Front Page Titles (by Subject) PART II.: PUBLIC INSTRUCTION. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 4
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PART II.: PUBLIC INSTRUCTION. - 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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(Circular.)—Letter from His Excellency Wilson Cary Nicholas, Governor of Virginia, on the subject of Public Instruction.—Addressed (the copy of which this is a transcript) to His Excellency John Quincy Adams, Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States, London—Received by him 17th September 1816.
Richmond, May 30th, 1816.
By a resolution of the General Assembly of Virginia, the president and directors of the Literary Fund are requested to digest and report a system of public education, calculated to give effect to the appropriations made to that object by the legislature, and to comprehend in such system the establishment of one university, and such additional colleges, academies, and schools, as shall diffuse the benefits of education throughout the commonwealth, and such rules for the government of such university, colleges, academies, and schools, as shall produce economy in the expenditures for the establishment and maintenance of good order and discipline in the management thereof. As President of the Board, the duty devolves on me, to collect from every source the information necessary for this important object.
The great cause of literature and science is not local in its nature, but is an object of interest to the whole human species. The commonwealth of letters embraces every region, however remote. It cannot fail to excite pleasing emotions in every enlightened American, to perceive that Virginia has taken this subject under its patronage, and devoted a fund to its accomplishment, which is annually increasing. To you, Sir, I think it proper to address myself, knowing your attachment to literature, and feeling great confidence, that you will not consider your valuable time misspent in communicating any ideas which may promote so useful an object.
I can assure you, they will be received with that high sense of obligation, which their importance must inspire. I have the honour to be, with great respect, Sir, your humble servant,
Wilson Cary Nicholas.*
(Circular.)—To the Governor of the State of
Queen-Square Place, Westminster,
This letter waits upon you, in company with one on the subject of Codification. By that letter, the offer is made of a work to be eventually undertaken in future: by the present one, your acceptance is requested for two works, both of them already executed. One of them is comprised in the compass of a single whole-sheet table: it consists of a summary view of the system or mode of instruction, termed sometimes the new system of instruction, sometimes, from the inventors, the Bell and Lancaster system, the utility of which has already, in so many other countries as well as in that which gave it birth, received such ample testimony from experience. In the sheet in question, there is very little that can be called mine, except the compression and arrangement which I have endeavoured to give to the matter of it. Of the opinion, which, by a judge of acknowledged and official competence, Comte Delasteyrie, has been formed of the sort and degree of service rendered by the execution of this minor and subordinate task, the expression may be seen in a letter from Paris, with which I was honoured by that gentleman, in consequence of a copy of this same table, which without any accompanying letter had been transmitted to him.
The other is a work altogether my own, intituled Chrestomathia, written for the purpose of extending, and applying to the ulterior and higher branches of learning, for the use of the higher and more opulent classes, the mode of instruction, already applied with such undisputed success, to the primordial and elementary branches, for the use of the least opulent, and most populous classes. The proposed institution having already, in a quantum nearly sufficient for its commencement, received the requisite pecuniary support from a number of distinguished characters,—a building, upon a new plan of architectural construction, styled the Panopticon plan, the idea of which first originated with my brother (my only and younger brother, Sir Samuel Bentham,) is on the point of being commenced, within view of St. James’s Park, in a quarter of my garden which has been allotted to the purpose. As to the book intituled Chrestomathia, though it has not as yet quite reached the extent originally proposed to be given to it, it may, as to the main purposes of it, be considered as a work already executed. It has not yet been made public in this country in the way of sale, but is expected to be out in a few days. What there is of it at present consists of two parts. Of Part I., being all of it the printing of which had been completed, a copy, in compliance with the general invitation, given in a printed circular by the then Governor of Virginia, dated Richmond, May 30th, 1816, and received in London on the 17th September of that year, was soon after, by Mr. Adams, to whom, in his quality of minister plenipotentiary of the American United States, a copy of that circular had been addressed, received from me at his desire, and transmitted to the State from whence the invitation came. Of Part II., consisting of an essay of the logical kind, on the subject of Nomenclature and Classification, the need of which had been suggested by the general map of the field of learning, described by Lord Bacon, and executed by D’Alembert for the first French Encyclopædia, the publication had waited for some Tabular Sketches, the printing of which has just now been completed.
