Front Page Titles (by Subject) No. IV.: Jeremy Bentham, London, to Simon Snyder, Governor of Pennsylvania. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 4
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No. IV.: Jeremy Bentham, London, to Simon Snyder, Governor of Pennsylvania. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 4 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 4.
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Jeremy Bentham, London, to Simon Snyder, Governor of Pennsylvania.
London, July 1814.
In transmitting the herewith inclosed letter addressed to your Excellency by Mr. Gallatin, together with some copies of a now first printed letter of mine, addressed and sent in October 1811, to President Madison,—it will be necessary for me to accompany them with some account of the incidents that have led to this my respectful address. From a common friend of Mr. Gallatin’s and mine, I understood, not long ago, that for some time past he had been expressing a desire to see me. I accordingly called upon him at his then residence in Orchard Street. Thinking the opportunity a favourable one, for learning whether my above-mentioned letter to the President, a printed copy of which is here inclosed, had come to hand,—I went with the MS. brouillon of it in my pocket. I was received with the most unequivocal tokens of that favourable opinion which is so gratifying to me, and of which that letter of his to you contains the expression. I found him almost at the very moment of his then expected departure from this country. Under these circumstances, in the course of a conversation carried on on both sides with the necessary rapidity, I took out of my pocket the MS. above mentioned, speaking of it as a thing which, had time permitted, it had been my wish to have submitted to his perusal. Understanding the drift of it, he insisted upon my leaving it: and a plan of future intercourse on the subject, adapted to the various contingencies to which his own local situation stood for some time exposed, was settled between us. I had the scarce expected pleasure of seeing him two or three times after that, though no more than once only for any continuance. He was, I believe already gone, when this of his to you was delivered to me: so that, had it been my wish,—though I know not why it should have been,—to have seen it in any manner altered, whether by omission, addition, or substitution, it has not been in my power. In this account of it is implied the circumstance of its having been sent to me open. To this circumstance I owe the faculty of submitting to you some of the following explanations.
I found him well acquainted—not only with those two works of mine, which he spoke of as having been edited in French by my friend Mr. Dumont—the first at Paris anno 1802, the other in London anno 1811,—but with a preceding one in English, edited in my own name by the title of An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, London 1789; which was the forerunner, and, as far as it extended, formed the basis, of the earliest and most extensive of the two in French. Being in English, I regret that, on the present occasion, it is altogether out of my power to find a copy to present to you: it having for many years been out of print. About five-and-twenty years ago (he said) it was put into his hands by Colonel Burr: and from that time (he was pleased to say) he considered himself as my pupil.
It was in October 1811, as above, that my letter addressed to the President was dispatched out of my hands. It went, accompanied with two recommendatory letters, from a person of eminence here, to two persons of very high eminence in the United States, with whom he was well and personally acquainted. From that time to this, no tidings of it have ever reached me. At the time of its going out of my hands, being at a distance from London, several circumstances concurred in preventing me from being precisely informed of the details of its transmission. Supposing it received, various circumstances presented themselves as capable of warranting the President in leaving it unnoticed. Mr. Gallatin, however, could not bring himself to believe that, being thus unnoticed, it could have been received.
The President of the Union being the person addressed, an observation of Mr. Gallatin was—that it belonged not to a person in that office to originate so much as a single law, relative to the internal concerns of any one of the United States. My answer was—that that circumstance was completely in my view: but that, on a subject of that nature and importance, in the character of an instrument of communication, to any proper person in any one of those States, the highest of all persons comprised in the Union might serve, at any rate, as well as any other person: and if so it were, that in the number of those States there were any one or more, to which the proposition were regarded as capable of being of use, no one person could, in respect of situation, be more likely—few equally likely—to be informed who they were: and that what, in my obscurity, it had fallen in my way to hear, of the character of the person by whom that office was at that time filled, could not but plead in favour of that choice.
Had the opportunity, which has produced to your Excellency the trouble of this address, fallen in my way at the time of writing that letter, it would, of course, have been to The Governor of Pennsylvania that it would have been addressed, and not to The President of the United States.
