterday, to prove how positively slaves are legally admitted as evidences in Russia.
“Every time that officers of the government are employed in stipulating the limits of estates, an equal number of peasants, or slaves, are taken from each neighbouring estate, to be a living witness of the trees, brooks, rivers, mountains, posts, &c., that indicate the limits. Part of these peasant witnesses are old men, others are boys. As some of these witnesses die away, others take their place, so as for the same number of witnesses always to remain alive. These witnesses go regularly every year to inspect the marks of limits, and keep them, what they call, in life. In case any of these marks are removed, and a quarrel between neighbours arise about limits, the life witnesses of the limits are brought into court as evidences, either for or against their masters. Such witnesses are called in Russian, poniatiia, knowing ones. It is reported, that, in some provinces, the boys, to be more impressed, are whipped by turn on the principal points of indication: however, I would not warrant the fact.”
Romilly to Bentham.
“Edinburgh, September 5, 1806.
“Nothing has been published on Scotch Reform, but what you have seen. The subject has very much occupied the public attention. The Lord Advocate* tells me, that the project is universally popular; but from other quarters, I have heard a very different account. The old lawyers, particularly those who have done nothing all their lives but write arguments to be printed, and who will now have to learn a new trade, and to address juries, do not at all relish it. I understand that it is proposed that the juries shall be unanimous in their verdicts, although that is not at present requisite in Scotland in criminal cases. Nothing can be more absurd; but I conjecture that the opinion of the Chancellor, and of English lawyers, has decided this important point.”
Again (12th September, 1806):—
“The meeting of advocates which you mention, was called with very hostile intentions against the proposed reforms. A motion was made in the meeting, that a committee should be appointed to take the projected plan of reform into consideration, and report upon it to the Faculty of Advocates; and it was settled, that, if the motion should be carried, the persons to be named as the committee, should be those who, it was known, were most adverse to any reform, or, as they express it, to any innovation. The friends of the intended reform were aware of this, and therefore opposed the appointing of a committee, on the ground that it was not yet known what the measures were, by which it was intended to carry the general resolutions into execution; and that till this were known, no committee that could be appointed could form any just opinion upon the subject. They, therefore, moved to adjourn the meeting till November; and the advocates being in general friendly to the reforms, the adjournment was carried by a considerable majority,—I believe about eighty to fifty.
“I have had a good deal of conversation with some Scotch lawyers upon the proposed reforms. Their principal difficulty seems to be, how to ascertain, with their present forms of pleading, what the facts are which are in dispute, and which the jury is to try; or as an English lawyer would express it, to bring the parties to issue upon the facts of the cause.
“New forms of pleading, or a new procedure, seems very much wanted by the Scotch; and without it, it will be very difficult, and, perhaps, impossible for them to adopt the Trial by Jury. The Trial by Jury formerly existed here, in civil as well as in criminal causes; but at that time, the forms of pleading seem to have been the same here as in England. It is intended to alter the present forms of pleading, but yet to alter them only as far as will be absolutely necessary to admit of juries. One of the articles of the Union (the 19th) is found to oppose great difficulties in the way of the framers of the new system. It is declared by that article, that the Court of Session shall remain in all time coming, as it was then constituted, and with the same authority and privileges as before the Union. This article of the Union has been wholly disregarded upon former occasions, particularly when the Mutable Jurisdictions were abolished, though the same, or another article of the Union, declares that they shall be immortal. There is no doubt, however, that this article will be insisted on by the Opposition, particularly by Lord Melville and his friends; (and amongst his friends, and his creatures, are the very great majority of the ancient Lords of Session.) The terror of such an opposition induced the framers of the resolutions moved in the House of Lords, though they meant to substitute three separate and independent courts, consisting of five Judges each, in the place of the fifteen Lords of Session, to call them only Chambers or Sections of the Court of Session; though the Court of Session, consisting of the fifteen Lords, is not to be assembled on any occasion. I find that it is intended that the juries shall be twelve in number, and be unanimous in their verdicts. The persons who think it right to require unanimity in juries, admit that, in theory, nothing can be more absurd; but they say that, from their knowledge of the dispositions of the persons who must serve on juries in Scotland, they are sure that nothing but the necessity of unanimity will induce them to consider at all the verdicts they are to give.”
