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PART II.—TESTIMONIALS. - 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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*∗* The occasion on which this opinion was declared, is that of a motion made by Sir Francis Burdett, Member for Westminster, for the purpose of introducing a series of resolutions, framed, and known to have been framed, by Mr. Bentham, at Sir Francis’s desire, to serve as a basis for a reformed representation of the people, on the ground of universality, secresy, equality, and annuality of suffrage.
The publication, from which the matter is extracted, is intituled, “Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates.” Mr. Hansard is son to the printer to the House of Commons.
The ground, on which it is stated, in this general way, as the opinion of the House of Commons, is this:—In the House, as in the nation, there were, then as now, three parties: the Tories, the Whigs, and the Radicals: these last so called as being the partisans of a radical reform in the Commons’ House. Of the Tories, the leanings are on the side of monarchy; of the Whigs, on the side of aristocracy; of the Radicals, on the side of democracy. On this occasion, Sir Francis Burdett spoke on the side of the Radicals; Mr. Canning, on the Tories’ side: Mr. Brougham took the lead on the Whig side. On the Radical side, there was but one speech—that of Sir Francis Burdett: on the Tory side, but that one speech—that of Mr. Canning: on the Whig side, there were four speeches—Mr. Brougham’s, Mr. Lamb’s, Mr. Parnell’s, and Mr. William Smith’s. In no speech, other than Sir Francis Burdett’s and Mr. Brougham’s, is any mention made of Mr. Bentham: whatever was said in approbation of him by those two gentlemen, stands therefore uncontroverted. Generosity and discretion are competitors for the honour of this silence. Sir Samuel Romilly, known as the old and intimate friend and disciple of Mr. Bentham, was then on his seat in the House: by his silence, the particular appeal, made to him by Mr. Brougham, stands confirmed. He was, heart and head, a Radical: but could not, consistently with any chance of doing what little good he was permitted to do in matters of detail, declare himself as such. Mr. Brougham, on this occasion, is seen taking, off the shoulders of the Tories, the burthen of the defence of the existing system against the attack of the Radicals. As to interests, in the existing system of waste and corruption, the Whigs and the Tories have one common interest: the only difference is—as to the class of hands, by which the profit shall be reaped.
At the end of the report of Sir Francis Burdett’s speech, “The above,” says the reporter in Hansard’s debates, “is an imperfect account of a speech, which was listened to by both sides of the House with the deepest attention.”—Ed. of original Edition.
Extracts from Sir Francis Burdett’s Speech.
“Since that period, the question of reform had been greatly agitated: the ablest men of the age had fully discussed it, and sifted it to the bottom. Above all, Mr. Bentham had, with unrivalled ability, proved how easy and safe it was to carry the principles of reform into practical effect.”
“Annual Parliaments and the most extensive mode of suffrage had been advocated by the late Duke of Richmond, in his famous letter to Colonel Sharman, with a strength of argument quite unanswerable. The same principles had been investigated and maintained with additional force and acuteness and philosophical accuracy, accompanied with complete demonstration of the safety with which they might be reduced to practice, by Bentham. If any anti-reformer could answer Mr. Bentham’s arguments, he would do more efficacious service to reformers and anti-reformers, than could ever be effected by dealing out false imputations and unsubstantiated slander, these being, with a due portion of misrepresentation and exaggeration, the only intellectual weapons hitherto employed by the enemies, against the friends, of reform.”
“If it could be shown that the most comprehensive suffrage would produce no inconvenience in practice, it ought not in justice to be withheld. Mr. Bentham had, by incontrovertible arguments, demonstrated that no danger whatever would arise from the most extensive suffrage that could be established.”
Extract from Mr. Brougham’s Speech.
“From this charge of inconsistency there was one great authority who was exempt—he meant Mr. Bentham. He had the greatest respect for that gentleman. There existed not a more honest or ingenuous mind than he possessed. He knew no man who had passed a more honourable and useful life. Removed from the turmoil of active life, voluntarily abandoning both emoluments and the power which it held out to dazzle ambitious and worldly minds, he had passed his days in the investigation of the most important truths, and had reached a truly venerable, although, he hoped, not an extreme old age. To him he meant not to impute either inadequate information, or insufficient industry, or defective sagacity. But he hoped he should not be deemed disrespectful towards Mr. Bentham, if he said that his plan of parliamentary reform showed that he had dealt more with books than with men. He agreed with his honourable friend, the Member for Arundel (Sir S. Romilly,)* who looked up to Mr. Bentham with the almost filial reverence of a pupil for his tutor, in wishing that he had never written that work. But Mr. Bentham was a real advocate for universal suffrage. He was a far more sturdy, and infinitely more consistent reformer than the honourable baronet, as he gave votes not only to all men, but to all women also. He drew no line at all; he weighed not with practical nicety the claims of different classes; he recollected that his principle was universal; he tossed away the rule and the scale altogether, and without restriction let in all: young or old, men or women, sane or insane, all must vote—all must have a voice in electing their representatives. He did not even sanction the exceptions which the honourable baronet seemed inclined to admit with respect to persons of an unsound mind.
“The veteran reformer (Major Cartwright) had lately favoured the world with a plan of suffrage, illustrated by plates, where balloting-boxes, ball-trays, &c. &c. in most accurate array, met the eager gaze of the much-edified inquirer. Now Mr. Bentham was the patron of the ballot, and his doctrine was, that all who can ballot, may enjoy the elective franchise. The moment a person of either sex was able to put a pellet into a box, no matter whether he were insane, and had one of the keepers of a mad-house to guide him, still Mr. Bentham said, that though he did not support the utility of allowing idiots or mad persons to vote for their own sakes, yet rather than make any distinction, he would allow them, as they could not do any harm, and the unbending consistency might do some good. Mr. Bentham had such an invincible objection to lines of every description, that he could not admit of one being drawn, even at the gates of Bedlam. It was not necessary for him to controvert doctrines of this nature, but they were certainly consistent with each other; and he did not think himself uncharitable in saying, that some of the principles promulgated in that House were nearly as chimerical and visionary without being at all consistent.”
In page 1151, stands the following note to the word Brougham, at the commencement of Mr. Brougham’s speech:—
“As the speech of Mr. Brougham on this occasion was deemed of peculiar importance in a party view, and with respect to the line taken by the Whigs on the question of parliamentary reform, it was hoped he might have been able to print a corrected account of it. But we understand that it was made unexpectedly, without any previous intention of speaking having been entertained by him: so that he could not comply with the wish generally expressed.
Extract from Sir Francis Burdett’s Reply.
“The learned gentleman (Mr. Brougham,) whilst he professed himself friendly to reform, had at the same time attempted to render ridiculous the ablest advocate which reform had ever found—the illustrious and unrivalled Bentham. It was in vain, however, for the learned gentleman to attempt, by stale jokes and misapplied sarcasm, to undervalue the efforts, of a mind the most comprehensive, informed, accurate, acute, and philosophical, that had perhaps in any time or in any country been applied to the subject of legislation, and which, fortunately for mankind, had been brought to bear upon reform, the most important of all political subjects. The abilities of Bentham, the learned gentleman could not dispute—his disinterestedness he could not deny—his benevolence he could not but admire—and his unremitted labours he would do well to respect, and not to attempt to disparage. The conviction of such a mind after mature investigation, overcoming preconceived prejudice, could not be represented as the result of wild and visionary speculation; and the zealous and honest adherents of the cause of reform might be well contented to rest the question on the foundations, broad and deep, upon which Bentham had placed it. The learned gentleman, therefore, unless he found himself competent at least to attempt to answer the reasons of Bentham, ought, for his own sake, to be more cautious how he endeavoured to misrepresent those reasons, or to effect by mis-statement, what he was unable to accomplish by argument.”
The motion was got rid of, by a motion for the order of the day. On the division, there were:—For the order of the day, ayes 106; noes 0, except Sir Francis Burdett and Lord Cochrane, members for Westminster, the two tellers. The Whigs joining with the Tories. The resolutions moved were by this means prevented from being entered upon the journals of the house. At the instance of Sir Francis Burdett, these resolutions had been drawn by Mr. Bentham. They were employed as drawn, with the exception of two resolutions which had been inserted for the purpose of completing the view given of the constitution in all its parts, but without expectation of their being employed: the one bearing so hard on the monarchical, the other on the aristocratical branch. In addition to the above important changes, a few of minor importance might perhaps be found. They were made, all of them, without concert with Mr. Bentham, he having given up the matter without reserve to his friend, on whom alone all responsibility rested.
Observations from without doors on the above Speech of Mr. Brougham.
As to minors under the age of 21, that which is insinuated in this speech, viz. that Mr. Bentham’s plan gave admission to their votes, is not true. It provided for their exclusion.
As to persons insane, it forbore excluding them, because it would be almost an even chance whether their votes would be on the right side, or the wrong side; because the greater part would be kept from the place of voting by the judicial procedure that authorized their confinement; because if all that voted were on the wrong side, their number would not suffice to produce any practical ill effect; and because the admission given to them excluded those disputes and litigations to which, in this or that individual case, the question sanity or insanity might give birth.
On the admission of females Mr. Bentham’s plan forbore to lay much stress: because it found no grounds for any very determinate assurance, that in that case the result would be materially different; and because no minds could be expected to be at present prepared for it. But it declared that it could find no reasons for exclusion, and that those who in support of it gave a sneer or a laugh for a reason, because they could not find a better, had no objection to the vesting of absolute power in that sex and in a single hand: so that it was not without palpable inconsistency and self condemnation, that the exclusion they put upon this class could be brought forward.
Criminals are another class, to which, in Mr. Bentham’s plan, the door is left unclosed, and upon the same or similar reasons. In this case, considered as a ground of exclusion, criminality means mischievousness, or it is nothing to the purpose. But if mischievousness—that is to say, such a presumption of future as is afforded by past mischievousness, were a sufficient ground for exclusion,—a much stronger ground for it would be afforded by a seat in either house, than by a situation in a penal prison or a hulk: the mischief produced, to which in both houses a vast majority of the members are constantly contributing, is produced upon the largest scale: the mischief produced by the inhabitants of the penal prison and the hulks is produced upon the smallest scale.
The supposed errors in Mr. Bentham’s plan of parliamentary reform are, by Mr. Brougham, imputed to his having “dealt more with books than with men.” But, in this very instance, it was by his knowledge of men that he was guided, and in the teeth of those notions that are so uniformly inculcated in books: and more particularly in all law books. In these, a fundamental and continually employed principle is—that the quantity of virtue is in the ratio of the quantity of power directly: in his conceptions, inversely. Witness the twelve Cæsars: witness all eastern monarchs, not to speak of others: witness the allied despots.
Mr. Bentham (says Mr. Brougham) “drew no line at all.” This is not correct. He drew a line between the greatest multitude of the apt and the unapt for the exercise of this power: the same line that, without his knowledge, was at that same time drawing by the framers of the Spanish constitution; viz. that between those who are able, and those who are unable to read, that is, to receive the evidence—which the judgment, the electors give by their votes, has for its grounds. By this line, the benefits sought for in admission, and the benefits sought for in exclusion, are conjoined. It excludes all those who have not made this only proof, that can be made, of appropriate aptitude: and yet it excludes no man: for, this proof, it puts it in the power of every man to give.
Nothing has been more annoying to the corruptionists, Tory and Whig together, than this test, which the Spanish and the English radical reformists were, each without knowledge of the other, thus occupied in framing at the same time. Coming to the reading qualification, “This we protest against,” says the Edinburgh Review, in its critique on Mr. Bentham’s parliamentary reform plan—“we protest against it.” So far the pen went. At that point it stuck: stuck like a tongue stopt by a locked-jaw. Reason not being to be found, the whole authority of the work was thus brought out in form to supply her place. The interest—it need scarcely be observed—the same interest which produced the speech in the House of Commons, produced, much about the same time, the article in the Edinburgh Review. Where the shadow of an answer presented itself, the shadow was employed: where not so much as a shadow could be found, the argument was left unnoticed. A sufficient refutation of speech and article together, might, it is believed, be afforded by a bare list of the arguments which in both are passed unnoticed.
As to Mr. Bentham,—on the field of legislation, no man ever copied so little from books: no man ever drew so much from observations made on man. He has not had much acquaintance with drawing-rooms: none with levees. But he has had some acquaintance with cottages, and much with offices. He has been in the secrets of ministers: and, from 1783 to the present, there has not been a ministry with which he has not been in relation, nor from which he has not received marks of confidence.
But Mr. Brougham and Mr. Bentham were, and are, and always have been, friends: and assuredly, not the less so for that speech: and, consistently with that opposition which situations necessitate, nothing (it is seen) could be more friendly, than the opposition given by the friend in the senate to the friend in the closet.—Ed. of original Edition.
