A 'lost' correspondence of Jeremy Bentham
(1748-1832). Political economist.
Series of thirty-five letters to Leicester [Fitzgerald Charles] Stanhope (later fifth Earl of Harrington), 63 pages 16mo and 8vo, 1823-1831 and no date. A hitherto 'lost' series of letters to an important disciple, ranging widely over a variety of subjects. Bound together in an eccentric sequence in half-calf, the spine lettered 'Autograph'.
This correspondence is a major discovery in Bentham scholarship and throws much light on the wide-ranging activities and preoccupations of his later years. None of the present letters is published although there are known (from copies) six other letters from Bentham to Stanhope, one of which is as yet unpublished.
Leicester Stanhope (he did not succeed to the earldom until 1851), although a military man by profession, became a dedicated follower of Bentham and his advanced political views. He was sent to Greece in 1823, during the period covered by these letters, as agent of the English committee in aid of the Greek cause. He worked tirelessly to establish a Greek republic, an endeavour in which he came into conflict with Byron. It is evident from this correspondence that Bentham frequently consulted Stanhope and sought his views. He regularly invited him to visit, during a period of his life when he was particularly reclusive, and he frequently sent copies or drafts of his correspondence for Stanhope's comments. Naturally there are frequent references to Bowring, Buckingham, Colonel Young, Melville, O'Connell and Charles Sinclair Cullen, and Rammohun Roy. Many of the letters are signed with initials, but eleven are signed in full. One or two are partly secretarial (and thereby rather more legible).The following are a few extracts taken from the letters.
'... The author of the Book Matth. Davenport Hill is at present I understand at his house somewhere in Chelsea. I propose sending to him your note, but some instructions are necessary, others desirable.
1 Necessary for this & other purposes. Your proposed marche route, with places & days, to the end that the prospectus in question, not to mention eventually other things may be sent to you by post. ...' ['Sunday 21 September' (1823)]
'... When the text could not be got up time enough the marginal contents of it written on the four-column paper have been substituted: but, whereas the text is the second edition, the marginals give only the first edition, consequently are still more unfinished. I hope the most material parts will be finished so as to reach you at Geneva: and then you will have a Table in one view, of the Chapters and Sections, which could not be got up time enough.
I must put upon paper a few lines for the purposes of treating Dumont with a sight of you. Understanding that it is not safe to send a sealed letter means must be an open one, and therefore in a queer stile which your kindness will excuse.
To my dismay I can not just now find my letter to you about the Greek boys. But I showed it to Bowring who approves of it. ...' [26 September 1823]
'Jeremy Bentham to the Hon, Leicester Stanhope / Mine own Stanhope ... On the present occasion you will receive little or nothing of the matter of the Code, in addition to what was sent on the (?) occasion. The reason is - it being so near to its conclusion: a week I think from this day will suffice: and the arrangements agreed upon for (?) with good promise of success to get an edition - English original and Greek translation ... English they can print at Paris cheaper than in London. ...' [27 March 1824]
'... I have no difficulty in conceiving why the Directors and Proprietors of the E India Company should be most intensely averse to the establishment of an Oriental Professorship in the London University. But I am altogether unable to imagine by what arguments the Committee can have been induced to put it aside unless it be that by so doing they would lose Subscribers by opposition from the Company, more than they would gain from other quarters in consideration of the benefit to said Company. ...' [21 January 1827]
'You have played me a sad trick in thus slipping through my fingers. I wished for authentic and determinate particulars about the expected advent of Col: Young and Ram Mohun Roy. Also conversation about the projected Law Reform Association. ...
Ram Mohun Roy - A report of his coming over here in the character of Ambassador from the King or Emperor of Delhi has been in the Newspapers - have you any such expectations? if so, on what foundation does it rest? What could be the inducement to the constituted authorities to permit such a Commission from a man of straw; whose Sovereignty is no more than nominal- the real being in them? ...' [14 December 1829]
'... Cullen has been beforehand with you in extracting the Louisiana Cash from young O'Connell the latter may therefore be left unslaughtered. ...' [7 April 1830]
'Inclosed is a mess-medley for you. Return me Buckingham's to me, and mine to him.
You had expectations from Lord Weymouth: inclosed is a circular for him.
My letter to Brougham will speak for itself ...' [29 May 1830]
Having mentioned to Bowring my having lent to you the minutes of those conversations of his with Louis Philipp, he desired me to caution you against its being in such sort ?hands, as to come to the ear of that King that he had made communication of them. For the King had expressed to Bowring his apprehension lest any of the particulars should find their way into the newspapers ...' [26 September 1831]
The images are of two sample pages only.