Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XII.: MAINTENANCE AND CHAMPERTY. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 3
LETTER XII.: MAINTENANCE AND CHAMPERTY. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 3 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 3.
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- Errata—vol. III.
- Defence of Usury; Showing the Impolicy of the Present Legal Restraints On the Terms of Pecuniary Bargains; In Letters to a Friend.
- Letter I.: Introduction.
- Letter II.: Reasons For Restraint—prevention of Usury.
- Letter III.: Reasons For Restraint—prevention of Prodigality.
- Letter IV.: Reasons For Restraint—protection of Indigence.
- Letter V.: Reasons For Restraint—protection of Simplicity.
- Letter VI.: Mischiefs of the Anti-usurious Laws.
- Letter VII.: Efficacy of Anti-usurious Laws.
- Letter VIII.: Virtual Usury Allowed.
- Letter IX.: Blackstone Considered.
- Letter X.: Grounds of the Prejudices Against Usury.
- Letter XI.: Compound Interest.
- Letter XII.: Maintenance and Champerty.
- Letter XIII.: To Dr. Smith, On Projects In Arts, &c.
- A Manual of Political Economy: Now First Edited From the Mss. of Jeremy Bentham.
- Chapter I.: Introduction. *
- Chapter II.: Analytical Survey of the Field of Political Economy.
- Chapter III.: Of Wealth.
- Chapter IV.: Of Population.
- Chapter V.: Of Finance.
- Chapter VI.: Operation of a Sinking Fund On the Production of Wealth.
- Chapter VII.: Noscenda.
- Observations On the Restrictive and Prohibitory Commercial System; Especially With a Reference to the Decree of the Spanish Cortes of July 1820.
- Preface.: Observations, &c.
- Section I.: Nature of the Prohibitory System.
- Section II.: Mischiefs of the Prohibitory System.
- Section III.: Causes of the Prohibitory System.
- A Plan For Saving All Trouble and Expense In the Transfer of Stock, and For Enabling the Proprietors to Receive Their Dividends Without Powers of Attorney, Or Attendance At the Bank of England, By the Conversion of Stock Into Note Annuities.
- Chapter I.: Plan For the Creation, Emission, Payment, and Eventual Extension, of a Proposed New Species of Government Paper, Under the Name of Annuity Notes.
- Chapter II.: Form of an Annuity Note. (see Table II.)
- Chapter III.: Comparison of the Proposed, With the Existing Government Securities, &c.
- Chapter IV.: Grounds of Expectation, In Regard to the Proposed Measure.
- Chapter V.: Financial Advantages.
- Chapter VI.: Advantage By Addition to National Capital.
- Chapter VII.: Advantage By Addition to Commercial Security.
- Chapter VIII.: Particular Interests Concerned.
- Chapter IX.: Rise of Prices—how to Obviate.
- Chapter X.: Reduction of Interest—proposed Mode Compared With Mr. Pelham’s.
- Chapter XI.: Moral Advantages.
- Chapter XII.: Constitutional Advantages.
- Chapter XIII.: Recapitulation and Conclusion.
- Appendix A.: Government Ought to Have the Monopoly of Paper Money, As Well As of Metallic Money.
- Appendix B.: Paper Money—causes Why Not Circulated By Government Without Interest, As Well As By Individuals.
- General View of a Complete Code of Laws.
- Chapter I.: General Division.
- Chapter II.: Relations Between the Laws Concerning Offences, Rights, Obligations, and Services.
- Chapter III.: Relation Between the Penal and Civil Code.
- Chapter IV.: Of Method.
- Chapter V.: Plan of the Penal Code.
- Chapter VI.: Of the Division of Offences.
- Chapter VIII. Titles of the Penal Code.
- Chapter IX.: First General Title of the Civil Code, * of Things.
- Chapter X.: Second General Title of the Civil Code. of Places.
- Chapter XI.: Third General Title of the Civil Code. of Times.
- Chapter XII.: Fourth General Title of the Civil Code. of Services.
- Chapter XIII.: Fifth General Title of the Civil Code. of Obligations.
- Chapter XIV.: Sixth General Title of the Civil Code. of Rights.
- Chapter XV.: Seventh General Title of the Civil Code. of Collative and Ablative Events.
- Chapter XVI.: Eighth General Title of the Civil Code. of Contracts.