My dear Bentham,—
I cannot sufficiently express to you, how sensible I am to the interest you take in our Genevan Penal Code, and how grateful for the generous offer you make to us: it goes beyond everything that I could have asked of you. Well may you regard this undertaking of ours with a fatherly affection, considering with what truth it is, that, from the first mention of this affair, I declared to our commission, that the whole of the matter I should have to submit to them, not plan only but details likewise, had been extracted from your manuscripts.
The conversation I have been having with Mr. K., and which he will have reported to you, had for its principal object, the showing to him, that what you looked for had, virtually and impliedly, been already done. I had declared to our penal law commission, that I found myself at a stand, because in your manuscripts there were gaps, which on my own part I could not flatter myself with the being able to fill up: many articles omitted or left unfinished, under the head of offences against condition in life: nothing, absolutely nothing, under the head of offences against justice. I said, moreover, that there were many questions, on which I had asked your opinion by letter, and that for answer you had given me an invitation to visit you in the country, in consideration of the difficulty of carrying on discussions, on matters of this nature, in the way of epistolary correspondence. I had requested leave of absence for five months, that I might come to England: and this suspension, though contrary to the general instructions we of the commission had received from our government, considering the recommendation to us to use all the diligence that the nature of the subject admitted of,—was granted without difficulty.
In regard to all such articles as we have drawn up as yet, nothing has been definitively established: the whole will be to be recast, before we have done; so that, as to the titles, as well general as particular, that have passed through the hands of the commission, you are not to consider them as anything but faint sketches, which will be to be gone over again.
It is I that am reporter to the commission; that is to say, to me appertains the initiative function, and the conduct of the business. Considering that it is under your auspices that it commenced—considering the declarations made by me, that it was on no other ground than that of your manuscripts that I could work,—you have all the moral security which the nature of the case admits of, that everything that you do for us, even the whole matter of the code, without regard to anything we have done already, will be received with gratitude, and examined with care: and, if there be this or that point, on which the commission fails to adopt your ideas,—the failure will certainly not have for its cause either negligence, indolence, or any unfavourable prepossession: for, the contrary disposition is already effectually manifested, by the admission given to your plan, and to the titles general and particular. In relation to this matter, I regard myself as warranted in giving you the strongest assurance: and I am persuaded, that there is not one of my colleagues that would not join with me, in soliciting at your hands the magnificent work of which you give me the promise, and which you alone are capable of executing.
I have commissioned Mr. K. to desire of you that, as the work proceeds, a copy may be taken at my expense, that the original may remain in your hands, and because it would not be possible for me to occupy myself with the translation here,* considering my other occupations.
Cross of Malta. Patriotic Society of the Friends of the Constitution. Letter, introducing an instrument, constituting Mr. Bentham an Honorary Member—Madrid, 18th Sept. 1820.—(N. B. Though this Society was not of the number of the constituted authorities, its freedom, added to its numerousness, rendered its testimony but the more valuable.)
The patriotic society of Friends of the Constitution, established in the Malta Coffeehouse of this Corte, have, in a public meeting, heard read, from the tribune, the work, addressed by you to all liberal Spaniards: and, as a testimonial of the gratitude with which the people of this capital in general, and this society in particular, have received and appropriated this one of the literary fruits of your illustrious mind, have the honour of transmitting to you the title of honorary associate, saluting you with sentiments of the most intimate fraternity.
The Citizen President Patricio Moore.
Andrei Rogo, del Canizal,Secretary.
Citizen Jeremias Bentham.
Don Augustin Arguelles, Minister of the Interior, requesting the opinion of Mr. Bentham on the subject of Jury Trial.—Madrid. No date. Received through the Spanish Mission, 22d January 1821.
Dear and most esteemed Sir,—
I have received, through various channels, your different works on matters of law and politics. Sincerely grateful for such a distinction as this, I feel more and more regret, that my ill fortune deprived me of the pleasure of knowing you personally when I was in your country in 1806-7, and my friend and countryman Mendoza de Rios, who was your friend also, was very desirous that I should visit you, and even spoke to me about it: but a severe indisposition, that tormented me during the two years of my abode in London, deprived me of that pleasure. Though I had proposed to myself to write to you on various matters connected with the events of Spain, I was obliged to abandon the intention for want of time. That which I infinitely desire, and should deem a singular favour, would be that you should communicate to me your ideas on the institution of the jury. Out of England, the genuine character of this tribunal is not well understood. A clear and circumstantial exposition, of the mode of proceeding in criminal cases by jury, would be very useful: and, at the same time, I should desire, if possible, that you should tell me your opinion on the following queries:—
“In a country where a jury has not been established, and in which there are party-divisions, can it be introduced without that party-spirit’s mingling with their verdict?”
“What precautions ought to be taken, to secure the impartiality of the jury under such circumstances?”
I trust that your goodness, and your ardent love of liberty, will pardon this my presumption, availing myself of this opportunity to offer you my respect and friendly consideration, entreating you to dispose, in any way most agreeable to you, of the esteem and attachment of your most obedient servant,
P. S.—I write to you in my own language, as many years have elapsed since I wrote in English.
Don José Canga Arguelles, Minister of Finance, expressing the desire of the Gobierno (composed of himself and the other six Ministers) to receive from Mr. Bentham, in pursuance of an offer of his, the draught of an all-comprehensive and rationalized Code, as described in Part I.—Madrid, 20th February 1821.
Mr. Jeremy Bentham—Sir,
Don Diego Colon has transmitted to me the letter you wrote to him, offering to form a complete code of laws for Spain. It belonging to the minister of grace and justice to take cognizance of the object to which it refers, I have delivered it to him, in order that he may arrange with his Majesty such resolution as he may deem fit.
This is all that it has been competent to me to do in this business: but I cannot but declare to you, with the greatest satisfaction on my own part, that the wishes which animate you to serve my country so usefully, are highly grateful to the Gobierno—and that, for my own part, I have for this long time entertained the highest respect for that mass of intellectual light, of which you have given such resplendent proofs, and which has obtained for you the estimation and honourable name you bear, among all who know how to appreciate merit and distinguished talents. On this consideration, I remain at your disposal, Sir, your most respectful and obedient servant,
(Signed) Joseph Canga Arguelles.
El Conde de Toreno, Deputy to the late Cortes, requesting Observations from Mr. Bentham, on the subject of the proposed Penal Code—6th August 1821.
Paris, le 6 Août 1821.
Monsieur J. Bentham—
Monsieur, Notre commun ami Mr. Bowring veut bien se charger de vous faire passer le volume ci-joint, qui comprend le projet du code penal présenté par le comité à la deliberation des Cortes, qui doit avoir lieu l’hiver prochain. Vous y verrez des choses bonnes, d’autres fort mauvaises. N’allez pas pourtant vous effrayer, Monsieur, des articles qui parlent sur la religion: celà ne passera pas: le tems des persecutions en Espagne n’existe plus, et, malgré toutes les lois, il y a dans le fait une tolerance très grande. Je soumets. Monsieur, à vos lumières, et à la profondeur de votre esprit et de vos connaissances, ce projet. Ayez la complaisance de me faire passer vos observations, d’ici aux derniers jours de Septembre, que je dois retourner en Espagne: je vous en serai extrêmement redevable: j’en profiterai dans la discussion. A qui pourrais-je en effet mieux m’adresser, qu’au constant défenseur de l’humanité, et au profond écrivain de tant d’ouvrages célèbres sur la legislation?
Soyez sûr, Monsieur, du plaisir, et même du devoir, que je me ferai, d’écouter vos conseils dans cette matière, et de l’empressment que je mettrai toujours de vous offrir l’hommage de mon admiration, et de ma profonde consideration.
Le Comte de Toreno.
Paris, 6th August 1821.
Mr. J. Bentham—
Sir, Our common friend Mr. Bowring has the goodness to undertake to forward to you the accompanying volume, containing the project of the penal code, presented by the committee, for the deliberation of the Cortes, at its next winter’s meeting. You will see in it some good things, others very bad. Do not, however, frighten yourself, Sir, about those articles which speak of religion: they will not pass: in Spain, the time of persecutions is no longer in existence: and, spite of all laws, a very extensive toleration has place in fact. I submit this proposed code, Sir, to the consideration of your enlightened mind. Do me the favour to convey to me your observations on it, between this and the last days of September, at which time I shall be on my return to Spain. I shall be highly obliged by your so doing. I shall make my profit of them in the course of the discussion. An address of this sort—to whom could it be made with more propriety, than to the constant defender of the principles of humanity, to the profoundly thinking author of so many celebrated works on legislation?
Be assured, Sir, of the pleasure, and even of the sense of duty, with which I shall attend to your suggestions on this subject, and of the eagerness with which I shall embrace every occasion, of offering to you the homage of my admiration and of my high consideration.
Le Comte de Toreno.
Extract from the Report of the Prison Committee of the Cortes, recommending the application of Mr. Bentham’s Plan of Construction and Management, styled the Panopticon Plan, to all Prisons throughout Spain and her Dependencies—28th September 1820.
The select Committee, named by the Cortes for the purpose of its presenting a plan of regulation and improvement for the prisons of the kingdom, has carefully examined the measures proposed by Messrs. Villanova, Calderon, and Canabal, relative to this object, as also the expositions presented by Don Joseph Guyar, with the accompanying documents.
With the same scrupulous attention, the Committee has also examined the work of the jurisconsult, Jeremy Bentham, translated by Don Jacoba Villanova, by whom has been added an appendix, and various notes of primary importance; and the Plan for Prisons, which, with the work aforesaid, he presented to the Cortes, and which they received with particular acknowledgment.
Desirous to avail itself, on this occasion, of whatsoever appropriate assistance should be found obtainable,—the Committee communicated to the government (gobierno) the information, which the Economical Society of Madrid had addressed to the king through the Home Department: on which occasion, with its accustomed zeal and intelligence, that Society bestows the highest eulogium on the work of the above-mentioned Bentham, and on the observations and appendixes subjoined by the jurisconsult Villanova: expressing its entire approbation of the application of the Panopticon principle, in relation to the establishments appertaining to the prisons of the kingdom.
The Committee, after inspection made of these documents, could not do otherwise than agree in great measure with his beneficient ideas for the service of humanity, which, having been outraged in the highest degree in the buildings hitherto used for the imprisonment of culprits and condemned criminals, calls for the most prompt and efficacious measures of alleviation.
The Committee has obtained a full conviction of the truth of those principles which, with so much wisdom, have been delivered and applied in detail by those intelligent friends of mankind.
☞ Thereupon follows a discussion, continued through nine pages, and occupied principally in the exhibition of the deplorable state of prison and prison management in Spain.
Page 10 commences with a proposed law, in twenty-six articles, the whole ranged under three titles.
Article 1. In all the capitals of the provinces of the kingdom, and in those towns in which are the seats of judicatories having cognizance in the first instance,—shall be constructed prisons, upon the Panopticon plan, or as nearly approaching to it as possible.
Article 25. For the construction of these prisons, the government shall turn to the best account the value of the existing ones, and propose to the Cortes, in the estimates for the expenditure of the home department, the sums which it shall propose to allot to this object, as also the charitable funds,* which it regards as capable of being employed to the purpose of these establishments.
Article 26. All these measures and provisions shall extend to the provinces of Ultramaria.
Don Toribio Nunez, Deputy from Salamanca to the present Cortes, requesting for Spain and its Cortes the assistance of Mr. Bentham on all matters of legislation.—Extracts.—Salamanca, 20th Dec. 1821.
Occupied successively by the political affairs of this city and province, and by the consideration of the penal code, submitted to our extraordinary Cortes, and lately referred to a commission of this literary University, of which commission I am a member,—I have been unable sooner to answer your valuable letter. You are, however, assured of my gratitude, by your correspondent, who transmitted it to me from Victoria, and with whom I hope to have further intercourse at Madrid. In that letter, you ask me to give you some account of my past life, and of the accident which brought me acquainted with your works. The praises, which you bestow upon me, are due rather to your principles and analyses, than to the new arrangement in which I have presented them in the “Ciencia Social.”† In the concluding part of your letter, you relate to me some particulars concerning the course of your studies, and concerning the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and you desire to know what were my studies at that of Salamanca.
Respect and gratitude compel me to oblige you in everything: and the pleasure I feel, at finding myself in familiar conversation with my adored master, of whose existence I doubted, makes my own satisfaction inseparable from the fulfilment of my duty towards you. * * * *
The appearance of your works, published in the French language at Paris, coincides with this epoch; but as I had retired from Seville, with the profits of the business I had carried on there since the death of the duchess, and was living amidst relations and friends in the mountains of Castille,—I heard nothing of them until the passage of the French army through Salamanca to Portugal, in 1807, when your principles of civil and penal legislation were brought among other books for sale. To describe to you their effect upon me is impossible. Suffice it to say, that, in spite of the inconsistencies which I found in them, and which I have always attributed to your editor, I saw so much light, that I hailed, as a favourable prognostic for the prosperity of my country, the perfidy of the monster, who by irritating our national honour, set in motion our enthusiasm.