In that case, in several points of form, as determined by the difference between the two official situations, it would have, of course, been different: but in substance, the difference, if any, would have been so inconsiderable, that, to save the eventual waste of more labour,—in addition to that which, hitherto with so little fruit, has already been expended,—I have, with the concurrence of Mr. Gallatin, taken the liberty to send it to you under its original address.
While thus sitting at the feet of my Gamaliel, in a few minutes I saw before me, a map of the whole Union: of three compartments, one seemed to present rather an inviting prospect; another, but a faint one; a third, none at all. In the foreground stood Pennsylvania, placed there for specific reasons: in addition to such as are of a permanent nature, I beheld two temporary ones: one derived from the character of the present Governor, of which, at the same time (if I do not misrecollect,) he stated his conceptions as derived rather from general reputation than from personal intercourse; the other, from the circumstance of his (Mr. Gallatin’s) having, when a member of the legislature of that State, had the satisfaction of seeing an individual (Judge Wilson, by birth and education a Scotchman, in consequence of his recommendation, both as to the measure and as to the person) appointed, for the very service here in question: to which satisfaction was added the expectation of finding, that,—although, on that occasion, the performance of the service was prevented, by the death of the person, by whom it was to have been performed,—yet the sense of the utility of it remains unchanged; and the hope, that upon his return (which he spoke of as probably not far distant) to his residence in that State, the considerations, which he should have to present on that subject, to the minds of his fellow-citizens, would prove not to have been deprived of any part of their efficiency by any intervening incidents.
Inclosed is that letter of Mr. Gallatin to myself, by which this of his to you was announced and accompanied. From him I have no authority for making any such communication: since the time of my receiving it, I have neither seen nor heard from him. Yet, in making it, I can not charge myself with any such imputation as that of breach of confidence. Of a transaction, of which the welfare of mankind in general, and of your State, Sir, in particular, is so manifestly the object, and the sole object,—(unless any personal satisfaction, derivable from the contemplation of the eventual success of the proffered labour, be worth considering as a distinct object)—an object, the pursuit of which is so perfectly and manifestly free from all mixture of what is commonly understood by personal interest, and, at any rate, from everything included under the denomination of sinister interest,—of such a transaction it seems to me, that the circumstances can not be too particularly, distinctly, and extensively open to view: and as to the obscure individual himself, who thus has the honour of addressing you,—of the favourable opinion thus testified to be entertained of him by such a man, should a proportionable measure of public regard be the eventual, as it can not but be regarded as a natural consequence,—you will judge, Sir, whether, from an advantage of this sort, accruing to an individual, any just reason can be deduced, for depriving the public at large,—and that portion of it in particular, over which you preside,—of any benefit of which, the contemplation of such an end, pursued by such means, may naturally be productive.
In the too short intercourse, which it has been my lot to hold with that illustrious citizen of your State, and servant of your confederacy, there was not a single word, to which on his own account, in respect of present honour, as well as, on the account of mankind at large in respect of eventual profit in all imaginable shapes, it would not have been a satisfaction to me to see every degree of publicity given, of which human language is susceptible: there was not a word, the publication of which could be unto me, on my own particular account, a source of regret. In regard to an event, the importance of which, supposing it to take place, will be of such conspicuous magnitude, scarcely can even the present, much less can any future generation, be altogether incurious to know the origin: and surely, for such a work, a purer origin could not so much as be wished.
In relation to my letter to the President,—after such apologies as his politeness suggested, Mr. Gallatin (it being agreed between us that it should be printed) favoured me with two pieces of advice: observing at the same time, that he had read the letter over but once, and that his wish and intention had been, before he gave, to that or any other effect, any definitive advice, to read it over a second time: unfortunately, for any joint consideration of the subject between us, no such time could be found. At that same meeting, to express my determination to make my utmost profit of an advice, of the value of which I was so fully sensible, was all that the time allowed of.