Lord Grenville afterwards sent, through Lord Henry Petty, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Romilly, an invitation to Bentham to be present at a meeting intended to be holden for considering the best means of reforming the judicial system in Scotland. He declined availing himself of this invitation, for reasons which he will be found stating at length; to which has to be added, that of his having found from Romilly, that he, who, from his practice at the bar, and in virtue of his office, was in a peculiar degree competent to assist on such an occasion, had not been invited. The invitation drew Bentham’s attention to the subject, and was the occasion of his producing the Letters on Scotch Reform, (in vol. v. of the Works.)
Dumont writes (10th Feb., 1807):—
“I saw, yesterday, the first copy of the Edinburgh Review. There is a long article of Jeffrey’s on the Scotch Bill. He speaks of you,—cites a long passage from Judiciary Establishment,—and after some praises, (you may see his paw in this,) he desires you should be engaged on this subject, you being the only jurisconsult capable of treating it properly.”
Mr William Hutton*to Bentham.
“Birmingham, February 11, 1807.
You will pardon my delay in answering yours of the 28th ulto., when I inform you, that I was obliged, on the first of this month, to have a cancer cut out of my thigh, and this is the first day I have held up my head.
“I was pleased to see Sir S. Romilly’s name on the front of your letter; he was one of my counsel at the Riots,† and did his part well,—but more pleased at that of seeing Dr Parr within. I revere the man,—have long thought him one of the first of the age, but had no idea that I was known to him?
“I am extremely obliged to you for the favourable opinion you entertain of my productions: where is the man who can forbear taking pride to himself, when praised by the intelligent?
Religion and Law, both designed for the use of man, are, in themselves, two simple things; but by their expansion, trappings, illustrations, and emoluments, are become a burthen to society. Millions of money have been spent, millions of volumes written, and rivers of blood spilt, all which might have been saved by one short sentence,—‘Do as you would be done by.’—‘I cannot perform it,’ says the humble Christian.—‘Then come as near it as you can, and be quiet.’—The multiplicity of law is covered by two words, right and wrong. A moderate capacity, if it can come at truth, may determine any cause. Those laws must be a burden when a man, who is right, would rather suffer a loss than apply to them for redress. Several of my fellow-sufferers at the riots, had not so much awarded them, as covered their law expenses. My part only of the trial, cost me £884, 15s. 9d., which shows something was wrong.
“I conducted the Court of Conscience nineteen years, and always kept two points in view: to come at truth if possible, and then determine between right and wrong. I do not mean to say, I was always right,—truth cannot always be obtained. Nothing short of supernatural powers can determine 100,000 causes without a flaw,—more than that number passed through my hands. My greatest bane was, that I could never find a way to let both parties win. But I was well rewarded, in having a power by which I compromised thousands of quarrels between contending suitors, dismissing their causes without any expense to themselves, and sending away those people friends, who approached the bench as enemies,—this I considered a gratification.
“I wish you, my dear friend, every success. Should any questions occur, do not omit asking. My book, pen, and head are at your service: make what use you please of them. If any of the questions are not answered to your satisfaction, ask again.
“Should Madam Fortune, which is not likely, set me down in London, I shall most certainly carry a smile into your house. I was led there last April to ratify a purchase of £10,000. Had I received yours prior to that time, I should have had the pleasure of an interview.—I am, dear Sir,” &c., &c.
Bentham to Sir Samuel Romilly.
“Q. S. P., 15th June, 1807.