The delight I had formerly tasted in dispensing benefits was replaced by the anticipation of that which I should derive from seeing diffused through my country those principles which teach the science of governing, and of introducing useful reforms without injury to actual rights. In your works I saw the causes of the failure and of the evils of the French Revolution, which had excited our youthful attention. I began immediately to inform myself of the means, by which my country might be freed from the horrors which afflicted it. I found all made easy by the operation of your principles: but unfortunately they were unknown in Spain. Even now an acquaintance with them is by no means general. Yet, notwithstanding our inveterate prejudices on the one side, and notions à la Française on the other, a knowledge of them is extending itself; and, among the deputies elected for the next Cortes, I am convinced there are many initiated in your precious mysteries. I hope you will not find it inconvenient to transmit to your disciple, Nunez, the code which, I am assured by our amiable friend Bowring, you have been preparing expressly for Spain. Do not doubt that the lights you have diffused will be of great service to us; that the number of your appreciators will be great among the new deputies; and that among them will be found many lawyers who revere you, and many learned physicians, who are imbued with your luminous system. * * * *
May heaven grant that my knowledge, corrected by your’s, my integrity, and my prudence, may correspond with my good intentions; as, with your aid, I hope they will: and if, with this disposition, I implore whatever instruction my enlightened master can still give me, I am persuaded he will not refuse to assist with his advice his “beloved” disciple * * * *: and the nation to which he has the honour to belong, and to which such proofs of your affection have been already given, * * * *.
I must confess to you, that, if information does not rapidly spread, I fear we must wait a long time before we shall see the fruits it ought to produce; and certainly, until we do see them, we are in danger. I seek not to discourage you, nor to diminish your cheerfulness: God forbid!—Genius of good! you will not deny to us the instructions which we hope from your philanthropy: and we, on our part, will sedulously endeavour to propagate them. Your instructions will conduct us, in our search for those demonstrative proofs, by which all minds shall be brought into unison. You alone have realized the project of Socrates—you have justified the assertion of Galileo—you have made palpable the opinion of Locke—and have given consummation to the laudable commencements of Beccaria.
Adieu! may you live long for the benefit of the human race, and for the enjoyment of that glory, which it has been given to no other mortal to acquire!
Minute of the Portuguese Cortes, ordering a translation to be made of all Mr. Bentham’s works—Lisbon, 13th April 1821.
Read by Secretary Freire a letter presented by Senhor Sepulveda, to whom it had been addressed by Senhor Carvalho, member of the regency of the kingdom,* along with the works of Jeremy Bentham, offered by their venerable author to the Portuguese nation: in which letter it was said, that the writer could not give a more authentic testimony of the value he set upon so generous and flattering an offering, than by accompanying it with a wish, that, in their practice, the cortes may take for their guidance the liberal doctrines of the principal and earliest constitutionalist of Europe.
Penetrated with those sentiments of esteem, that are so justly due to the illustrious Bentham—to that sage, by whose luminous ideas the whole civilized world has been enlightened, and to whom its free nations should erect a monument of gratitude, for the indefatigable zeal with which he has made application of those ideas to the service of the great cause of liberty and good government—the assembly has resolved, not only, that of this his offering honourable mention be made in their journals, but also that direction be given to the Regency to cause to be translated and printed all those his works, and that, by one of the secretaries of this august assembly, a letter be written to him, conveying to him the grateful acknowledgments of the cortes, accompanied with the intimation, that those his gifts were addressed to the assembly by one, and presented by another, of the persons who planned and took the lead in consummating those glorious measures, which gave commencement to our political regeneration: and that to the said Bentham be sent an authentic copy of the paragraph in our journals, in which expression is given to this resolution of the sovereign assembly. Hermano José Braamcamp de Sobral, Presidente—Joao Baptista Felgueiras, deputado, Secretario—Agostinho José Freire, deputado, Secretario.
(A true copy)
da Costa Posser.
Order of the Cortes to the Regency for that purpose—Lisbon, 13th April 1821.
Most illustrious and excellent Sir,—
The General and Extraordinary Cortes of the Portuguese nation, desirous of giving a testimony of the particular satisfaction with which they have received the valuable present, made to them of his works, by the illustrious citizen of the world, Jeremy Bentham, and at the same time of contributing to the utmost of their power to the diffusion of the luminous and transcendently useful mass of information contained in those his so interesting productions,—have given orders for the transmission of them to the Regency of the kngdom, for the purpose of its causing a translation of them to be made, and printed at the national printing office, and with superior dispatch published. Your Excellency will accordingly make communication of this to the Regency, that due execution may be given to it.
God preserve your Excellency!
Palace of the Cortes, 13th April 1821.
(A true copy)
Joaquim Guilherme da Costa Posser.
Senhor José Baptista Felgueiras, one of the Deputies to, and Secretaries of, the Cortes, to Mr. Bentham, on conveying the above.—Lisbon, 24th April 1821.
The General and Extraordinary Cortes of the Portuguese Nation, having received the obliging present of those your alike celebrated and interesting works, which have been addressed to them by one, and presented by another, of those well-deserving citizens, who have borne a distinguished part in the glorious achievement of the political regeneration of the Portuguese monarchy,—have resolved, that their grateful acknowledgments for so valuable an offering be made to you, and that they be accompanied by the copy of a minute in their journals, in which honourable mention thereof is made: and moreover, that those same works be translated and published, in such sort as to render manifest to all eyes the extraordinary regard and particular attention with which, by this sovereign assembly, acceptance has been given to those most important writings of the illustrious friend of man, and conspicuous advocate of the cause of nations. God preserve you, Sir!
Given at Lisbon, at the palace of the Cortes, this 24th day of April [1821.]
Joao Baptista Felgueiras.
Mr. Jeremy Bentham.
On the Cover was the direction following:—“A o Sñr Jeremias Bentham, Londres, do Deputado Secretario das Cortes Geraes e Extraordinarias da Naçao Portugueze, Joao Baptista Felgueiras.”
Senhor Felgueiras, as above, to Mr. Bentham—Lisbon, 22d December 1821.—Received 25th January 1822.
Most illustrious Sir,—
In conformity to a resolution, passed by the Cortes, of the 26th November last, which I had the pleasure to communicate to you the 3d instant,* I have the honour to transmit to you a collection of the journals of the Cortes, as far as they are published, down to the present time, and in which are contained the Nos. down to No. 229: and they will be conveyed to you through the medium of the Portuguese mission in London; from whence also the succeeding ones, as they come out, will be transmitted to you, in pursuance of the resolution of the Cortes. I avail myself with much pleasure of the opportunity thus afforded me of expressing to you those sentiments of particular consideration and esteem, with which I am, Sir, your most respectful and affectionate venerator,
Joao Baptista Felgueiras.
To the most illustrious Jeremy Bentham.
Lisbon, Palace of the Cortes,
On the outside cover, in another hand, was what follows:—“By the first conveyance;—On the second, the letter will be accompanied by a package, which will be sent by the first opportunity by sea.”
17th April 1822.—In the list of these testimonials [No. 4,] mention is made of the special offer, on my part, to the Portuguese Cortes, to draw up a code of the description in question for that nation in particular: and of the acceptance given to that same offer by that same Cortes. In the preceding column is Mr. Secretary Felgueiras’ letter to me of the 22d December, announcing a copy of the Portuguese journals, in which mention is made of a resolution of the Cortes, as having passed on the 26th November 1821, and been communicated to me, by a letter of his, dated the 3d of the then next ensuing month. Neither the collection of journals so announced, nor the letter by which it is announced, have ever yet reached me.† From the Portugese mission in London I have just received assurance, that neither that copy of the journals which was destined for me, nor another which was destined for that mission, were yet come to hand. The Diario do Governo is an official daily paper, by which, publication is given to state papers from the Cortes, as well as from the various subordinate offices. No. 284 of that paper, dated the 30th of November 1821, lies before me. In it is a translation of that same letter of mine. It is preceded by a notice, of which the following is a literal translation:—“The following paper is that which was referred to in the 241st sitting, as reported in the Diario of Tuesday last, No. 281.” “Translation of the Letter which the venerable jurisconsult, Jeremy Bentham, addressed to the Cortes of Portugal, and of which an account was given by Mr. Deputy and Secretary Felgueiras, in the sitting of the 26th of November.” This 26th is the same day, on which, according to his abovementioned letter, the resolution was passed, ordering the copy of the journals to be sent to me. It seems, therefore, that on this same day, on which the account was so given by him, the resolution, containing the acceptance of the offer, was passed: and that the order for the transmission of a copy of the journals, being a natural consequence, was included in it. Of this resolution, mention cannot but have been made in some No. of the Diario published between that same 26th November, and that No. which bears date on the 30th: but all the endeavours of my personal friends, to which (I am assured) have been added those of the Portuguese mission, to find here in London a copy of the No. thus desired, have been fruitless. At the end of little less than three months, reckoning from the 25th of January 1822, in which Mr. Secretary’s above-mentioned letter was received by me, irresistible circumstances forbid my delaying any longer the completing of the impression of this proposal, imperfect as is the state, in which these testimonials are thus brought to a close. Jeremy Bentham.
At the end of the translation of my letter, is an apology from the Cortes, for the interval that had elapsed, namely, between the 26th—the day on which the account had been given of it, as above, and the 30th—the day on which the translation was published in the Diario. The following is a literal translation:—
“N. B.—The above letter was not published on the day above designated, from the translations not having been finished in the office of the Cortes. The short-hand writer reported this delay, being officially directed to be prepared on the day announced.”
Reference being made as above to the letter from the individual to the Cortes, and a conception of it, not quite correct in several particulars, having been conveyed by an English re-translation inserted in an English newspaper from the Portuguese,—the following copy of the original one may be thought, perhaps, to be not altogether out of place:—
Jeremy Bentham, London, to the Portuguese Cortes—7th November 1821.
Portuguese Cortes! Worthy rulers of a regenerated people! Worthy rulers, only because faithful servants!
Our correspondence is a singular one: the world’s eye is upon it. It is an useful, it is an instructive one. I continue it.
Once already I have put your virtues to the test: nobly have they stood it. One trial still remains.
Once more must I bring to your view the never to be forgotten phrase—greatest happiness of greatest number—all-comprehensive and sole justifiable end of government. On a collection of works, by which the light of that all-commanding principle has, with more or less intensity, been shed on almost every part of the field of government, the seal of your approbation has been already stamped. All together, however, they form little more than an outline, nor that anything better than a rough and incomplete one. That outline, would you see it not only corrected and completed, but filled up?—filled up by a body of proposed law, conceived, and, as to all the most important parts of it, expressed, not in detail only, but in terminis? Speak the word, and you shall have it.
In the first place, a proposed penal code; in the next place, a proposed civil code; in the last place, a proposed constitutional code—this is what I have to offer you. In all of them, the circumstances in which Portugal stands will be kept steadily in view: these circumstances, so far as they can be learned from your judicial customs and existing ordinances, more particularly such ordinances as, in the intervening interval, shall have emanated from the regenerated legislature. To these will be added, whatever information, from any appropriately intelligent citizen of yours, I may be fortunate enough to have found within my reach. Where, owing to the fluctuating nature of the incidents, by which the demand for legislation is produced, arrangements proposed in terminis would be inapplicable, general directions or instructions will be substituted. Finance law will suggest to you examples.
Subjoined to this address is an appendix. In Part I. are Testimonials: in Part II. Reasons for acceptance. It is for your table this appendix:—not for your ears.
As to testimonials, those, which you yourselves have given me, are worth all others put together. Still it may be some satisfaction to you to see, that in your own opinion in favour of this your proffered servant, there is not anything, with which that of other countries, more particularly his own, seems likely to be in discordance. Of the reasons for acceptance, the matter (I have said) is for your table. Length, and respect for your time, have rendered the separation necessary. To your ears, however, I venture to submit the heads of it.
No: I will not, as yet, seek to burthen you with it. It is, however, ready, and the next post shall bring it to you.
Legislators! such is the mite I offer to cast into your treasury. But before the cast, or the mite itself, can have been made, something on your part must have been done—something to this effect you must have said to me: “Friend of man, send in these works of yours; they shall be laid upon our table. Rejection in toto—consideration in detail—sanctionment, of one part or of another part—at one time, at another time, or at no time—all this will depend, for it cannot but depend, upon the judgment formed by us, as to what is most conducive to the greatest happiness of the greatest number of the people under our charge. For thus much, however, the Cortes pledges itself, in so far as it is in its power to pledge itself: each of these your proposed codes shall, on its arrival, by the earliest opportunity, be taken for the subject of our deliberations.”
“Well but,” says somebody, “this present of his—why all this talk about it? why not send it to us at once?”
Legislators! it is not made: and because it is not, therefore it is that I thus offer it.—Without acceptance, such as that I have spoken of, I am not sure that it ever can be made: what I am sure of, is—that it cannot be made either so promptly or so well. At the age of three-and-seventy, the current of the blood runs slow: something is wanting, something from without to quicken it.