Of these two recommendations, one was of a general cast, embracing all that part, in which, in considering what observations might be likely to present themselves in the character of objections to the whole proposal, I brought to view, in company with my answers, that which regards the circumstance of my being a foreigner. What was said in relation to that topic, had presented itself to his view (he said) as superfluous: in the United States—in Pennsylvania, at least—that circumstance, he thought, would not be likely to present itself of itself, in the character of an objection: and that it was better not to raise up phantoms, which would not have appeared of themselves, and in regard to which, when once raised up, there was more danger of thus raising up, or furnishing arms to those who disapproved of the design, than assurance of their being laid by those who approved of it.
In relation to this suggestion,—penetrated with that respect for the authority of my adviser, which everything that I had ever seen or heard of him contributed so strongly to impress, I set myself to work but now, to expunge all such passages as it should appear to me that he had in view. But, when it came to the point, I found all that related to that circumstance,—considered as likely to be brought forward in the character of an objection,—so intimately, and, as to me it seemed, inextricably, interwoven with other matter, which, consistently with the requisite explanation, could not, without considerable disadvantage, as it appeared to me, be left out,—that I determined to let it stand untouched. How the separation could be made, I saw not, without taking a considerable part of the whole, and writing it anew. And for this task, destitute of that information, as well as encouragement, which his presence would have afforded me,—loaded too as I found myself with a variety of occupations, and with the additional weight of almost three years, which since the writing of it have elapsed,—my courage failed me.
But if you, Sir, who on various accounts cannot but be still better qualified for determining what is best to be done—what it would be advisable to expunge, and what to leave—if you, Sir,—on the supposition of the proposal’s appearing to be, on public grounds, worth the labour,—would be pleased to take in hand, at this my humble request, and apply, the censorial sponge,—be assured of my grateful sense of the honour done me, as well as of my cheerful acquiescence.
In his letter to yourself, Sir, speaking of my works, “In most of them,” Mr. Gallatin, I observe, says, “you will find peculiarities both of matter and style, and some suggestions which you will condemn as inadmissible or inapplicable.”
In the letter that accompanied it to myself, he moreover says,—“Permit me to suggest, with respect to your intended labours for Pennsylvania, that she stands in much greater need of a system of civil or non-penal law than of a penal code, which is already much improved, and naturally daily improving. In the other branch, I include procedure, and even organization of courts, as well as substantive law:” (these terms, non-penal and substantive, the necessity of the case obliged him to take from me:) “and there” (continues he) “lies the great difficulty, both intrinsic and artificial.”
Concerning the peculiarities above alluded to, at this distance from your State, my position has not enabled me to form so much as the slightest conjecture: and, most unhappily for me, from my Mentor, from whom I could have learnt everything, time admitted not of my learning anything.
On this subject,—on which, had time admitted, I might, with the greatest ease, have poured out my whole mind to him,—I am thus reduced to the necessity of addressing myself to you, Sir, at the risk of being found troublesome.
Notwithstanding what you have seen above, I cannot but flatter myself, Sir, with the hope, that you will agree with me in the opinion, that, for reaping the greatest profit from whatsoever service it may be in my power to render, the most promising course you can take is, to leave me as free as possible:—free, and not only in respect of the manner of treating each part of the subject, but also in respect of the priority as between part and part:—free, not only in respect of matter, but in respect of form:—free, not only in respect of absence of restraint, but in respect of absence of constroint:—“free” (as the poet says) “as air,” in every respect. In and by so doing, there would be no precise limits to what, in respect of the use capable of being made of the work, you may gain: and,—should there be any the smallest benefit, which, if left free, it might have been my good fortune to contribute to put you in possession of,—its not being as yet in the contemplation of any of you, will hardly be deemed a sufficient reason for your depriving yourselves of it. On the other hand, by any such freedom on my part, not a particle either of loss or risk will you on your part be exposed to. Yes: if in the hands of this your proffered servant, there were to exist any the least particle of power,—of power, or so much as of influence,—such influence alone excepted, as by such reasons as you will see, may come to be exercised on your minds. “Silence!” fellow-citizens: “I understand better what is best for the commonwealth than you do.” Such, with all the frankness of undisguised self-sufficiency, is the recorded speech of I forget what Roman, in whose instance, the consciousness of that intellectual authority,—which is the inseparable accompaniment of superior ability as demonstrated by conspicuous service,—might serve as a cloak, and in some measure as an excuse, for a degree of arrogance, from which nothing whatsoever could have afforded him, or any one, a justification. In the present case,—being as far from any propensity, as from any title or pretence, to employ any such language,—that which the individual who is now addressing you desires at your hands is—not that you should condemn yourselves, but that you should not condemn him, to silence.