Some time before the change in Administration, Dumont came to me to make a communication from Lord Henry Petty, mentioning his having heard that I was occupying myself about the Scotch Judicature Reform, and offering to introduce me to Lord Grenville, for the purpose of my communicating to him my ideas on that subject. Regarding the offer in no other light than that of a manifestation of Lord Henry’s kindness to myself, and not understanding that Lord Grenville himself had any part in it, I found the less difficulty in giving the answer, which I should have given at any rate—viz., after the acknowledgments which such a kindness called for, declining to avail myself of it. My reasons, which I made no secret of, were, that my own notions, which I was preparing to lay before the public, were too wide of the notions prevalent among lawyers in general, and of the notions on which the plan actually on the carpet seemed to have grounded itself in particular, to admit of its being at all probable, or even, in my own opinion, advisable, that Lord Grenville, then at the head of an Administration, should take them up on the suggestion of a non-Scotchman, a non-lawyer, to the rejection of a plan that had, of course, come into his hands, sanctioned by the authority of Scotch lawyers: And that, even supposing them to be ever fortunate enough to be honoured by his Lordship’s approbation, it could only be in the event of his finding them adopted and supported by a considerable body of public opinion, that his taking them up would ever answer any good public purpose; and that therefore, in my conception of the matter, any such interview would be but consuming the time of one or both of their Lordships to no use, adding, (to prevent misconstruction,) that the disposition in which those papers of mine (such of them as were already written) had been penned, was the reverse of that of personal hostility to the noble person to whom they were addressed, as the tenor of them would sufficiently show.
“Since that time, the Memorial of the Scotch Judges, with the plan of reform contained in it, has come out; and therein I find, (imagine with what surprise,) that which coincides, as far as it goes, with my own, in the most material points. My prepossessions were as far from being in favour of those learned personages, as those of Lord Grenville could have been; the style of their address to their constitutional superiors, and the use, or rather the abuse, they had attempted to make of the Act of Union, had made that sort of impression on my mind which they may naturally be supposed to have made on his Lordship’s.
“Before I had begun to give a distinct consideration to their plan, I had even begun, on the above and other grounds, an attack which, notwithstanding the approbation I find myself compelled to give to their plan itself, I propose to myself to go on with and publish for the edification of the lieges. But in all this, is there any reason for rejecting their plan, if it be the best that presents any substantial chance of being adopted? no; not if it had for its authors so many agents of Buonaparte.
“As to Lord Grenville, my humble conception of the matter is, that if the memorialists’ plan can be made appear to his view, not inferior to that which happened to be the first presented to him, he will not only do the country more good, but, in the eyes of the country, himself more honour, by taking up the plan that comes to him sanctioned by so many high and appropriate names, than by continuing his support to the anonymous one. For my own part, I consider the public (and so I mean to say) as being as completely indebted to him for the one, as for the other: for, sure enough, had it not been for the chance of getting rid of a plan in which the interests of their pride and their ease were not so well consulted, their learned Lordships would have been far enough from coming forward with this, or any other plan of their own, directed either in reality or in profession to the same ends.
“But now, as to the occasion of my giving you this trouble: Along with this you receive, at last, with the title page, the tables referred to in the four letters already printed,* as likewise in the subsequent ones; also a few copies, of which it remains for me to speak. Two of them for Lord H. Petty; whereof one, should such be his Lordship’s pleasure, to be, instead of the author, put into the hands of Lord Grenville.
“To complete so much of the undertaking as comprises the critique on the plan already before Parliament, and constitutes Part intituled Proposita,—and in comparison with which, the extent of the two other Parts,† taken together, will be but inconsiderable, requires two more letters, (Letters V. and VI.) both of them already written—(Letter V., in all parts twice over, and in some three or four times,) but not as yet quite ready for the press; some speculative matter of wide extent, of no immediate, nor absolutely necessary application to the particular measure in hand, not being, as yet, quite adjusted to my mind. What immediately concerns the Bill is, however, in such a state, that if, from anything that is already printed, Lord G. and Lord H. saw any possibility of their being reconciled to the giving up the Chamber of Review, and taking up the Succedanea of the memorializing Judges instead of it,—I should, upon receiving an intimation to that effect, be very ready to submit to their Lordships, at a short warning, my ideas on that part of the subject in a concise form: for example, by getting a transcript made of the marginal contents, which I almost always draw up before I send anything to the press.
“Scotch Judicature Reform.—Heads of a proposed plan, supposed to be good pro tanto; and, at the same time, in respect of what it offers towards reconciling the notions and wishes of contending authorities, not impracticable.
“1. Single-seated Judicature: a point already battled for in the J. B.’s already printed letters, and for which eleven of the fifteen judges have already offered eight of their number, with the seven others, to form a succedancum to the Chamber of Review,—the Faculty of Advocates opposing it might and main, but finding less than nothing to say against it.