- Chapter XVII.: Ninth General Title of the Civil Code. of the Domestic and Civil States.
- Chapter XVIII.: Tenth General Title of the Civil Code. of Persons Capable of Acquiring and of Contracting.
- Chapter XIX.: Of the Particular Titles of the Civil Code.
- Chapter XX.: Of Elementary Political Powers.
- Chapter XXI.: Of Elementary Political Powers— Subject Continued.
- Chapter XXII.: Plan of the Political Code.
- Chapter XXIII.: Plan of the International Code.
- Chapter XXIV.: Plan of the Maritime Code.
- Chapter XXV.: Plan of the Military Code.
- Chapter XXVI.: Plan of the Ecclesiastical Code.
- Chapter XXVII.: Plan of Remuneratory Laws.
- Chapter XXVIII.: Of Political Economy.
- Chapter XXIX.: Plan of the Financial Code.
- Chapter XXX.: Plan of Procedure Code.
- Chapter XXXI.: Of the Integrality of the Code of Laws.
- Chapter XXXII.: Of Purity In the Composition of a Code of Laws.
- Chapter XXXIII.: Of the Style of the Laws.
- Chapter XXXIV.: Of the Interpretation, Conservation, and Improvement of a Code.
- Pannomial Fragments.
- Chapter I.: General Observations.
- Chapter II.: Consideranda.
- Chapter III.: Expositions.
- Chapter IV.: Axioms.
- Nomography; Or the Art of Inditing Laws: Now First Published From the Mss. of Jeremy Bentham.
- Chapter I.: The Subject Stated.
- Chapter II.: Relations.
- Chapter III.: Proper End In View.
- Chapter IV.: Imperfections Primary.
- Chapter V.: Explanations Relative to the Imperfections of the Second Order.
- Chapter VI.: Of Remedies. *
- Chapter VII.: Of Language.
- Chapter VIII.: Of the Perfections of Which the Legislative Style Is Susceptible.
- Chapter IX.: Of Forms of Enactment.
- Appendix. Logical Arrangements, Or Instruments of Invention and Discovery
- Equity Dispatch Court Proposal; Containing a Plan For the Speedy and Unexpensive Termination of the Suits Now Depending In Equity Courts. With the Form of a Petition, and Some Account of a Proposed Bill For That Purpose
- Section I.: Purpose Explained. Jeremy Bentham to the Honest and Afflicted Among Equity Suitors.
- Section II.: Equity Suitors’ Petition For Dispatch Court. to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, —
- Section III.: Dispatch Court Bill—some Account of It.
- Section IV.: Information Requisite From Petitioning Suitors.
- Equity Dispatch Court Bill: Being a Bill For the Institution of an Experimental Judicatory Under the Name of the Court of Dispatch, For Exemplifying In Practice the Manner In Which the Proposed Summary May Be Substituted to the So Called Regular Sy
- Editor’s Note.
- Part I.—: Judiciary.
- Section I.: Judge Located, How.
- Section II.: Remuneration.
- Section III.: Registrar, &c.
- Section IV.: Eleemosynary Advocate.
- Section V.: Judges’, &c. Deputes.
- Section VI.: Judge’s Powers—exemptions—checks.
- Section VII.: Prehensors and Messengers.
- Section VIII.: Consignees; * Or Say, In-trust-holders.
- Section IX.: Grounds of Decision For the Dispatch Court Judge.
- Section X. ‡: Suits’ Comparative Suitableness; and Order of Cognizance.
- Section XI.: Auxiliary Judges and Accountants.
- Section XII.: Sittings, Times Of.
- Part II.—: Procedure.
- Section XIII.: Definitions. *
- Section XIV.: Examination of Solicitors.
- Section XV.: Initiatory Examination of Parties, &c.
- Section XVI.: Appropriate Intercourse, Constant and Universal, Secured.
- Section XVII.: Mutual Security For Forthcomingness of Persons and Things. ‡
- Section XVIII.: Evidence-procuring Money, How Provided.
- Section XIX.: Subsequential Evidence, How Elicited.
- Section XX.: Execution, How Performed.
- Section XXI.: Equity Court Costs, How Disposed Of.
- Section XXII.: Dispatch Court Costs, How Disposed Of.