A circumstance, by reason of which this work on Nomenclature and Classification in general may, in addition to its more general and principal use, be considered as forming a not altogether unapt accompaniment to the offer made of the draught of an all-comprehensive Code of Law, is this:—viz. that in the aggregate of the logical conceptions to which expression is given in this part of Chrestomathia, a sort of instrument is supposed to have been constructed, by the help of which a new sort of security is supposed to be afforded, for the connected qualities of clearness, correctness, and completeness: qualities, upon the degree of which so essentially depend, whatsoever beneficial effects can be looked for from a discourse of any kind, and in particular from any discourse designed to produce the effect of law.
Paris, ce 23 Aout, 1815.
J’ai reçu votre 2d Table Chrestomathique sur le système de Lancaster. L’ordre systématique et précis, avec lequel vous tracez les avantages, l’importance, et les applications, que présente ce nouveau moyen d’instruction, apprendra à l’Europe à mieux connoître toute son importance, et vous contribuerez ainsi à lui donner un plus grand dévelopement.
Nous faisons des efforts pour parvenir au grand but que se proposent tous les philanthropes éclairés de l’Angleterre. Nous ne pouvons pas y parvenir avec la même rapidité, vû les circonstances désastreuses qui accablent la France, et le système de destruction et de ravage qui y règne. Mais les mauvaises choses n’ont qu’un temps, et espérons que celui des bonnes arrivera un jour.
Je suis bien flatté que cette circonstance me procure le plaisir de vous témoigner les sentimens d’estime et de vénération que m’ont procuré depuis long-temps vos travaux, si utiles à l’humanité.
C. P. Delasteyrie.
I have received your second Chrestomathic Table, relative to the system of Lancaster. The systematic and precise order, with which you trace the advantages, the importance, and the applications presented by this new instrument of instruction, will render Europe better acquainted with the whole compass of its importance, and you will thus contribute greatly to the development of it.
Our exertions are directing themselves to the attainment of the great end, which the enlightened philanthropists of England propose to themselves. We cannot make our way towards it with the same rapidity, by reason of the disasters in which France is overwhelmed, and the system of destruction and ravage which has place there. But the bad things of this world have but their time, and one day, let us hope, the good ones will take their place.
It is a circumstance very flattering to me, that the occasion affords me the pleasure of testifying those sentiments of esteem and veneration, which in my mind have for this long time been among the fruits of those labours of yours, which have been so useful to mankind.
C. P. Delasteyrie.
Notice concerning Chrestomathia, by the Paris Lancasterian Instruction Society.
Appendix, p. 20.—A “General Report,” made by the Parisian Society, “on the situation of Schools established on the principle of Mutual Instruction in the Departments, the Capital, and its Vicinity, followed by an Extract from Foreign Correspondence: read by M. Jomard, one of the Secretaries of the Society, at the General Meeting of the 23d of August 1816.”
Ibid. p. 28.—England.—We have received from England interesting accounts on the improvement of schools, particularly on the application of the system to the instruction of adults, which will be the object of a separate report.
The account of the establishment, projected in London by Mr. Bentham, to turn the new system to the profit of the middling class of society, and apply it to the tuition of languages, drawing, and sciences, is the most important information that the society have received from England, since the last general meeting. The method has just been introduced into the English School of Artillery, for the instruction of mathematics: and new Greek and Latin grammars have been compiled to serve for the study of those languages on the same principles.
[For some further notices, coming properly under the head of “Public Instruction,” vide supra, Part I. p. 530.]
these reasons being expressive of the considerations, by which the several arrangements have been presented, as being, in a higher degree than any other, conducive tothe greatest happiness of the greatest number,of the individuals of whom the community in question is composed:
RESPECTING THE HANDS, BY WHICH THE ORIGINAL DRAUGHT OF A WORK OF THE SORT IN QUESTION, MAY, WITH MOST ADVANTAGE, BE COMPOSED:
INTIMATION, FROM THE AUTHOR, TO THE COMPETENT AUTHORITIES IN THE SEVERAL NATIONS AND POLITICAL STATES,
expressive of HIS DESIRE AND READINESS TO DRAW UP, FOR THEIR USE RESPECTIVELY,
ORIGINAL DRAUGHT OF A BODY OF LAW,
such as above proposed.
originally printed in 1822.
[* ]Note well, in conjunction with the end proposed by this presiding citizen of this American State, the means employed by him for the accomplishment of it: end in view, maximizing the subserviency of the proposed institution, to the public objects to the furtherance of which it is directed; viz. maximization of the quantity and value of the body of intellectual endowment and active talent in the several shapes in question; in other words, maximization of the extent, as measured by the number of the individuals in question: of the extent to which, as well as of the degree of promptitude with which, communication of the several branches of instruction shall respectively be made: means employed for compassing the end—collecting from all nations the appropriate lights.