“2. Addition by J. B.—Obligation on each of their learned lordships to have an opinion of his own, as our Chancellor and Master of the Rolls have, without the liberty of shuffling off a cause to the Inner-House undecided: item, the abomination of receiving representations interdicted, as it is already in several cases, and as the Faculty (happily) propose it shall be in all cases.
“Appeal not to stop the execution of [the decree], an arrangement which, after proposing and supporting, might and main, (under such provisions as seemed requisite for prevention of irreparable damage,) J. B. has the satisfaction of seeing proposed by the memorializing Judges, though without any reasons, or any such precautionary provisions, not objected to by the Faculty, notwithstanding their eagerness to object to everything from Mr Bentham.
“The mala fide litigant who has no expectations of an ultimate decision in his favour, unless it be by exhausting the purse or patience of the adversary, may and will be prevented from making delays, by matters being so ordered that no advantage shall be to be got by making of them. The bona fide litigant who looks for an ultimate decision in his favour, cannot be prevented from making the delay necessary to his obtaining it, unless it be by expense and vexatious restraints operating with equal force on injurers and injured.
“3. Interest to be allowed on the subject in dispute proposed by the memorialists thus simply: advocated by J. B. to a greater extent, and in a shape of greater efficacy. Faculty again consenting by their silence.
“These (together with extra evils to which J. B. objects) are relied on by the memorialists as arrangements of such efficacy, that the number of appeals would soon ‘cease to be a grievance to the subject, or a burden to the House of Lords.’ In J. B.’s view they would put an end to the mala fide appeals: viz., those which come to be withdrawn or dismissed; but in so doing would take nothing from the burden; i. e., from the amount of those draughts for time under which the House has so long been bankrupt. In J. B.’s view, it is impossible the House ever should be rendered solvent, by any other means than the erection of what he calls a Court of Lords Delegates; to exercise over all three kingdoms as much of the power of the House in respect of Judicial superintendence as at present, (if rather more vigorously, still better,) with as much of the habitual will of the House as the nature of things admits.
“In a separate paper on the leading points,—in the details of my letters, there are a number of things which, whatsoever might be the private opinion of either of their Lordships, they could not in public, with any decency, declare their approbation of. My papers will be public, at all events. The Review Chambers I have little apprehension of seeing carried; but, for the honour of Lord G.’s Administration, my wish is, to see it given up by himself; and that something that will bear examination should have his stamp upon it. Of my publication, the effect, if it had any, would be to cover the proposed Scotch Chamber of Review, with at least a part of that infamy which is made to fall with a full torrent upon the English ones. It is not without the sincerest concern that I should see the smallest drop of it falling upon either of the two noble heads so often mentioned.
“Jury Trial they can scarcely expect to carry against the whole force of Administration, headed by the Chancellor and Lord Melville. But it does appear to me, that by picking out what there is that is good in the plan of the Scottish Bench and Bar together, as in the annexed paper, a plan might be formed, that should be at once so good, so popular, and so well supported by appropriate authority, that the existing administration would scarce venture to oppose it.
“On the meeting of Parliament, I know not how soon one side or the other may revive the subject in the House of Lords; and this consideration it is that has given you the trouble of the present letter.
“What in their situations it would not, in my view of the matter, be either pleasant or decent for a man to approve, even you will not see till the public sees it; as to everything else, I have no reservers.
“These letters I do not purpose to publish, till Letters V. and VI. are printed. This I have no apprehension of their not being before any measure can have passed the Commons. But if it be the destiny of the Chamber of Review not to stand, how much better it would be that it should be withdrawn by Lord G. himself, than thrown out either in the Commons or the Lords.—I am, dear Romilly, ever yours.
“P. S. At the conclusion of the annexed Heads, &c.
“From the complexion of the plan, it being at bottom so well adapted to increase the evils it professed to remove, J. B. had ventured to predict a favourable reception from the class interested in that increase. How fully the prediction has been verified may be seen in the ardent and indiscriminate applause bestowed upon it by the Faculty of Advocates.
“Note, (for your private eye,) to appeal not to stop execution in the annexed Heads of a Plan.
“This bar to mala fide appeals, (say the Debates,) Lord G., after having set up, took down again. The reason, if offered to be communicated, I should shut my ears against; true or false in the individual instance, my hypothesis will be equally subservient to the ends of justice.”