If, then, on the one hand, my wish is—that, for your own sakes (for no interest can I have that is not yours,) my service, as rendered to you, should, at this earliest stage, be a service of perfect freedom,—at a subsequent stage, you may depend upon me for a degree of obsequiousness, such as will be more likely to exceed your expectations, than to fall short of your wishes. Freedom at the one stage, obsequiousness at the other,—both are the result of one and the same principle, so far as sincerity admits. My intellectual faculties, such as they are, are altogether at your service: but such, to any good purpose, they cannot be, any further than as they are free. Will, so far as you are concerned, I have none. To yours, in the execution of this my supposed office, I will accordingly pay the most unreserved—a more than passive—an unreservedly active obedience.
Explanation is here necessary. Most assuredly, to a considerable extent—it is impossible for me to say to how great an extent—what I find to propose to you will appear erroneous. Again, for the most part, what has thus presented itself to you as erroneous, you will yourselves find no difficulty in correcting—in finding for the amendment of it (whatsoever be the mode of amendment—omission, insertion, or substitution)—such entire provisions of detail, as well as such words, as, in your own judgment, will be apt and sufficient for the purpose. But,—should it be the good fortune of my proposed work, in the general complexion of it, to prove acceptable to you,—a case that may also happen is—that, on the occasion of this or that correction, for this or that reason, it may be your inclination to remit the subject to me; to the end that, in respect of the necessary details, I may propose such particular words, or even such particular expedients, as may seem to me to be best adapted, to the purpose of giving the most thorough effect, say to the will, say to the principle, be it what it may, which, in general terms, has been expressed by you. Should the general method, and mode of expression, for example, as employed in the work, stand approved by you,—such as above, in regard to matters of detail, may, perhaps, be the course approved of by you: viz. under the apprehension, lest, if made by any other hands than those of the original draughtsman, the alteration, made in this or that part, should prove in some way or other repugnant to, inconsistent with, or detrimental to, the provision made and approved of in this or that other part. I say, if made by any other hand: for to myself, working according to my own method, I cannot bring myself to regard it as in any degree probable, that, in the penning of any one part, the purport of any other that has any bearing upon it should escape me: a sort and degree of command, which, at least, unless it be after a very long course of practice, it can scarcely be expected that any one man should possess, over a work so voluminous, composed by a different hand.
Well then—on the occasion of such supposed error in such my code, and thereupon for the correction of it,—or say, in the first instance, and without reference to any such code,—a certain effect—no matter what, or in which of two characters, viz. that of an end, or that of a means, presents itself to you as fit to be produced. Referring to me the choice, either of the mode of expression alone, or—matter and expression together, of the expedients—the provisions of detail—by which the effect shall be produced—you require me to perform my part towards the production of it. Of this effect, in whichever of the above two characters considered, the production (suppose) is directly repugnant and irreconcilable to that which, in my own view of the matter, is fit and right. Such being the effect, shall I, in my supposed position, refuse or decline to employ my pen towards the production of it? Not I indeed. On one condition—a condition which you, Sir (I speak here in the plural as well as the singular number,) will, I am sure, not refuse your subscription to—in my own view of it be the effect ever so unfit to be produced. I will not, on that account, so much as decline doing that which belongs to my supposed employment, towards the production of it.