One short word more. Let there be no mistake. Acceptance is what I call for; acceptance—nothing more: no such thing as preference, much less exclusive preference. As to rival works, not to exclude, but to multiply them, would be my wish: rival works, from any hands, but more particularly from native ones. Of the sincerity of this wish, proof more than in abundance is already in your hands. It may be seen at length in one of those former works, by the acceptance of which your character has already shed its lustre on the untitled and title-scorning name of
*∗* For the words untitled and title-scorning, the words in the Portuguese are—simples e humilde. The accordance (it may be seen) is not, in this instance, altogether a perfect one.
The Portuguese Cortes to Jeremy Bentham.—Received through the Portuguese Mission at London, 22d April 1822, since the impression of the above. Acceptance given to his offer of an all-comprehensive Code: Acts and Journals of the Cortes to be accordingly sent to him successively.
The General and Extraordinary Cortes of the Portuguese Nation,—presentation being made to them, in the sittings of the 26th of November last, of a letter addressed to them by you, making offer of, and requesting acceptance for, three proposed codes—one civil, another penal, and another constitutional, accommodated, all of them, to the circumstances of Portugal; adding the mention of an appendix, intended to be sent by the then next conveyance,—have resolved that, in an act of the Congress, mention be made of that highly valued offer, which the Cortes have accepted with particular pleasure, inasmuch as the well-known lights and experience of so celebrated a jurisconsult, and illustrious friend of mankind, will thus come in aid of an undertaking of our own, in which that same field is comprehended: as also, that a translation of the afore-mentioned letter be published in the daily paper of the government, and with the original in front of it in the Journal of the Cortes: and that transmission be made to you of a collection of the acts and journals of the Cortes, as also of the several continuations thereof as they come out. All which, by order of the Cortes, I have the pleasure of communicating to you for your information. God preserve you, Sir!
Joao Baptista Felgueiras.
Lisbon, Palace of the Cortes,
The Portuguese Cortes to Jeremy Bentham.—Received through the Portuguese Mission at London, 22d April 1822. Translation ordered of his Letters to Count Toreno, on the proposed Spanish Penal Code.
Most illustrious Sir,—
The General and Extraordinary Cortes of the Portuguese Nation, to which I gave an account of your letter of the 30th of January of the present year, have heard with pleasure the obliging expressions which it contains, and received with thankfulness the present sent by you of a work intituled “Letter to Count Toreno, on the proposed Penal Code, delivered in by the Legislative Committee of the Spanish Cortes:” and they have resolved that, on that occasion, transmission shall for the second time be made to you, of the letter of the 3d of December of the last year, and that to the minister of foreign affairs orders be given to take the necessary arrangements, in such sort that this correspondence, as also the successive continuations of the journals of the Cortes, shall, with all promptitude and certainty, be transmitted to you through the Portuguese legation at London, in conformity to the resolution of the 22d of December 1821. All which, by order of the Cortes, I have the pleasure to communicate to you for your information. God preserve you, Sir!
Joao Baptista Felgueiras
Lisbon, Palace of the Cortes,
Opinion of the Italian Liberals, in relation to Mr. Bentham, as delivered in the Antologia, a Periodical work published at Florence, 1822.—(N. B. From any constituted authorities in that quarter, nothing of this sort (it is evident) can be expected.)
Geneva, 15th January 1822.
There appears at Florence a miscellany (Antologia,) in which, from the work on evidence, is a translation of a chapter on publicity, which I had given to the Annales de Legislation, published at Geneva. It is not altogether without surprise that I can see a government, subject to the immediate influence of Austria, thus permitting the appearance of an article such as the one in question, accompanied as it is with the excellent notes of Rossi, whose name is so far from being in good political odour, either in Milan or in Rome. The work on evidence is there announced and spoken of in these terms:—“Gli amici dell’ umanitá desiravano di veder trattata la materia delle institutioni giudiciarie, da quel genio veramente superiore della etâ nostra, dal Signor Jer. Bentham, chiamato a ragione il Bacone della scienzia legislativa. I suoi trattati di legislazione civile e penale, e le altre opere di questo sublime pensatore, presentavano finora una lacuna su questo articolo, che niuno meglio di lui avrebbe potuto riempire.”
“The friends of mankind had been desirous of seeing the subject of judiciary institutions treated of by that truly superior genius of our age, Mr. Jeremy Bentham, styled with such good reason the Bacon of the legislative branch of science. His treatises on legislation, civil and penal, and the other works of that sublime mind, have till now been presenting on this field a gap, which no one could have been better qualified to fill up.”
After that, comes a biographical article, tolerably correct, taken from the French work, “Biography of men now living.”
To account for the allowance, given by the censorship in an Italian metropolis, to the publication of such an article, it is necessary you should understand, that Tuscany has been fortunate enough to have preserved that publicity in judicial proceedings, for which it had been indebted to the influence of the French government.
The Newton of Legislation was an appellation, bestowed upon the same author, in an Italian publication, which appeared at Milan a few years ago, but was soon suppressed: the reference cannot at this moment be recovered. In the physical world, Bacon cleared away the rubbish of antiquity: Newton built.
☞ See, under this head, the list of these testimonials.
ANGLO-AMERICAN UNITED STATES.
Governor Plumer’s Letter to Mr. Bentham, announcing the intended communication of his offer to the Legislature of New Hampshire.
New Hampshire, Epping, October 2, 1817.
A few days since I received a note from my much esteemed friend the Hon. Mr. Adams, now Secretary of State, accompanied with your “Panopticon,” and “Papers relating to Codification;” in the last of which, with a generosity truly honourable not only to you as an individual, but to man in general, you gratuitously propose to devote your time and talents in drawing a code of laws for any State who shall require it, both civil and criminal, to supersede the unwritten law.
I have long considered such a work as a great desideratum in legislation—and that it would, in a great measure, not only correct the numerous errors and gross absurdities, but destroy the great uncertainty of what is called the common law, and render our government, more emphatically, what it has with so little propriety boasted of—a government not of men but of laws. How far it is practicable to establish such a system in New Hampshire, I cannot determine. We have not only a host of prejudices to encounter, but the interests of a body of lawyers, many of whom here, as in all other countries, dread reform, fearing it would diminish their individual profits. Public good is too often sacrificed to private interest. When will the individual learn, that his private interest is most effectually promoted, by permanently securing that of the public?
The Legislature of this State usually hold annually but one short session, and that in June. At their next session, I will, if I live, communicate your “Papers” to our legislature; and I hope they will receive that candid consideration which their high merit demands.
My continuance in office depends on annual elections—and the authority vested in me is restricted. I have no power, as chief magistrate of the State, to request you to draw a code of laws for this State; but, whether I continue in office, or return to private life, whatever communications you may hereafter please to make to me on that subject, I will find means of transmitting to our legislature; and will do everything in my power to effect a thorough investigation of them.
Persevere, my dear Sir, in the great and important work in which you are so disinterestedly engaged. The world, if not now, at some future period, will profit by your labours—and though immediate success may not follow, you yourself will enjoy the noble consciousness of having faithfully served the best interests of society—and a rational prospect that sound principles will eventually prevail.
Should you wish a copy of the laws of New Hampshire, if you will intimate it to me, I will take effectual care to forward them to you.
Be pleased to accept copies of my three last public communications to our legislature—and an address to the clergy of New England, which I wrote during our late war with your nation. These small pamphlets I inclose under the same envelope with this letter.
Accept my grateful acknowledgments for your communications—and believe me to be, with much respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
Extract from a private Letter to Mr. Bentham, from a distinguished Functionary in the United States, Member of the House of Representatives in his State, and Delegate therefrom to Congress, informing him, how, by the Governor of New Hampshire, Mr. Bentham’s above-mentioned offer had been recommended to the consideration of the House of Representatives; and stating the influence of the fraternity of Lawyers as the cause of the reluctance in the several States as to the acceptance of any such offer: stating, moreover, the adoption which at that time had been given to divers of Mr. Bentham’s ideas in several of the States.—(N. B. Those of Mr. Bentham’s works which were edited by Mr. Dumont, being in French, were not at that time known to the writer, and had scarcely found their way into the United States. October 2, 1818.)
The letter, which the governor of New Hampshire wrote you about a year since, having been published in England, was copied into the newspapers of that state, a short time before the meeting of the legislature, accompanied with many very foolish and absurd remarks, in which your character and designs were ridiculed, and your proposed system of laws abused and misrepresented, in a style and manner not much unlike that which a little earlier appeared in the Quarterly Review of your “Plan of Parliamentary Reform.” It is hardly necessary to add, that the governor came in for a full share of the censure heaped upon you for the approbation which his letter contained of your proposed work. You will perceive, however, from his message at the commencement of the session, that he was not prevented by this circumstance from bringing your proposal fairly before the legislature.
To give it a better chance of success, a son of his, who is a member, at the same time caused the greater part of an article on this subject, in a late Edinburgh Review, to be republished in the leading republican newspaper of that state, and to be put into the hands of the members of the legislature. When, however, that part of the message was taken up in the house of representatives, on report of a committee it appeared, that, except that gentleman, all the lawyers of both parties (twelve or fifteen, the most influential members of the house) were decidedly opposed to passing any other resolve on the subject than a general one—that it was inexpedient to accept your proposal.
Of the members of the bar who were thus unfriendly to this design, some were no doubt influenced by a belief (not unnatural with those who have made the common law their study during life, and who for twenty years have heard and repeated its eulogium, as the perfection of human reason, without once suspecting that it admitted of any improvement) that little or no alteration was necessary, and least of all, so entire and radical a change as that proposed by you. To those somewhat advanced in years, the thought of commencing a new system, and of becoming learners when they had been long accustomed to teach, was an idea certainly not very pleasant, and one which they did not choose to adopt, for the uncertain prospect which it presented to their minds of some remote and doubtful advantage to the community. Others were perhaps swayed by the persuasion, that the new system would prove injurious to the profession, by rendering the law more clear and explicit, and thus diminishing the profits which are at present derived from its uncertainty and obscurity. From these, or other motives, they pronounced the project visionary, impracticable, unnecessary—unworthy of attention, because presented by a person who must be ignorant of our situation, and unacquainted with our wants;—with many other similar objections, all addressed to the ignorance, the prejudices, and the pride, of men whose sober judgment was prevented, by every artifice, from applying itself to this important subject with candour and impartiality. While, therefore, those who were supposed to know the most in relation to our legal establishments and the means of their improvement, were all opposed to the introduction of a new system, and those who were willing to give it a fair trial were in general but little acquainted with its merits,—you will readily perceive the disadvantages under which it laboured. It was not indeed difficult, in my opinion at least, to return satisfactory answers to all these objections. But you have, I think, yourself remarked, that it is not always by the most rational arguments that the strongest impression is made. The motives, therefore, which I have mentioned, with others of a like nature, added to the novelty of the subject and the pressure of other business, induced the house finally to accept the report of their committee, which was, that the further consideration of this subject be postponed to the next session of the legislature, which is in June 1819. Your proposition was therefore, strictly speaking, neither adopted nor rejected, but postponed. It will next June be reported among the unfinished business of the last session. Whether anything further will be at that time effected, I am unable to say, but I am afraid there is very little hopes of any favourable result.
I have taken some pains to ascertain whether your proposal has met with a more just reception in any other of the United States; but I am inclined to think that it has not. I do not find it mentioned in the speeches or messages of any of the governors to the several state legislatures which I have seen.
Under these circumstances, permit me, with deference, to suggest the following views for your consideration:—
What may be called the philosophy of law—that is, the general principles of civil and criminal jurisprudence, founded on the broad basis of utility, and adapted to the wants of a civilized and enlightened people, engaged in the ordinary pursuits of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce—has never yet, so far as I am acquainted with books, been justly and correctly treated, in all its bearings, and in the amplitude of its details, by any author who has written upon the subject of law. We have indeed systems of the Roman law, of the Feudal law, and of the English law, and other national systems: and Montesquieu has given us “L’Esprit des Loix”—an excellent title, and in truth an excellent book, but not exactly such a one as I wish to see written. We still want a work, unfolding the true principles of law in the abstract, as derived from the nature of man, and the necessary structure of society—the beau-ideal of law, such as it never yet has been in any state, such as it never will be, but such as every state ought, as near as possible, in its own case, to make it. We have now no general standard of legal perfection, in all its various branches—no model of acknowledged excellence, with which to compare our different systems. You, Sir, are eminently qualified to provide such a model, to raise such a standard, to mark out the boundaries, and prescribe the form of a truly wise and enlightened system of jurisprudence. You have expended a vast fund of original thought, and devoted years of patient examination to every part of this extensive subject. Permit me, then, to request, that you would enrich the public with the important results of these laborious studies.
Two modes occur to me as the only ones in which this service could be rendered to mankind. The first is—by the publication of a work in the didactic form, in which the general principles of law should be unfolded and explained—as, for example, those of political economy are, in Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Perhaps this has already been done in your “Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation,” or in the works published from your papers by M. Dumont. I have sent to London for these books, but have not yet obtained them.