In the following, Bentham describes his residence at Barrow Green:—
Bentham to Mr Mulford.
“Q. S. P., 18th November, 1807.
“My brother had written to me asking me to take him into my house, and, as I understood, with his half-a-dozen children, &c., for two or three days, while his own was airing, and he doing business in town. I told him he was crazy to think of squeezing such a posse into a part of a house, the whole of which was not sufficient: part he should not have, but the whole, and welcome, if that would content him; and that I would stay at Barrow Green till he had been in town and decamped. Barrow Green House, however, though a very pleasant abode in warm weather, or even till the close of October, was grown so much too cold for me, that I could endure it no longer. The cold incapacitated me from thinking and going on with my business.
“Barrow Green I found so pleasant an abode, and to agree with me so well in point of health, that I propose to make it a sort of country house, so as to spend nearly half the year there, which I can do at little or no addition to the expense. As they produce almost everything within themselves, what it costs me here, will leave them rather the richer than the poorer for what we consume. The only dispute is, that they are not willing to take so much as I am willing to give. The two brothers looked glum at parting; and as they had very little society but what they had in us, the good lady of the house wept bitterly at parting, notwithstanding the assurance of our returning by the beginning of June, or latter end of May, to stay till November. I made a rare gossip for her, talking over old stories. She was well acquainted with Browning Hill, and knew you too, speaking of you in terms of great respect. I don’t know what you may have known of her history. Having a relation by marriage, (a Mr Featherstone, who married a sister of her mother’s,) who lived at Oxstead, not half-a-mile from Mr Hoskins’s, the lord of Barrow Green, and other manors, he there made acquaintance with her, and married her,—she but just turned of seventeen,—he pretty much advanced in life. In two or three years after the marriage, he died, leaving her with but one child, a daughter, a rich heiress: she married a Mr Gorges,—a man of good family in Worcestershire; but of little, or no property: he made her a bad husband, and they both died three or four years ago without issue. The mother, in less than a year after Hoskins’s death, married a Captain Fawkener, a captain in the army, without property, who, eight or ten years ago, drank himself to death, after having stripped her of everything he could strip her of, to enable him to get drink at a distance from her. She had for her jointure no more than a rent charge of £200 a-year; but the property being at the disposal of her daughter, she, in her lifetime, gave her mother, by a deed of settlement, the Barrow Green manor farm, about 400 acres, with the manor house upon it, for life, of which she has been in possession again now for I don’t know how many years. The daughter had everything but signed a will, leaving the whole of the Hoskins property, which was very considerable, to her mother; but as they were putting the pen into her hand to sign the will, she expired. The house is a roomy house, seemingly about a hundred years old,—a very good gentleman’s house. It stands in a place that was once a park, and has still a park-like appearance: one of the halls (for there are two) is hung round with the horns of the deer, the former inhabitants. The situation is rather low, but not unhealthy, there being other places lower that draw off the water from it: close to the house is a lawn, with a shrubbery, and a straight walk through two rows of horse-chestnuts as old as the house. I call it the cloisters: regularly after dinner, for about an hour, my young man and I walk backwards and forwards,—in warm weather sauntering, in cold weather almost running, till we bring it to a proper temperature. Close by one end of these cloisters is a lake of about seven acres, well stocked with fish, and with an island in it. It is skirted with trees and shrubs, and stuffed here and there with reeds and bulrushes in such a manner as to be very pleasant and picturesque. About half-a-mile beyond the lake, rises a range of hills, very bold, with here and there chalk pits,—here and there woods, with pleasant walks in them, and very extensive prospects, exhibiting gentlemen’s seats in abundance. The kitchen-garden is, unfortunately, thrown at a distance from the house, almost a quarter of a mile off, with a road between. It contains an acre, walled round; but the fruit trees are in very bad order, having, of late, been much neglected: I hope to be able to contribute to put them in a little better order. She is very fond of flowers, though she knows but little how to manage them: a great hall is, however, decorated with greenhouse plants, on two sides of it, all the year round. She is a good cook, and takes great pride and delight in it, having learnt it from her mother,—at least from the receipts of her mother, whom she speaks of as a non-such; but who is better known, perhaps, to you, than to her. She is not only her own housekeeper, but her own cook,—doing everything in that way constantly herself, and making bread, like the Browning Hill bread, I used to be so fond of. A Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, grandmother to the present duke, was of the Hoskins family—first cousin, I think, to Mrs K.’s husband; and being fond of the place, rented it, and lived in it for a number of years after his death. Mrs K. used to be a good deal with her then, at the time that the present duke, being a youth, was every now and then there. She used sometimes to be in town with the duchess, holding intercourse with the Duke of Portland, and abundance of other great families. Her sister Ann is married to an attorney of the name of Bunce, who, till within these few weeks, lived at Westerham, about five miles distant; they are going to Canterbury, but whether to fix there I don’t know. Bunce is partly too honest, and partly too indolent, besides having something of a poetical turn, to make anything of his business; but they have a son, who, though yet scarcely of age, is in a situation in the East Indies, that enables him to make remittances sufficient for his father’s and mother’s support: Richard Plowden, the Director, you must know more or less of: either from him or from Wheeler, the only surviving son of your friend, Mrs Hyde, has a very handsome situation in the India House.