This condition is neither more nor less, than the being suffered to possess and use, in this supposed second stage, the same liberty, which, without absolutely stipulating for it, I made my humble request for, in the above supposed first stage: the liberty of making known my opinion, whatsoever it may be, with the reasons on which it grounds itself. In this liberty will be included—if it be in the character of an end that the production of the effect in question appears to me unfit,—the bringing to view the considerations, by which, in the character of reasons, that opinion has been produced: if it be in the character of a means,—the like liberty, with the addition of that of proposing any other means, by which, in my view of the matter, the same end may be produced on more advantageous terms.
In a word—on this condition, by which is saved from violation that sincerity,—the violation of which, could not, in this my supposed situation at any rate, on any imaginable occasion, be of any the smallest use,—there is not that imaginable effect, which, in that my supposed position, I shall not at all times be ready, in the way in question, to employ my labours towards the production of. Try me—examine me—for the purpose of the experiment, set imagination to work, to paint the effect in any the most terrific colours—my answer is still the same.*
Taking this course, in this way (it seems to me,) and in no other, can a man, in my supposed position, steer clear of two opposite errors:—over-scrupulosity, and insincerity.
Take the case of the over-scrupulous man. In his judgment the measure given to him to shape is, to a certain degree, an unfit one. What follows? He turns his back upon it, declaring that he will have nothing to do with it. Of ill-humour, thus expressed, a merit is commonly, at the same time, made. Such is his purity, nothing will he have to do with evil in any shape. Nothing to do with evil?—then nothing will he have to do with government. For what is government but a choice of evils? Government operates not but by coercion: coercion can not be produced but by punishment. Coercion—punishment—are they not evils? if they are not, then what else is? Employed to produce a more than equivalent good, or to exclude a greater evil, does an evil change its nature? No more than a sum of money does, by being carried to the one or to the other side of an account.
Most completely incompatible would any such scrupulosity be, with the performance of the sort of service for which I am thus offering myself. For, if, after having been in the first instance presented by me, my proposed Code were to be returned to me,—for me, in pursuance of certain instructions, to propose amendments to it,—how could it happen, but that, among the provisions thus required at my hands, there should be a considerable number that would, in my sight, be unfit ones?—comparatively, at least, if not absolutely evil ones?
The other error is that of insincerity. In any other position than my supposed one, this, of the two errors, is that, of which it is scarce necessary to say, that it is the one most frequently exemplified, and everywhere most likely so to be. Not only by their votes, but by their discourses, do men give their support in public to that one of two opposite measures, which in their own eyes,—as privately confessed, or otherwise demonstrated,—is least beneficial, or most pernicious. This is what, in every country, the man of law, who has a piece of gold for his fee—confessing it, for how can he deny it?—does for the half of his public life. This is what, in this country, the man of politics—more particularly the legislator, who, lest sincerity or probity in any shape should be possible, has an office for his fee—does for the whole of his public life. Whether in this our legislature such a course is necessary—consistent with utility—consistent with probity,—I stay not—I need not stay—to inquire. Sure I am—and to the present purpose this is quite sufficient—sure I am that,—in a situation such as that here in question, in the situation in which the acceptance of this my offer would place me,—no such vice would either be necessary, or of any use. In this supposed situation—such is the felicity of it—without any the least particle of insincerity, it would, on every occasion, be in a man’s power to render every particle of service, which it would be in man’s power to render, with the most consummate contempt for the law of sincerity. Whatsoever is required of him, that he does: laying before the eyes of his employers for their choice, as well that which in his own eyes is unfit, as that which in his own eyes is fitting, to be done. This being the case, in what way would his employers be the better served,—any more than his own mind and conduct be the more pure,—if—to save himself from being seen to be working in contrariety to his own opinion,—he were to misrepresent his own opinion—to give an untrue account of it—stating it as being favourable to that to which it is really adverse,—adverse to that to which it is really favourable. Here would be a cloak—a most costly one—and where would be the use of it? Yet, in the ordinary situation of a member having speech and vote in a legislative assembly,—as often as it happened to him to propose for adoption a measure, or any the least particle of a measure, which at the same time were in his eyes an unfit one, this would be his only alternative, viz. either to put on and wear a cloak of this kind, or take that course, for the liberty of taking which I am here stipulating:—viz. the preparing for expected adoption a measure, which, by his own confession, is, in his own eyes, an unfit one.