The second mode of communicating to the public the result of your labours in jurisprudence—a measure not inconsistent with the former—would be to publish a complete code of laws drawn up in terminis:—a Pannomion—founded upon correct principles, and extending, if such a thing be possible, so as to embrace the whole mass of human transactions, cognizable by human laws. In such a work you would be at no pains to accommodate your enactments to what is already law in Europe or in America,—but to what ought to be law in the most improved state of society—to the true principles of general utility, on which alone all just legislation rests. Yet, supposing such a work once completed, and further, that each of its provisions was in itself the best that could possibly be imagined, it would still be doubtful, whether any state or nation could be found to whose circumstances it would exactly apply: and it is, I think, very certain—such is the temper of deliberative assemblies—that there is no state which would at once, and by a single act, adopt all its provisions. But, if executed with half the ability which you would bring to the undertaking, an immense advantage would result to mankind from the publication of such a work. A standard would thenceforth exist, by which we in the United States, at least, might estimate the true value of our legal systems, improve them where they admitted of improvement, reject such parts as are injurious or imperfect, and incorporate such new principles, or new applications of old principles, as are suited to our situation; and in a word, perfect our legal, as we have endeavoured to do our political establishments, by calling to our aid the wisdom and the philosophy, the speculations and the experience, of all ages and of all countries. The utility of such a work would be acknowledged in every part of the civilized world, because in every country the improvement of the law is an object of primary and permanent importance. Instead, then, of waiting for the previous sanction of some legislative body, if you were to publish your proposed code of laws, as soon as it is completed, or such parts of it as admit of being separately exhibited, there is very little doubt, that the beneficial effects which you anticipate from its entire adoption would in a very considerable degree be ultimately obtained.
The influence of your writings has already been extensively felt in the United States. Your work on usury has passed through several editions in this country; and its principles begin to be pretty generally adopted by men of enlarged views and liberal minds amongst us. In the constitution of the new State of Mississippi, which was formed in 1817, it is provided that the legislature of that state shall “pass no law impairing the obligation of contracts, prior to 1821, on account of the rate of interest, fairly agreed on in writing, between the contracting parties, for a bona fide loan of money; but they shall have power to regulate the rate of interest, where no special contract exists in relation thereto.” This provision of the constitution of Mississippi, being limited to four years, was no doubt intended as an experiment; but, having once felt the advantages of unrestrained liberty, and a free competition in this branch of trade, there is little danger of a return to the absurd restrictions which prevail in other States of the Union.
In the Alabama territory, an act has this year been passed, repealing all the laws against usury, and allowing the parties in all cases to fix their own rate of interest.
A similar law, introduced by Mr. Hayes in the Virginia house of delegates, was rejected by a majority of six or eight votes only, out of two or three hundred.
In New Hampshire, the same subject was agitated in the house of representatives, at their last session; but they are not yet prepared to renounce their old prejudices.
On the subject of state prisons, or penitentiaries, many of your suggestions have also been reduced to practice, though no building has, I believe, been erected on the plan of the panopticon in any of the states. The contract-principle, so strongly recommended by you, has been adopted, with great advantage, though not to its full extent, in some of our state prisons.*
*∗* For other testimonials from the United States, also from Russia and Poland, see List of Testimonials in Contents, Nos. X. XI. and XII.
Prince Alexander Mavrocordato, Secretary to the Provisional Government of Greece, to Jeremy Bentham; introducing No. 2.
Je m’estime heureux d’être chargé de vous faire connaître les sentimens de gratitude et de reconnaissance de mon gouvernement, pour les observations que vous nous avez envoyées sur notre loi organique. Il était digne d’un ami de l’humanité, d’un des plus respectables philosophes de notre temps, d’apporter l’attention de son génie au bonheur d’une nation, en qui quatre cents ans d’esclavage et de misère, n’avaient pû parvenir à effacer le sentiment de ses droits, et de ses devoirs.
Continuez, donc, Monsieur, de nous éclairer par vos conseils, de nous diriger par cette raison superieure, qui immortalise vos ouvrages, et que votre suffrage, cité en faveur de notre cause, en devienne le plus ferme appui, comme il est déjà le garant le plus certain, de notre triomphe.
Veuillez bien agréer, Monsieur, l’assurance de ma parfaite estime, et celle de la haute considération avec laquelle j’ai l’honneur d’être, Monsieur, votre très humble et très obéissant serviteur,
(Signé) A. Mavrocordato.
Tripolitza, Juin 22 (Juillet 4) 1823.
A Mons. M. Jeremy Bentham,
I think myself happy in being charged to communicate to you the sentiments of gratitude and thankfulness of my government, for the observations you have sent to us on our fundamental law. It was worthy of a friend of humanity, of one of the most respectable philosophers of our time, to direct the attention of his genius to the well-being of a nation, in which four centuries of slavery and misery had not been able to efface the sentiments of its rights and its duties.
Continue, then, Sir, to enlighten us by your counsels, and to guide us by that superior intelligence which immortalizes your works, and let your good opinion, when quoted in favour of our cause, become the firmest basis, as it is already the surest guarantee, of our triumph.
And accept, Sir, the assurance of the high esteem and consideration with which I have the honour to be, &c. &c. &c.
(Signed) A. Mavrocordato.
Tripolitza, June 22 (July 4) 1823.
To Mr. Jeremy Bentham,
Πϱοσωϱινὴ Διοίϰησις τῆς Ἑλλάδος.—Ὁ Πϱόεδϱος τοῦ Βουλευτιϰοῦ πϱὸς τὸν Κύϱιον Ἱεϱεμίαν Βενθάμ.
Ὁ φιλελληνιϰώτατος Κύϱιος Βλαϰιαῖϱος, ϰαὶ φίλτατος συμπολίτης μας Κύϱιος Α. Λουϱιώτης ἐπϱόσφεϱαν, ἐξ ὀνόματός σας, εἰς τὴν Βουλὴν τῆς Ἐλευθέϱας Ἑλλάδος, ἐπὶ ϰοινῆς Συνεδϱιάσεως, τὰς εἰς τὸ Πολίτευμά μας παϱατηϱήσεις Σας· ϰαὶ ἡ Βουλὴ τὰς ἐνεπιστεύθη εὐθὺς εἰς Ἄνδϱα, εἰδήμονα τῆς Ἀγγλιϰῆς Γλώσσης, διὰ νὰ τὰς ἐξελληνίσῃ ὅσον τάχιον εἰς ϰοινὴν χϱῆσιν ϰαὶ ὠφέλειαν.
Ἡ Ἑλλὰς ὀφείλει νὰ ὁμολογήσῃ εἰλιϰϱινῶς ϰαὶ παῤῥησίᾳ πόσον ἐχάϱη ϰαὶ ἐμψυχώθη, βλέπουσα τὸν Νομοδιδάσϰαλον τοῦ διϰάτου ἐννάτοὺ Αἰῶνος νὰ διαϰόψῃ πϱὸς ϰαιϱὸν τὰς σοφάς του ἐϱγασίας, ἀφοϱώσας τὴν ϰοινὴν εὐδαιμονιάν τῆς Εὐϱώπης ὅλης, διὰ νὰ πϱοσηλώσῃ τὴν πϱοσοχήν του ϰαὶ τοὺς ϰόπους του εἰς μόνην τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν τοῦ Ἑλληνιϰοῦ Ἔθνους.
Ἡ Βουλὴ πϱολαμβάνει, ϰαὶ δημοσίως Σᾶς ϰοινοποιεῖ δἰ ἐμοῦ τὴν εἰλιϰϱινῆ της χαϱὰν ϰαὶ βαθεῖάν της πεϱὶ τούτου εὐγνωμοσύνην, βέϐαιος οὖσα, ὅτι ἔχουσα τοιοῦτον Συνεϱγάτην, ὅστις ϰαὶ τὰς χϱείας γνωϱίζει τοῦ ἀνεγειϱομένου Ἔθνους ἀπὸ τὴν πολυχϱόνιόν του πτῶσιν, ϰαὶ ἱϰανώτατος εἶναι νὰ εὕϱῃ τὴν ἀνήϰουσαν ϑεϱαπείαν, ϑέλει φθάσει ϰαὶ συντομώτεϱον ϰαὶ εὐτυχέστεϱον εἰς τὸ μέγα ἔϱγον τῆς ἠθιϰῆς του ἀναπλάσεως, ὅθεν ϰϱέμαται ἡ ἀληθής του ϰαὶ μόνιμος δόξα.
Ἡ Βουλὴ, ἡ ὁποία νομίζει ὄχι μιϰϱὸν εὐτύχημα τῆς Ἑλλάδος νὰ ἀναγεννηθῇ εἰς τὰς ἡμέϱας, ϰαθ’ ἃς ζῆτε, πεποίθησιν σταθεϱὰν ἔχει, ὅτι ὠφελουμένη ἀπὸ τὰς τωϱινάς Σας παϱατηϱήσεις, δὲν ϑέλει ϰαὶ εἰς τὸ ἑξῆς στεϱεῖται τῶν σοφῶν Σας ὁδηγιῶν, ὥστε ϰαὶ ἀπὸ τὰς μετὰ ταῦτα βοηθουμένη, νὰ ἀσφαλίσῃ τὴν ἀναγέννησιν τῆς φιλτάτης Σας Ἑλλάδος, μὲ τὴν ἀϰαταμάχητον εὐνομίαν, τὸ μόνον ἀσφαλὲς πϱοπύϱγιον τῆς ἐθνιϰῆς της εὐδαιμονίας.
Αὐτὰ Σᾶς ϰοινολογῶ, Κύϱιε, ἐϰ μέϱους ὅλης τῆς Ἐθνιϰῆς Βουλῆς· ὅσον τὸ ϰατ’ ἐμὲ, εὐτυχὴς εἶμαι, ὅτι ἔλαϐον αὐτὴν τὴν ἔντιμον Διαταγὴν νὰ ϰοινοποιήσω τὰ τοιαῦτα εἰς Ἄνδϱα, πϱὸς τὸν ὁποῖον πϱοσφέϱω ἰδιαιτέϱως τὸ βαθὺ σέϐας, ϰαὶ τὴν ἀνήϰουσαν ὑπόϰλισιν.
Ὁ Πϱῶτος Γϱαμματεὺς τοῦ Βουλευτιϰοῦ,
Τῆ ιϐ′ Μαΐου τοῦ αωϰγ’
Provisional Government of Greece. The President of the Legislative Council to Mr. Jeremy Bentham.
Mr. Blaquiere, that distinguished friend of the Greeks, in conjunction with our beloved fellow countryman, Mr. A. Luriottis, has delivered, in your name, to the Legislative Council of Liberated Greece, in general convocation assembled, your observations on the subject of our form of government: the council has thereupon committed them to the care of a person skilled in the English language, with directions to translate them, with as much dispatch as may be, into Greek, for the common use and benefit of the nation.
It is a duty incumbent on that nation to make an open and sincere declaration of those sentiments of affection and delight with which she beholds the preceptor of the nineteenth century in the school of legislation, suspending the course of those labours, which were embracing the general happiness of Europe, for the purpose of devoting them, in a more particular manner, to the service of Greece.
The Council has been the first to feel, and takes this public mode of communicating to you, through me, its heartfelt delight and profound gratitude; confident that, with such a coadjutor, whose comprehension of the exigencies of a nation raising herself out of a long-continued depression, and of the most appropriate mode of providing for them, is so consummate, she will make her advances with proportionably greater speed and better fortune, in the great work of that moral regeneration, upon which her truest and most permanent glory depends.
The Council, in whose estimation it is matter of no slight happiness to Greece, that it is in your lifetime this great work is in progress, cherishes the persuasion, that after having thus been already favoured with your well-timed observations, it will not for the future have to lament the want of your fostering guidance; so that henceforward, by your assistance, it may secure the revival of your beloved Greece, by an unsubvertible good government—the only inexpugnable bulwark of national felicity.
This, Sir, is what, by these presents, I communicate to you, on the part of the whole National Council. On my own part, I regard it as matter of good fortune to myself to have received so honourable a commission as that of making a communication of this sort, to a man for whom I personally feel such deep respect, and all becoming reverence.
First Scribe of the Council,
Tripolitza, May 12, 1823.
Prince Alexander Mavrocordato, Secretary to the Provisional Government of Greece, to Jeremy Bentham: introducing the two Greek Envoys.
Je suis particulièrement chargé par mon gouvernement de vous recommander la mission qui, chargée d’éclairer la nation Anglaise, et par elle toute l’Europe, sur le véritable état des choses en Grèce, et de détruire les calomnies que nos ennemis n’ont que trop répandues contre les principes et le but de notre entreprise, a besoin de vos sages conseils, et de l’appui de vos suffrages en faveur de notre cause, afin d’arriver à son but.