“Two or three years ago, Mrs Chapeau, (formerly Harris,) being on a visit to Mrs Bunce, called, on her way to town, on Mrs K., (then Fawkener,) and was received. She has had ten children by her reverend husband, but only one left. What with property and preferment, they live in a handsome style: having town house (in Piccadilly) and country house, and, I believe, a carriage. He is one of the king’s chaplains, and has livings. When the affair with Craven broke out, all the family and their connexions (Harris included) were for hushing it up,—but your old acquaintance, James: he was inexorable; and Mrs K. says, Harris would never have signed the papers necessary for the divorce, had not James Plowden kept him in a state of intoxication, and so prevailed with him. Wheeler and the rest of them were so exasperated with James, that they broke off all communication with him. An officer, who was on board the ship when he was killed, told Mrs K., that if he had not died in that way, he would soon have died a natural death: for he seemed quite heart-broken, and had fallen away to a skeleton. The Wheelers having lodgings for Mrs Wheeler’s health at some sea-port, from whence James was to embark, saw him walking before their door every day for a fortnight, in hopes of being called in; but in vain. Between Mrs K. and her brother Richard the Director, there is no intercourse; but there is between her and another (Henry?) who has made a large fortune in India, and is just returned from thence. Two or three years ago, being at that time also in England, he was in treaty with Mackreth for the repurchase of Yewhurst; but the sum asked by Mackreth was deemed so extravagant, that he gave the matter up, and bought an estate, with a good house upon it, somewhere in the New Forest. He is a married man; Mrs K., who has seen his wife, reports her to be very sensible, and very amiable. The history of this family would fill a volume.
“You expressed a wish, my dear Doctor, for a little chat with me: here is more than perhaps you will have patience to decipher. Writing so much of other things, and my hand being a weak one, I write letters as little as possible. My brother has not had so much from me in the last twelvemonth. A man who has such a comforter within him as you have, can receive little additional comfort from other sources; but I have been pleasing myself with the thought, that, while anything that belongs to this world, is looked upon by you as worth a thought, a scrawl from this hand would not be much in danger of finding itself unwelcome.”
Mulford, in his answer, takes up the subjects of personal and genealogical history discussed in the above, and corrects one or two slight mistakes.
[* ] As to Bentham’s connexion with the Mulfords, see above, p. 22.
[* ] Mr John Herbert Koe of Lincoln’s Inn, who then acted as Bentham’s amanuensis.
[* ] He was the Governor of Siberis, and an intimate friend of Sir Samuel Bentham.
[* ] See above, p. 138.
[* ] See the Manual of Political Economy in the Works, vol. iii. p. 33.
[* ] Addington.
[* ] Pind., Ol. ix.
[* ] Henry Erskine, brother to the Chancellor.
[* ] The “Franklin of Birmingham,” and local historian of Birmingham, Derby, &c.
[† ] Mr Hutton’s town-house and villa had been destroyed in the Birmingham riots of 1791.
[* ] See the commencement of vol. v. of the Works.
[† ] The work was not completed to the extent of these anticipations, see vol. v. p. 16.