- Section XXIII.: Eventual Retrotransference of a Suit to the Equity Court.
- Section XXIV.: Expense of the Court, How Provided For.
- Supplemental Sections:—
- Section I. Or XXV.: Bankruptcy and Insolvency.
- Section II. Or XXVI.: Henceforward Dispatch Court.
- Schedules to the Bill.
- Plan of Parliamentary Reform, In the Form of a Catechism, With Reasons For Each Article: With an Introduction, Showing the Necessity of Radical, and the Inadequacy of Moderate, Reform.
- Section I.: History of the Ensuing Tract—alarming State of the Country and the Constitution.
- Section II.: Most Prominent Present Grievance, Gareisoning France.
- Section III.: Causes of the Above and All Other Mischiefs:—particular Interests Monarchical and Aristocratical, Adverse to the Universal—their Ascendency.
- Section IV.: Sole Remedy In Principle—democratic Ascendency.
- Section V.: Remedy In Detail: Radical Parliamentary Reform: Elementary Arrangements In This Edition of It—their Necessity.
- Section VI.: Differences Between This and the Original Editions of Radical Reform.
- Section VII.: Virtual Universality of Suffrage Further Considered.
- Section VIII.: Virtual Universality of Suffrage—its Undangerousness.
- Section IX.: Freedom of Suffrage Further Explained—seductive Influence—its Forms, Instruments, &c.
- Section X.: Bribery and Terrorism Compared.
- Section XI.: Purchase of Seats—in What Cases Mischievous—in What Beneficial.
- Section XII.: Secresy of Suffrage—its Importance Further Developed.
- Section XIII.: Exclusion of Placemen, &c. From the Right of Voting—mischievousness and Profligacy of the Opposite Arrangement.
- Section XIV.: Universal Constancy of Attendance—its Importance.
- Section XV.: Representatives—impermanence of Their Situation—its Importance:—objections—their Groundlessness.
- Section XVI.: Moderate Reform—its Arrangements—their Inadequacy.
- Section XVII.: Trienniality Inadequate;—annuality Necessary.
- Section XVIII.: Interests Adverse to Adequate Reform—support Given By Them to Moderate, to the Exclusion of Radical: Tories—whigs—people’s Men.
- Catechism of Parliamentary Reform; Or, Outline of a Plan of Parliamentary Reform; In the Form of Question and Answer; With Reasons to Each Article.
- Section I.: Ends to Be Aimed At On the Occasion of Parliamentary Reform.
- Section II.: Means, Conducive Towards These Ends.
- Section III.: Means—their Uses, With Reference to Their Respective Ends.
- Section IV.: Means Conducive to Aptitude In Members: I. Placemen Not to Vote, Nor to Be Seated By Election.
- Section V.: Means, &c. Continued.—ii. Placemen Seated By the King, With Speech and Motion, Without Vote.
- Section VI.: Means, &c. Continued.—iii. Elections Frequent—annual.
- Section VII.: Means, &c. Continued.—iv. Speeches Authentically and Promptly Published.
- Section VIII.: Means, &c. Continued.—v. Attendance, Punctual and General, Secured.
- Section IX.: Inconveniences Incident to Elections, and Election Judicature.
- Section X.: Election Inconveniences—means For Their Removal.
- Section XI.: Collateral Advantages, Referable to the Situations of Electors, Placemen, Lords, &c.
- A Sketch of the Various Proposals For a Constitutional Reform In the Representation of the People, Introduced Into the Parliament of Great Britain, From 1770 to 1812.
- Radical Reform Bill, With Extracts From the Reasons.
- Preliminary Explanations.
- Title of the Proposed Act.
- Section 1.—: Seats and Districts.
- Section 2.—: Electors, Who.
- Section 3.—: Eligible, Who.
- Section 4.—: Election Offices.
- Section 5.: Election Apparatus.
- Section 6.—: Promulgation of Recommendations In Favour of Proposed Members.
- Section 7.—: Voters’ Titles Pre-established.
- Section 8.—: Election, How.
- Section 9.: Election Districts and Polling Districts, How Marked Out.
- Section 10.—: Vote-making Habitations, How Defined.
- Section 11.—: Members’ Continuance.
- Section 12.—: Vacancies Supplied.