Persuadé de la noble et généreuse assistance que vous voudrez bien accorder, par l’influence de vos talens, à une cause que vous avez déjà si victorieusement défendue, je vous prie, Monsieur, d’agréer d’avance la gratitude du gouvernement provisoire et de la nation Grecque, ainsi que celle de mon estime particulière, et de ma plus haute considération.
(Signé) A. Mavrocordato.
Tripolitza, le 24 Juin, 1823, V. S.
A Mons. M. Jeremy Bentham,
I am especially charged by my government to recommend to you the mission which, being ordered to instruct the English nation, and through it, the whole of Europe, as to the true situation of things in Greece, and thus to destroy the calumnies which our enemies have but too widely spread against the principles and the object of our struggle, will have need of your judicious counsels, and the support of your suffrages in favour of our cause, in order that we may reach the [desired] end.
Anticipating that generous assistance which you will kindly grant by the influence of your talents on behalf of a cause you have so victoriously defended, I pray you, Sir, to accept beforehand the gratitude of the Provisional Government of the Greek nation, as well as that of my individual esteem and highest consideration.
(Signed) A. Mavrocordato.
Tripolitza, June 24 (July 4,) 1823.
To Mr. Jeremy Bentham,
Jeremy Bentham to the Greek Provisional Government—Letter 1. In answer to the foregoing.
Legislators of regenerated Greece!—
Whether for the sort of encouragement with which you have been pleased to honour me, any such praise is due as that of discernment, it belongs to the world at large, not to him who is the object of it, to pronounce. Of the magnanimity manifested by an address of this complexion to a man whose position is so completely destitute of everything which could render him an object of such notice to ordinary minds—to a man from whom no service can possibly have been looked for in any shape but that in which a small particle of it has already been so richly remunerated,—there can be but one opinion: such is the honour your body has conferred on itself, and by nothing more that I could say, could any addition be made to it.
As to me, to the illustration conferred on me by such a letter, has been added the most singular one of its being delivered by the hand of the very person, by whose signature, in his character of president of your body, it was authenticated; a man whose warrant I have already for calling him by the endearing name of son. “Orlando,” said I to him t’other day in French, “thus, and thus only, can I address you. Monsieur Orlando?* My lips close against the words. Monsieur Solon? Monsieur Pericles? Monsieur Epaminondas? Monsieur Philopœmen? Who ever heard any such barbarisms?” “Let me but call you father,” was the answer, “and call me what you please.”
Κύϱιος Bentham, indeed? Legislators! To others, if you please: to me, as you love me, no more Κύϱιος. Common as the word is, there is a glare of legitimacy upon it that hurts my eyes. Give it to my imperial correspondent; give it to the Αὐτοϰϱάτωϱ—the modern Alexander; from him, peradventure, you may have a note of thanks for it: but, in this case, or you may lose your labour, it should be in the superlative—sublimated into Κυϱιώτατος.
Oh yes! when you speak to me, add ἡμέτεϱος to it,—or, as you now say, μας. This I have already merited: this, if from you, would be my most honourable title. If to do so be in the power of labour, no hired servant ever merited it better, unless by the pleasure so intimately combined with it, the merit, as in the eyes of certain casuists, would be annihilated. Seventy years ago, I devoted myself to the service of mankind: and now, at length—for by you am I enabled—now, at length, nor yet altogether without prospect of success, do I behold myself occupied in the performance of that vow.
This will be delivered to you by the worthy comrade of our Luriottis, Edward Blaquiere, by whom his title of φιλλεληνιϰώτατος, as given to him in yours to me, continues to be so well merited.
Farewell, legislators! May success ever attend your labours in the council, as it has done those of your heroes in the field. Should any modern Xerxes presume to offer obstruction to them, may his fate be that of the ancient one. Already, in thus writing to you, I have perhaps written too much. I resume the pen which yours found me writing with for you. What remains is—to subscribe myself, and with somewhat more truth than is common in such subscriptions, your δοῦλος.
(Signed) Jeremy Bentham.
Queen’s-Square Place, Westminster,
To the Sovereign Legislative Council of Greece.
Πϱοσωϱινὴ Διοίϰησις τῆς Ἑλλάδος.—Ἡ Βουλὴ τῶν Ἑλλήνων πϱὸς τὸν Φιλέλληνα Κύϱιον Ἱεϱεμίαν Βένθαμον.—Πεϱίοδος β′, ἀϱιθ. 1122.
Ἂν ἡ λαμπϱὰ ϰαὶ Εὐδαίμων Ἂγγλία σεμνύνεται διότι σὲ ἔχει Πολίτην, ἡ Μητέϱα τοῦ Λυϰούϱγου ϰαὶ Σόλωνος, ἡ δυστυχὴς Ἑλλὰς χαίϱει, διότι εὐτύχησεν νὰ ἀπολαύσῃ εἰς τὴν ἀναγέννησίν της τὸν Σοφώτατον ϰαὶ φιλανθϱωπότατον Νομοδιδάσϰαλον.
Τὰ τέϰνα τῆς φίλης Ἑλλάδος ἀνθολογοῦντα ἀπὸ τὸν Πολυανθῆ λειμῶνα τῶν ποιημάτων σου, ἀναπτεϱοῦνται πάντοτε εἰς τὸ ὕψος, τὸ ὁποῖον νὰ φθάσωσιν ἀϰόμη δὲν δύνανται, τὰ Μέλη τοῦ βουλευτιϰοῦ ἀναπτύσσοντα τὰς δυνάμεις των, ϰαὶ ϰατὰ τοὺς ἐπιστημονιϰούς σου ϰανόνϰς, συντελοῦσιν εἰς τὴν βελτίωσιν τοῦ πολιτιϰοῦ τῆς Ἑλλάδος Συστήματος.
Χαῖϱε λοιπὸν φίλε τῆς Ἑλλάδος! ἔχεις ἀξίαν ἀμοιϐὴν τῆς Ἀϱετῆς σου, τὴν ὁποίαν ἀπολαμϐάνεις ἡδονὴν διὰ τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν τῶν φίλων σαυ. Χαῖϱε! ϰαὶ
“Βάλλ’ οὕτως αἴϰεν τι φόως Δαναοῖσι γένηαι.”
Ὁ Ἀντιπϱόεδϱος Θεοδώϱητος.
Ὁ Πϱῶτος Γϱαμματεὺς τοῦ βουλευτιϰοῦ
Provisional Government of Greece. The Greek Senate to Mr. Jeremiah Bentham, Philhellenist.—Letter 2. Noticing his Letter 1.—Period 2d, No. 1122.
If splendid and happy England is proud of having you for a citizen,—unhappy Greece, the mother of Lycurgus and Solon, rejoices that she has had the good fortune to obtain in her regeneration a most able and humane law-giver.
The children of friendly Greece, gathering flowers from the flowery meadow of your works, are continually soaring to a height which they have not as yet been able to attain. The members of the senate are developing their powers; and, according to your scientific rules, are co-operating in the amendment of the political system of Greece.
Hail, then, friend of Greece! you possess a reward worthy of your virtue, in the pleasure which you receive from the happiness of your friends. Farewell, and
“Strike thus, that you may procure some salvation for the Greeks.”—Homer, 282.
Jo. Scandalides,Chief Secretary of the Senate.
Napoli, August 11, 1824.
Provisional Government of Greece. The Secretary-General to J. Bentham, Esq.—Period 2d, No. 254.
It is with great satisfaction suffering Greece has observed, that, while she took up arms to assert the rights of her political existence, the enemies of the public good, and the friends of their own narrow interests alone, have, with all their sophisticated attempts, not been able to attach the slightest blame to the sanctity of her cause; but, on the contrary, their intrigues have caused the veil to be withdrawn which has hitherto concealed the truth from the eyes of the many.
She cannot, however, refrain from expressing her thanks to those persons whose feelings of humanity have prompted them, from the beginning, to interest themselves in her defence of those indisputable rights which belong to her, and have shown, in various ways, that they wished to behold the light which was kindled and kept alive by Thrasybulus and Epaminondas—the light of freedom—again burning upon her sacred soil, and which the right of the stronger had extinguished for so great a length of time.
Sir, your noble sentiments were long ere this well known to our nation. But your timely proposal of the plan of a political and constitutional code—which, as being the offspring of so distinguished a political philosopher, will happily organize the infant constitution of Greece—has still more clearly evinced your friendly sentiments for the Greeks. But, besides this, your proposal for educating three young Greeks at your expense, offers still further motives to the sincere gratitude of the Greek nation, and the great satisfaction of that government, whose sentiments I am charged to interpret: for from this it is evident that you wish not only the political existence, but the moral welfare of our nation.
I am charged also to assure you, that my government desires you will not cease continually to watch over her operations, and to afford her the benefit of those deep political views of which Greece at present stands so greatly in need, in order to be led happily to the sacred end of her independence; an end which the respectable friends of the Greek cause will not cease to accelerate by all possible means that are consistent with the general good of human nature; and while tradition and history will preserve immortal the revered names of such persons, the gratitude which exists in the hearts of the Greek nation will remain indelible.
The Provincial Secretary-General,
(Signed) P. G. Rodios.
The 12th of August 1824, O. S.
Letter 2. To the Greek Provisional Government: with the Buenos Ayres Tactic Code, &c.
Ci-joint est un present que je prends la liberté de vous offrir. Ce n’est pas ce qui auroit été un ouvrage de ma façon, un simple projet, et rien de plus: c’est un réglement, qui déjà pendant trois années a dirigé tous les procédés d’une assemblée legislatrice. Cette assemblée est celle de la république de Buenos Ayres, dans l’Amerique Méridionale. L’éxemplaire pour lequel je prie l’honneur de votre acceptation, en est peut-être le seul qui existe présentement en Europe. La date, comme vous voyez, n’y est pas. Il m’a été envoyé par son auteur, Bernardino Rivadavia, dans une lettre, datée du 26 Août, 1822, laquelle, par je ne sais quel malheur, ne m’est parvenue qu’au 5 Avril dernier (1824.) Il y a environ une quinzaine que j’ai eu la satisfaction, si inesperée, de le serrer dans mes bras ici à Londres, où il est venu pour quelques affaires, gouvernant toujours par les élèves qu’il a formés, et la reputation unique qu’il a acquise. De tous les états formés, ou plutôt qui se forment, sur les débris des monarchies Espagnoles et Portugaises en Amerique, le seul, qui a pris jusqu’ici une assiètte ferme et heureuse, est celui dont on peut le dire le fondateur: aussi est-ce le seul auquel le gouvernement Anglois a donné des marques non-équivoques d’estime. Je viens d’en voir, qui, pour n’être pas publiques n’en sont pas moins essentielles et authentiques.
Législateurs! Je vous envoye ce réglement, et je ne l’ai pas même lu. Voici pourquoi. Dans le moment, nul besoin pressant, ne me portait à le lire, et je me suis contenté d’en faire faire une traduction Angloise, que je garde. Présentement, ce n’est que depuis quelques heures que l’idée de le mettre a profit de cette manière se m’est presentée. Le navire est au point de partir. Si, après l’avoir lu, il m’etoit arrivé de trouver, ne fût-ce qu’un seul point, sur lequel je ne fus pas d’accord avec l’auteur, je n’aurois pas pû vous l’envoyer sans réserve: et cette réserve, je ne l’aurois pû faire sans en donner les motifs, ce qui auroit entrainé des longueurs point du tout convenables. Cependant, au moins d’avoir des raisons suffisantes pour être persuadé, que le tout ensemble est d’accord avec mes principes, je n’aurois pas eu la hardiesse d’y attacher, pour ainsi dire, mon cachet en vous en faisant l’offre. Dans le moment, je trouve une copie que j’en avais fait tirer de la lettre qui l’accompagna: elle pourrait vous faire voir si c’est sans fondement que je me fie à sa conformité avec mes principes.
“Bon pour la théorie, mauvais pour la pratique,” aphorisme qui se contredit lui-même, mais qui n’en est pas moins en faveur auprès ceux dont les interêts particuliers se trouvent contrariés, par une mesure contre laquelle il n’y a pas autre chose à dire. Quoiqu’il en soit, le présent n’est pas du nombre des cas où ce sophisme puisse espérer à trouver acceptation: car il y a déjà trois années au moins, pendant lesquelles cette base de toutes les loix a soutenu avec éclat l’épreuve de la pratique.
Les offices qu’occupait Rivadavia, lorsqu’il a redigé ce réglement, et qu’il a continué d’occuper jusqu’au moment de son départ pour Londres, sont ceux de ministre de finance, ministre de l’intérieur, et ministre des affaires étrangères.
J’ajouterai peut-être un ou deux autres morceaux de même main, dans la pensée, que, peut-être, par occasion, ils pourront, à vos yeux, être utiles à consulter au moins, si non à servir de modèle.