Sir, you now see—and I hope in a pretty strong light—one of the effects—a happy one, I think, you will acknowledge it to be—of the position in which, with reference to you, I should stand. Obsequiousness,—of the sort, and in the degree here in question,—to carry it to the length above described, would, in this my supposed position, cost a man much less, working for you at your distance, and such as you are, than it would to carry it to any thing like an equal length, working for government here. Working for you, he would be working for a master who has not so much as a penny—no, not so much as a ribbon to give. Doing any such work here, he could not work but under a master who has pence to give in abundance:—pence, which men in abundance are at all times so ready to earn—to earn at any price. At the same time,—even in favour of the particular—the personal interest—of this master,—even an honest man’s judgment could not but lead him to do many things; the necessity of such his situation many more. So many of these things as he should thus have been doing, so many are the occasions on which lips there would be—lips not a few—to open and cry aloud—All this is for the pence! But, between you and me, Sir, not a penny can be so much as supposed to pass. For the like reason, even among yourselves, working under you, one of yourselves could not be so free,—so free, I mean from all suspicion, from all danger of disrespect on the score of obsequiousness,—as I should be. Why? Because, for one of yourselves (not to speak of power, still less of ribbons,) thriftily and wisely as your pence are distributed—you, even you, have always pence.
Sir, it is to a feast that I am thus bidding you. Join hands with me, you and I will govern the world. Sir, I will show you how we will govern it. Independently of the reasons on which it is grounded, and by the contemplation of which it has been produced,—my own opinion not being, even in its own estimation, worth anything, never do I declare it (you understand the sort of occasion of which I am speaking) without declaring at the same time these reasons. If, then, you have a code from me, the code you thus have, will be one that is a code accompanied with reasons. Of this code, some part, I may hope—hope without much overweeningness—some part, however small—will be sanctioned by your concurrence. Here, then, will be, in authority as well as in existence, a code supported throughout by reasons. Hereupon, seeing that neither to establish, any more than to pen, a code, supported throughout by reason, is a thing impossible, government will, in this or that other state, become ashamed of giving out codes, altogether destitute of this support. But it is by the nature of things, that reasons, in so far as they are good ones, are made: made they cannot be, as laws may be and are, by any man that has power—by any such man at pleasure. Giving reasons everywhere, rulers will not, everywhere, without giving such as they would be ashamed to give, be able to give reasons, nor therefore to give laws, altogether different from ours: and thus, you see, our empire spreads itself. To be sure, even for the earliest of these conquests, there is one of us that must wait till he is dead. But this is no more than what he has always been prepared for: this is that, of which no man could ever be more fully aware than he is. As for you, Sir, over some of your neighbours, at least, your reign—I see not what should hinder it—may commence in your lifetime. Over Morocco, or China, or even over Russia (not to speak of the empire, with the long-winded and round-about name, called by the Greeks in one word Holophthoria) I dare not promise you that you will thus speedily cast forth your shoe: but, for any delay which human perversity may oppose to you in these distant regions, I flatter myself you will have made up your mind. In the meantime, the men of superior wit and wisdom all over the world,—in whose nomenclature utility and mischievousness are synonymous terms, and to whom the idea of any increase to human comfort would, but for the matter it affords for derision, be an afflicting one,—will make their sport of us: and even this effect, so far as it goes, even this effect, taken by itself, will, in my estimation at least, be a good one.