- Section 13.—: Security For the House Against Disturbance By Members. †
- Section 14.—: Indisposition of Speakers Obviated.
- Appendix, Including General Explanations.
- Radicalism Not Dangerous. Extracted From the Mss. of Jeremy Bentham. *
- Part I.—: Introduction.
- Section I.: Radical Reform Bill Recapitulated.
- Section II.: Persuasion of the Dangerousness of Radicalism—cause of It, and of the Vituperative Expression Given to It.
- Section III.: Terms of the Accusation,—speeches From the Throne, 16 Th July and 21 St November 1819.
- Section IV.: The Accusation In General Terms—counter-averment.
- Section V.: Plan of This Defence.
- Part II.—: Deference From the General Nature of the Case.
- Section I.: Conditions Necessary to a Man’s Embarking In Such a Design.
- Section VII.: Concurrence In Any Other Extensive Plan of Spoliation Impossible.
- Section VIII.: Concurrence of Any Constituted Authorities Impossible.
- Section IX.: Accomplishment Impossible—design Impossible.
- Section X.: The Talked-of Spunge No Proof of the Design.
- Part III.—: Defence From Experience In the Case of the United States.
- Part IV.: Defence From Particular Experience In the Case of Ireland: Years 1777 Or 1778, to 1783.
- Section I.: Analogy Between This and the Previous Case.
- Section II.: Democratic Ascendency, How Produced.
- Section III.: Fruit of Democratic Ascendency a Golden Age.
- Section IV.: Coincidence of Its Characters With Those of Radicalism.
- Section VI.: Extinction of Democratic Ascendency and Reform—restoration of Monarchico-aristocratical Ascendency, and Its Consequences.
MAINTENANCE AND CHAMPERTY.
Having in the preceding letters had occasion to lay down, and, as I flatter myself, to make good the general principle, that no man of ripe years and of sound mind, ought, out of loving-kindness to him, to be hindered from making such bargain in the way of obtaining money, as, acting with his eyes open, he deems conducive to his interest, I will take your leave for pushing it a little farther, and extending the application of it to another class of regulations still less defensible. I mean the antique laws against what are called Maintenance and Champerty.
To the head of Maintenance, I think you refer, besides other offences which are not to the present purpose, that of purchasing, upon any terms, any claim, which it requires a suit at law, or in equity, to enforce.
Champerty, which is but a particular modification of this sin of Maintenance, is, I think, the furnishing a man who has such a claim with regard to a real estate, such money as he may have occasion for to carry on such claim, upon the terms of receiving a part of the estate in case of success.
What the penalties are for these offences I do not recollect, nor do I think it worth while hunting for them, though I have Blackstone at my elbow. They are at any rate sufficiently severe to answer the purpose, the rather as the bargain is made void.
To illustrate the mischievousness of the laws by which they have been created, give me leave to tell you a story, which is but too true a one, and which happened to fall within my own observation.
A gentleman of my acquaintance had succeeded, during his minority, to an estate of about £3000 a-year; I won’t say where. His guardian, concealing from him the value of the estate, which circumstances rendered it easy for him to do, got a conveyance of it from him during his non-age, for a trifle. Immediately upon the ward’s coming of age, the guardian, keeping him still in darkness, found means to get the conveyance confirmed.—Some years afterwards, the ward discovered the value of the inheritance he had been throwing away. Private representations proving, as it may be imagined, ineffectual, he applied to a court of equity. The suit was in some forwardness: the opinion of the ablest counsel highly encouraging, but money there remained none. We all know but too well, that in spite of the unimpeachable integrity of the bench, that branch of justice which is particularly dignified with the name of equity is only for those who can afford to throw away one fortune for the chance of recovering another. Two persons, however, were found, who, between them, were content to defray the expense of the ticket for this lottery, on condition of receiving half the prize. The prospect now became encouraging;—when unfortunately one of the adventurers, in exploring the recesses of the bottomless pit, happened to dig up one of the old statutes against Champerty. This blew up the whole project: however, the defendant, understanding that somehow or other his antagonist had found support, had thought fit in the meantime to propose terms, which the plaintiff, after his support had thus dropped from under him, was very glad to close with. Hereceived, I think it was £3000; and for that he gave up the estate, which was worth about as much yearly, together with the arrears, which were worth about as much as the estate.