Quant à moi, je viens de faire passer dans les mains d’un Grec bien instruit, pour être traduite, la première feuille d’un projet d’un code constitutionel pour un etat quelque ce soit; ouvrage qui m’a déjà coutè plus de deux années de travaux sevères, qui heurcusement approchent à leur terme. Il sera imprimé ici en Anglais, en Grec, et peut-être en d’autres langues. L’Espagnol ne sera pas oublie.* Les occasions qui pourroient s’offrir pour vous en offrir des exemplaires, en nombre suffisant, ne seront pas perdues. Législateurs, vous leur donnerez le sort, que vous prescrira votre sagesse.
(Signé) Jeremy Bentham.
Londres, Sept. 21, 1824.
Legislators! Annexed is a present which I take the liberty to offer you. It is not merely what a work of my making would have been—a simple project, and nothing more; it is a regulation, which already, during three years, has directed all the proceedings of a legislative assembly. This assembly is that of the Republic of Buenos Ayres, in South America. The copy, for which I beg the honour of your acceptance, is probably the only one that now exists in Europe. The date, as you see, is wanting. It was sent me by its author, Bernardino Rivadavia, in a letter dated the 26th August 1822, and which, by some means, did not reach my hands until the 5th April 1824. It is now about a fortnight since I had the unlooked-for satisfaction of clasping him in my arms here in London, where he is come on some business, still governing, however, by the pupils which he has formed, and the reputation which he has acquired. Of all the States formed, or rather forming, out of the wreck of the Spanish and Portuguese monarchies in America, the only one which hitherto has taken a firm and happy footing, is that of which he may be called the founder: it is, too, the only one to which the English government has given unequivocal marks of esteem. I have recently seen evidence of it, which, though not public, is not less authentic.
Legislators! I send you these regulations, and I have not even read them. This is the reason: there was no immediate motive for my doing so, and I have contented myself with causing an English translation to be made, which I retain. Meanwhile it is only within these few hours that the idea of thus putting it to use occurred to me. The ship is on the point of sailing. If, after having read it, I had chanced to find, were it only a single point, on which I did not agree with the author, I could not have sent it you without a reservation, and that reservation I could not make without giving you the reasons, which would have drawn me into discussions of inconvenient length; nevertheless, I am persuaded I have sufficient motives for thinking it agrees with my principles on the whole, or I should not have had the hardihood to attach as it were my seal to it, by making you the offer of it. I have this moment found a copy which I had taken from the letter which accompanies it. You will see by it whether I have not justly trusted to its conformity with my principles.
“Good in theory, bad in practice,” is an aphorism which contradicts itself, but which is not the less in favour with those whose particular interests are thwarted by a measure against which there is nothing else to say. However, the present is not amongst the number of cases in which this sophism can hope to find acceptance; for three years at least have passed, during which this basis of all laws has sustained with éclat the proof of practice.
The offices which Rivadavia filled when he drew up these regulations, and which he continued to fill, up to the moment of his departure for London, were those of minister of finance, minister of the interior, and minister of foreign affairs.
I shall add, perhaps, one or two sentences by the same hand, in the idea that, in your eyes, they may appear useful to consult, if not to serve as models.
With regard to myself, I have just delivered into the hands of a well-informed Greek, for the purpose of translation, the first sheet of the project of a constitutional code applicable to any state—a work which has already cost me more than two years of hard labour, which is fortunately approaching a close. It will be printed here in English, in Greek, and perhaps in other languages. The Spanish shall not be forgotten. Any opportunities that may offer to transmit you copies shall not be lost. Legislators, you will give them that fate which you in your wisdom may think they merit.
(Signed) Jeremy Bentham.
London, September 21, 1824.
Theodore Negris to Jeremy Bentham, desiring his assistance towards forming a Civil Code.
Dans l’intention de travailler à la formation d’un code civil pour ma nation, je sens le besoin d’être guidé à ce travail. Votre rare mérite à cette science profonde, et votre amour pour le bien de l’humanité, si connus du monde, me faisaient chercher l’occasion de m’addresser à vous. Ce fut la connaissance que j’ai eu l’honneur de faire dernièrement de l’illustre ami de la Gréce, M. le Colonel Stanhope, qui vient de me la procurer. J’en profite, Monsieur, pour vous dire en peu de mots que je me propose de travailler sur le Code Civil des Français, en y substituant toutefois tout ce que je croirais plus conforme à notre regime constitutionnel. Quant à l’ordre des matières, je ne crois pas pouvoir trouver un meilleur code que celui-ci.
C’est là, Monsieur, le plan du travail que je me propose d’embrasser. Je me fais un devoir de le mettre sous vos yeux, afin de savoir votre opinion à cet égard, et profiter de vos lumières pour tout le detail de l’ouvrage.
Le code civil étant de nature à influer indirectement au moral des hommes, comme il influe directement au sort de la société, il est essentiel pour notre régénération qu’il ne s’éloigne point, s’il est possible, des principes immuables de la raison. Le seul moyen d’y parvenir est d’obtenir encore votre assistance et votre direction, que vous ne me refuserez pas sans doute, vû qu’il s’agit de contribuer à la guérison des plaies d’un peuple, jadis illustre pour ses lumières, et renommé pour les avantages qu’il a procurés à la société.
Quant à ce qui concerne les autres moyens dont je pourrais avoir besoin dans ce travail, M. le Colonel a bien voulu prendre connaissance.
Au reste, je saisis cette occasion pour vous donner l’assurance des sentimens de haute estime et considération distinguée, avec lesquelles j’ai l’honneur d’être, Monsieur, votre très-humble et très-obéissant serviteur,
(Signé) Th. Negris.*
A Monsieur Mon. J. Bentham, &c. &c. &c.
Intending to labour in the formation of a civil code for my nation, I feel the necessity of a guide in this undertaking. Your rare merit in this profound science, and your love for the cause of humanity, are so well known, that they compel me to seek a motive for addressing you. The acquaintance which I had lately the honour to make with that illustrious friend of Greece, Colonel Stanhope, has procured me this gratification. I avail myself of it, Sir, to tell you, in a few words, that I propose to work on the French Civil Code; substituting, nevertheless, all that I think more conformable to our constitutional regime. With reference to the arrangement of subjects, I do not believe I can find a better code than this.
This, Sir, is the plan of the work that I purpose to undertake. I think it my duty to place it before you, in order to ascertain your opinion on this head, and to profit by your remarks in all the details of the work.
The civil code being of a nature indirectly to influence the moral conduct of man, as it directly influences the situation of society, it is essential for our regeneration, that it should wander as little as possible from the immutable principles of reason. The only means to obtain it is to have your assistance and your direction, which, without doubt, you will not refuse me, seeing that it will contribute to heal the wounds of a nation, formerly illustrious for its knowledge, and renowned for the benefits which it has conferred on society.
With regard to what concerns the other matters of which I may stand in need in this work, Colonel Stanhope has kindly taken charge of. I take this occasion to assure you of the high sentiments of esteem and distinguished consideration, with which I have the honour to be, Sir, your very humble and very obedient servant,
(Signed) Th. Negris.
To Mr. Jeremy Bentham, &c. &c. &c.
Jeremy Bentham to Theodore Negris, in answer to his letter No. 6.
Ἱεϱεμίας Βενθὰμ τῷ Θεοδώϱῳ Νέγϱῃ, χαίϱειν.
C’est avec un plaisir bien sincère que j’ai reçu, par les mains de notre illustre et excellent ami l’Honorable Colonel Leicester Stanhope, la lettre dont vous avez bien voulu m’honorer. Je recevrai, si je suis encore en vie, avec une satisfaction correspondante, votre travail dont vous me donnez l’espérance sur le code civil; et j’y porterai l’attention, dont, au dire de notre susdit ami, il ne peut manquer d’être digne. A l’en croire, c’est un vrai bonheur pour la Grèce, de contenir dans son sein une main, si bien assortie à une espèce de travail littéraire, dont l’importance laisse en arrière à une distance infinie toutes les autres.
Quant au Constitutionnel—un code, sur lequel j’ai travaillé à-peu-près deux années, manque peu d’être en état d’être envoyé en manuscrit à Paris, à votre excellent Docteur Corai,* qui a eu la bonté de promettre d’en faire une traduction en Gréc moderne, laquelle sera imprimée à Paris, et je crois avec l’Anglais à coté, pour les exemplaires en être distribués en Grèce.
Vous m’obligeriez, Monsieur, en me donnant quelques renseignemens sur les endroits qui seroient les plus convenables à cet égard, et les personnes dans ces endroits auxquelles il seroit le plus convenable de les adresser.
Aprés la situation de Premier Ministre, lequel, dans le corps legislatif est dans mon code le premier fonctionaire, à-peu-près comme chez les Etats Unis Anglo-Americains, le President—la plus importante est celle de Ministre de la Justice: et c’est avec une satisfaction peu ordinaire que je crois voir, dans la personne de l’auteur destiné du code civil, un legiste, et homme d’état si capable de la remplir.
Ayant oul dire, que par ci et par là en Grèce, il existe plusieurs exemplaires de mes ouvrages edités en Français par mon ami Dumont, ou au moins de l’ouvrage principal, nommé Traité de Legislation, Civile et Penale, en trois volumes, en 8vo, il m’est triste d’apprendre, qu’aucun au départ de Stanhope, n’en avoit jamais passé dans vos mains. Par la présente occasion, j’ai fait ce que j’ai pû pour combler une partie de ce vide, et je me mets en devoir pour en trouver d’autres. Un exemplaire d’un traité sur les Preuves Judiciaires, dans lequel j’ai tâché de couvrir le champ entier de ce sujet jusqu’ici vierge, est actuellement dans mon pouvoir: mais par cette occasion, qui est pressante, je ne sais pas dans le moment si je pourrais trouver ici des exemplaires de l’un ou de l’autre des deux autres de mes ouvrages ci-dessus indiqués. Je vais envoyer tout ce qui, dans le moment, est en mon pouvoir, de ceux qui sont en langue intelligible. Quant a ceux qui sont en Anglais, ce n’est pas le moment pour chercher à en encombrer vos tablettes.
La presente est accompagnée d’une liste à-peu-près complette de ceux de mes ouvrages qui ont jusqu’ici sorti de la presse. Ils ne sont pas tous encore publiés.
Dès que ce paquet vous soit parvenu, je me fie à votre amitié pour saisir la première occasion de m’en faire recevoir la nouvelle.
(Signé) Jeremy Bentham.
I have received by the hands of our illustrious and excellent friend Colonel Leicester Stanhope, with very sincere pleasure, the letter with which you have been so good as to honour me. I shall receive, if I am still alive, with corresponding satisfaction, the work which you allow me to hope for on the civil code; it shall have my best attention, of which, according to our said friend’s account, it cannot fail of being worthy. It must be truly an honour to Greece, to possess a pen so appropriately qualified for a literary labour, whose importance leaves all others at an infinite distance.
As far as the constitutional part is concerned, a code upon which I have laboured nearly two years, is very nearly in a state to be sent in manuscript to Paris, to your excellent Doctor Corai, who has had the goodness to promise to make the translation into modern Greek, which will be printed at Paris, and I believe with the English annexed, in order that the copies may be distributed in Greece.
You will oblige me, Sir, by giving me some information respecting the most eligible places for that purpose, and also the persons at those places to whom it will be proper to address them.
After the situation of prime minister, who, in the legislative body, is in my code the first functionary, nearly similar to the President of the Anglo-American United States, the most important is that of the Minister of Justice; and it is with no little satisfaction, I perceive, in the person of the author of the civil code, a legist and statesman so well able to fill that office.
Having heard, that here and there in Greece there are several copies of my works, written in French by my friend Dumont, or at least of the principal work, entitled, “Traité de Legislation Civile et Penale,” in three volumes in 8vo, I regret to find, that at the period of Colonel Stanhope’s departure it had not been seen by you. By the present occasion I have tried to repair that loss, and shall also avail myself of future opportunities. A copy of a treatise on judicial evidence, in which I have tried to lay open the whole field of argument, is now finished; but by this opportunity, which is a hurried one, I am in doubt whether I shall be able to forward copies of either one or the other of these works. I shall send all I possess which are in a language familiar to you. With regard to those which are in English, it will not be worth while to encumber you.
The present is accompanied by a nearly complete list of such of my works as have already issued from the press, but they are not yet all published.
As soon as this packet comes to hand, I trust to your friendship to take the first opportunity to let me know you have received it.
(Signed) Jeremy Bentham.
Letter 3. To the Provisional Government of Greece: with part of a Constitutional Code.
Legislators,—On the 25th of October last, 1824, I had the pleasure to receive the two letters with which you were pleased to honour me, both dated from Napoli de Romania; the one, of the 11th August 1824, with the signatures of the vice-president, and chief secretary of the senate; the other, of the next day, with the signature of the provisional secretary-general, P. G. Rodios, according to the translations with which I was favoured by your three deputies here.
The favourable mention which you are pleased to make, of such of my papers as you had then received, fills me with shame and regret at the thoughts of the imperfect state in which I was obliged to send those fragments. My hopes were, that they might prove somewhat better than nothing: and it was in that hope that I ventured thus to put to hazard any little reputation which may belong to me.