As on the one hand, if the observations above submitted be just, in instructions of the obligatory kind you cannot, in the first instance, be too sparing,—so, on the other hand, in instructions of the informative kind, you cannot be too liberal. For keeping my will in the right path, nothing can be wanting to me: for to you, Sir (I speak in the plural number) a will such as mine is nothing. For proving and keeping my understanding in the right path, I have no less wish than need for everything that you can give me. Information I mean, as correct and complete as can be given, on the subject of all those circumstances, by which your country is distinguished from that in which I write, and thence the mind of the people of your country stands distinguished from that which is the most familiar to me: and, as to documents,—besides those, if any, which, though in existence, never having been as yet made public, are consequently not only out of my power, but even out of my knowledge,—those which, though published in America, not being as yet published in this country, would, all of them, be, for some time, out of my power to obtain, and, with few exceptions, are as yet out of my knowledge.*
On this subject, besides the above general requests, I have two or three particular ones to trouble you with. One is—that whatsoever parts of the mass of information are purchasable, may be set down to my account, whereupon, as soon as received, the whole amount shall be promptly and thankfully repaid; and that, in case of acceptance, the transmission of the letter informing me of it may not be made to wait a moment,—or, to speak more pertinently, a ship,—for the collecting of any part of this documentary mass.
The case is—that at my age, and with my constitution, there is no time to lose. Memory, and capacity for dispatch, have already, I perceive, undergone considerable enfeeblement: and the state of my eyes is already such as forbids the using them for any purpose of entertainment—for any sort or quantity of reading, beyond what is necessary for the purpose of what I write. If whatever aptitude for the task in other respects I may be thought to possess, were already, or threatened to be, in any similar degree diminished,—no such offer as the present would have escaped from me. But, by every day, during which, without sickness, life may be continued to me,—as far as I or my friends can judge,—that aptitude, instead of being diminished, not only has been, but promises to be increased. Why?—because it depends upon those logical arrangements, which, being already consigned to paper, enable me, as if by an algebraic process, to discover on each occasion, so far as the facts that bear upon the case are known, whatsoever requires to be discovered: and, in the application of which, the more frequently and thoroughly the mind is exercised, the more perfect it is made.
For these same reasons, another request that I have to make is—that if, in your individual judgment, Sir, the offer should seem to possess a chance more or less considerable, of obtaining acceptance at the hands of the legislature, information to that effect may be transmitted to me by the earliest opportunity, no opportunity being suffered to be lost by waiting for the determination of the legislature.
After a declaration, the frankness of which will, I hope, stand excused by the necessity,—postponement and rejection will be the same thing. If, after having commenced, I live not to complete the service, the very last of my thoughts will be at any rate devoted to it.
From the pen of a man already far advanced in his 67th year, marks of eagerness and impatience, such as these,—impatience to be set down to a task of assiduous, and, in the ordinary sense of the word pay, unpaid labour, to the end of his small remnant of life, may perhaps provoke a smile. But I know not to what worthier object the labour of any being in human shape could be directed: and,—being, with or without sufficient grounds, impressed with the hope of my having, by the already bestowed labour of near half a century, rendered myself better qualified than a man unexercised, or even a man much less exercised, in the same time, is likely to be, for rendering to a political state, and thence to mankind at large, service, intellectual and moral, in this its most important of all simply human shapes,—it would be but an ill conclusion of such a course of labour, to leave untried or undone, anything that promised to contribute, in any degree, to the accomplishment of the object of it.
Penetrated with that respect, which your eminent situation, and the reports that have reached me of your conduct in that situation, could not fail to inspire, I have the honour to subscribe myself, Sir, your faithful, though as yet unbidden servant,
[* ]To avoid starting, at this premature period, any subject capable of being found pregnant with doubts and differences,—for the experiment, let us take such cases, as being among the strongest that can be imagined, are thereby among those which are surest not to happen. Descending then from these elevations, we shall, by force of the argument à fortiori, be able, with the greater ease, to clear the ground of all such difficulties, as might otherwise have presented themselves.
[* ]Forms of conveyance—such as are most in use,—and forms of judicial procedure in every sort of judicatory,—would be particularly useful, not to say necessary, to me; of these, a considerable part at least, must (I should suppose) be in print.