Whether, in the barbarous age which gave birth to these barbarous precautions—whether, even under the zenith of feudal anarchy, such fettering regulations could have had reason on their side, is a question of curiosity rather than use. My notion is, that there never was a time—that there never could have been or can be a time—when the pushing of suitors away from court with one hand, while they are beckoned into it with another, would not be a policy equally faithless, inconsistent, and absurd. But what everybody must acknowledge is, that to the times which called forth these laws, and in which alone they could have started up, the present are as opposite as light to darkness. A mischief, in those times it seems but too common, though a mischief not to be cured by such laws, was, that a man would buy a weak claim, in hopes that power might convert it into a strong one, and that the sword of a baron, stalking into court with a rabble of retainers at his heels, might strike terror into the eyes of a judge upon the bench. At present, what cares an English judge for the swords of a hundred barons? Neither fearing nor hoping, hating nor loving, the judge of our days is ready with equal phlegm to administer, upon all occasions, that system, whatever it be, of justice or injustice, which the law has put into his hands. A disposition so consonant to duty could not have then been hoped for: one more consonant is hardly to be wished. Wealth has indeed the monopoly of justice against poverty; and such monopoly it is the direct tendency and necessary effect of regulations like these to strengthen and confirm. But with this monopoly no judge that lives now is at all chargeable. The law created this monopoly: the law, whenever it pleases, may dissolve it.
I will not, however, so far wander from my subject, as to inquire what measure might have been necessary to afford a full relief to the case of that unfortunate gentleman, any more than to the cases of so many other gentlemen who might be found as unfortunate as he: I will not insist upon so strange and so inconceivable an arrangement, as that of the judge’s seeing both parties face to face in the first instance, observing what the facts are in dispute, and declaring, that as the facts should turn out this way or that way, such or such would be his decree. At present, I confine myself to the removal of such part of the mischief as may arise from the general conceit of keeping men out of difficulties, by cutting them off from such means of relief as each man’s situation may afford. A spunge in this, as in so many other cases, is the only needful, and only availing remedy: one stroke of it for the musty laws against Maintenance and Champerty: another for the more recent ones against usury. Consider, for example, what would have respectively been the effect of two such strokes, in the case of the unfortunate gentleman I have been speaking of. By the first, if what is called equity has any claim to confidence, he would have got, even after paying off his champerty-usurers, £1500 a-year in land, and about as much in money, instead of getting, and that only by an accident, £3000 once told. By the other, there is no saying to what a degree he might have been benefited. May I be allowed to stretch so far in favour of the law as to suppose, that so small a sum as £500 would have carried him through his suit in the course of about three years? I am sensible that may be thought but a short sum, and this but a short term, for a suit in equity: but, for the purpose of illustration, it may serve as well as a longer. Suppose he had sought this necessary sum in the way of borrowing; and had been so fortunate, or, as the laws against the sin of usury would style it, so unfortunate, as to get it at 200 per cent. He would then have purchased his £6000 a-year at the price of half as much once paid, viz. £3000; instead of selling it at that price. Whether, if no such laws against usury had been in being, he could have got the money, even at that rate, I will not pretend to say: perhaps he might not have got it under ten times that rate, perhaps he might have got it at the tenth part of that rate. Thus far I think we may say, that he might, and probably would, have been the better for the repeal of those laws: but thus far we must say, that it is impossible he should have been the worse. The terms upon which he met with adventurers willing to relieve him, though they come not within that scanty field which the law in the narrowness of its views calls usury, do in the present case, at twenty years’ purchase of the £3000 a-year he was content to have sacrificed for such assistance, amount, in effect, to 4000 per cent. Whether it was likely that any man, who was disposed to venture his money at all upon such a chance, would have thought of insisting upon such a rate of interest, I will leave you to imagine: but thus much may be said with confidence, because the fact demonstrates it, that, at a rate not exceeding this, the sum would actually have been supplied. Whatever becomes, then, of the laws against Maintenance and Champerty, the example in question, when applied to the laws against usury, ought, I think, to be sufficient to convince us, that so long as the expense of seeking relief at law stands on its present footing, the purpose of seeking that relief will of itself, independently of every other, afford a sufficient ground for allowing any man, or every man, to borrow money on any terms on which he can obtain it.
Crichoff, in White Russia,