Since that time, to wit, by a letter dated 24th September 1824, or thereabouts, I ventured to address to you, together with an explanatory paper or two, an ordinance in Spanish relative to the tactics of the legislature of the republic of Buenos Ayres, in late Spanish America. For my pardon for this liberty, I trusted to the accompanying assurance given me by the illustrious draughtsman, that it had been framed in conformity to the principles developed in a work of mine, which for these fourteen years has been before the public in French.
I now take the further liberty of begging your acceptance of a concisely expressed, but, in so far as my conception is correct, an all-comprehensive plan, for the education, location, and remuneration of the functionaries of any republican government, in all their several official situations. Without any addition at the expense of the public, the same plan is calculated to serve for an entire system of national instruction, so far as regards those whose condition in life requires, while their pecuniary circumstances enable them, to improve their minds by intellectual culture. I have therein, I hope, made tolerably well apparent the inseparable connexion which, in the case of official men, I have found to have place between the strictest frugality and the highest degree of aptitude, with reference to their several situations. Principle, title, and motto—Official aptitude maximized—expense minimized. I know not whether, in any such compressed form, it will be found translateable, with correspondent concision, into your present language. From first to last, in preparing these papers, I have kept a more especial eye on what has been represented to me as being the situation of that country—I need not name it to you—which is in so preeminent a degree dear to me.
This plan is contained in four out of the twenty sections, or thereabouts, of the twenty-eight chapters, or thereabouts, into which the matter of my proposed code, in its present state, stands divided. Alas! it is not even yet completed: still, so far as regards the proposed text, it wants but very little of being so. Reasons, expository matter, and instructions for the legislator, are settled in substance, and may from time to time follow, according as time and occasion permit. My hope is, that, in some degree, the proposed text will be found to contain in itself the essence of the reasons by which it was suggested. I inclose the titles of the several chapters and sections of the whole, as they stand at present.
A circumstance which, in no inconsiderable degree, has contributed to the retardation, is the necessary and most intimate connexion which has place between the code of judicial procedure, and that part of the constitutional code which regards the judiciary branch of the official establishment. In that same procedure code, I have already made considerable progress. In it my endeavour has been, to apply upon a national scale, as far as circumstances will allow, those simple principles by which the conduct of a kind and prudent father is guided, in the judgment exercised by him on the conduct of his children. If I live to finish it, it will be the first code of procedure that ever had the ends of justice for its sole, or so much as its main, object: all others having had for their main object the advancement of the sinister interest of their makers—the ruling functionaries; more especially those of the judiciary class, and those their professional associates, from whom they spring: and to this cause may be attributed all that harshness, obscurity, unnecessary complicatedness, and expensiveness, by which all the procedure codes as yet in existence are more or less strongly marked.
Another paper, which I now add, is designed to serve as a substitute to a short section in the former edition—if I may so call it—of my Code: it is that which regards the re-eligibility of the members of the legislative assembly, composed of deputies of the people. The object of it is, to supply, for that most important of trusts, a constant stock of competitors, composed of tried men, whose degrees of aptitude, absolute and comparative, have been manifested by experience; instead of placing things, as is customary, upon such a footing that, whether the first choice be fortunate, or ever so unfortunate, the people find themselves, notwithstanding the forms of election, under a sort of necessity to continue it. This point I flatter myself with having secured; and at the same time, without depriving the people of any part of that advantage, which is looked for in the continually increasing experience and wisdom of those who have distinguished themselves among their colleagues.
Postscript relative to the ten Greek Youths brought to England, Anno 1824, by Mr. Blaquiere.—(It will be read to the Legislative Council, or otherwise disposed of—for example, by being sent to a Government newspaper—as they may be pleased to direct.)
In regard to the Greek youths, whom Mr. Blaquiere brought hither for education, I have observed in one of the Greek newspapers, a little misconception, which it seems incumbent on me to rectify. Three is there mentioned as the number for which I have undertaken to provide. Two, and two only, is the number to which my engagement applied. This appears from the printed work published here in London, by Colonel Stanhope, intituled, “Greece in 1823 and 1824,” in which is inserted the commission given to him on that subject by me; as also from my correspondence on the subject with your deputies here, as contained in two letters, one from me to them, dated March 1824, the other from them to me, dated March 1824: and the time mentioned as that during which my engagement for their maintenance and education here was to continue, stands limited to three years. The expense to me will be from about £160 to about £180 a-year—dollars 850, more or less, per annum.
No disappointment will, I flatter myself, be experienced on that account. Ten is the number of youths whom M. Blaquiere took charge of. Regretted, to the degree that may be imagined, one of them died on the passage. Of the nine that arrived, one has been taken charge of by a friend of mine, with whom I am likely, every now and then, to see him: my friend being highly delighted with him, and entertaining, in relation to his intellectual proficiency and political usefulness, the most sanguine expectations.
The two, whom, upon hearing the report of the trust-worthy persons with whom they have been stationed for the purpose of learning to hold conversation in English, I have taken charge of, are Stamos Nakos, son, if I am not misinformed, of an eparch of Livadia, and Eustratios Rallis. Not many days ago, under the charge of one of the masters, they went to the school, the character of which, as abundantly made known to me, constituted an inducement, without which I should never have ventured to take upon myself so serious a charge.*
Three are thus accounted for. The other six remain under the care of those of our distinguished Philhellenists who have so long combined their benevolent labours under the aggregate name of the Greek Committee.
Receive once more, venerable legislators, the ardent good wishes of your laborious and devoted servant,
Queen’s-Square Place, Westminster,
Letter accompanying the Certificate of Jeremy Bentham’s Election as a Member of the Philanthropic Society at Tripolitza.
Σεϐαστὲ Ἄνεϱ,—Ἄν ϰαὶ δὲν ἐδυνήθην νὰ ϰαϱπωθῶ πϱοσηϰόντως ἀπὸ τὰ σχεδὸν ἀϱχέτυπα τῆς πολιτιϰῆς φιλοσοφίας συγγϱάμματά σου, διὰ τὴν ὁποίαν πϱαγματεύονται ὑψηλὴν ὕλην, ϰαὶ πολλῷ ἀϰόμη ὑψηλοτέϱαν εἰς τοὺς σημεϱινοὺς Ἕλληνας, δὲν ἠμποϱῶ μ’ ὅλον τοῦτο ν’ ἀποσιωπήσω ὅτι ἀπὸ τὴν ἀνάγνωσιν τούτων ὠφελήθην, ϰαὶ ὅτι ἡ ὠφέλεια αὕτη δὲν μένει πολλάϰις χωϱὶς ϰαϱπὸν εἰς τὰς νομοθετιϰὰς τοῦ Ἔθνους μου ἐϱγασίας, εἰς τὰς ὁποίας ἡ Πατϱίς μου μ’ ἔστειλε συνεϱγόν. Κατὰ χϱέος λοιπὸν ἀπαϱίτητον, σοὶ ὁμολογῶ ἀπείϱους χάϱιτας, ϰαὶ σοὶ ἐπεύχομαι ὑγείαν ϰαὶ μαϰϱοϐιότητα διὰ τὴν ὀϱθὴν διευθέτησιν ϰαὶ ὠφέλειαν τοῦ πολιτιϰοῦ ἀνθϱώπου.
Ἐϰ τῶν ἀντιπϱοσώπων τῆς Κϱήτης,
(SUBSTANCE OF THE ABOVE.)
Honoured Sir,—Though not able to avail myself of your writings to their full extent, I have received much instruction from their perusal, and I trust they will be permanently useful to my country. Allow me, then, to communicate to you my own thanks, and the thanks of my countrymen, and to hope your life may be prolonged many happy years. I have the honour to subscribe myself, Sir,
The Vice-President of the Island of Candia, &c. &c.
Napoli, 11-23 August 1824.
Ἀϱιθ. τοῦ Πϱωτοϰόλλου.
Κατατάττεται Ὁ Κύϱιος Ἱεϱεμίας Βενθάμης εὶς τὴν πϱώτην τάξιν τῆς Φιλανθϱωπιϰῆς Ἑταιϱίας.
Ἐδοθη ἐν Ναυπλίῳ τῆιδ′ Αὐγουστου Αωϰδ Δ′τῆς Ανεξαϱτησίας.
The name of Jeremy Bentham is inscribed in the first class of the Philanthropic Society.
Given at Napoli, 14th August 1824.
Jeremy Bentham to Alexander Mavrocordato.
Encouragé par Bowring, je me hazarde à vous adresser de cette manière, mon fils, pour vous présenter quelques petits conseils, qui conviennent, ce me semble, à votre position, et dont les motifs ne peuvent pas être méconuus. Pour fondement, je suppose (car dans toute autre supposition, il ne vaudrait pas la peine de lire davantage)—je suppose qu’à l’égard de quelque partie de mon projet ue code constitutif, il n’y auroit pas de repugnance à en faire plus ou moins d’usage. Or c’est en vous que je crois voir le chef déstiné de la république. Dans mon code le chef ne s’appelle que Premier Ministre, soumis entièrement au corps legislatif, comme celui-ci est au peuple en sa qualité de corps constitutif. Nonobstant cette double sujettion, voilà, ce me semble, un poste qui ne serait pas à dédaigner par quelque individu que ce soit, même par celui qui sans cela serait le chef et le seul chef. Car vous voyez, ou bien vous verrez, comme il a sous ses ordres tous les sous-ministres dans les départemens desquels, pris dans leur ensemble, est compris le total de l’autorité administrative; et comme c’est à lui à les deplacer aussi bien qu’à les placer: et qu’il n’est pas, comme le chef des Etats Unis, éntravé par un senat, lequel, tout en lui allégeant, et rendant, pour ainsi dire, ineffectif, le joug de la responsabilité, lui ôte en même tems à l’égard du placement d’une grande partie des fonctionnaires en sous ordre vingt-une sur vingt-deux parties: puisqu’il ne peut rien faire dans ce genre sans le consentement de la majorité de leur nombre, c’est à dire de quarante: ainsi il ne tient qu’à eux d’exiger que sur chaque vingt-deux places chacun d’eux place un de ses protégés, en lui laissant la vingt-deuxième.
Quant à cette double sujétion ci-dessus, je n’y vois rien qui devroit vous donner le sentiment d’un gêne incommode; ni par rapport à l’intêrét de l’état, ni par rapport à votre intêrét en particulier. Il me semble, que si vous avez le bonheur de posséder le degré de popularité que l’on dit que vous possédez, vous n’en souffreriez rien en effet. Car, au gré du peuple en son entier, je ne saurois m’imaginer comment un homme, qui, sous une forme de gouvernement provisoire, est en effet le chef de l’êtat, puisse mieux mériter, qu’en le placeant ce même peuple, au moyen du pouvoir constitutif, sur la tête de la puissance legislative; laquelle, sans cette subordonnation, auroit le pouvoir absolu, puisqu’elle n’est pas éntravée par aucune puissance coordonnée, par aucun autre corps politique, ni par un veto dans les mains d’aucun individu. Cela étant, si pour accepter la position que je vous déstine, vous avez un sacrifice à faire en apparence, ma pensée est, que dans votre particulier ce ne serait qu’en apparence puisque ce que vous perdriez en pouvoir nominal et ostensible, vous en gagneriez l’equivalent, et même d’avantage, en influence effective; si cela est, la diminution de pouvoir effectif ne serait pas pour vous: elle ne serait que pour vos successeurs. Vous l’auriez pour la vie ce pouvoir si solide, à moins que le corps legislatif ne s’avise à vous deplacer: mais si vous vous conduisez de façon à conserver l’estime du peuple, le corps législatif, soumis comme il est au pouvoir constitutif de ce même peuple—ce corps dont chaque membre peut en tout tems être deplacé par ses commettans—n’oseroit pas vous déplacer.
Au reste, quant à ce pouvoir, que j’appelle dislocatif, que je donne au peuple, non seulement à l’égard des membres du corps législatif, et cela, mais aussi à l’égard du premier ministre, ne craignez pas qu’il n’en abuse à votre prejudice. Oui, si en deplaceant un premier ministre, il pourrait en même tems en mettre un autre à sa place; car, dans ce cas, il ne sauroit manquer tel et tel boutefeu, constamment emploié à les engager à deplacer le fonctionnaire actuel, sans raison valable, et seulement pour l’avantage, à lui boutefeu, de s’emparer de la dépouille ou de la faire donner à quelqu’un avec lequel il agit en concert.
Mais, d’après le code dont il est question, aucun meneur du peuple ne sauroit se faire un profit particulier, de cette façon ni d’aucune autre: ainsi, si jamais il se trouvoit quelqu’un assez hardi pour en faire la proposition, ce ne pourroit être que dans la persuasion que le bien de l’état demande ce changement d’une manière imperieuse: persuasion, dans laquelle, pour réussir, il lui faudroit la concurrence, active et soutenue, de la majorité du peuple.
On verroit, il est vrai, le corps législatif et le corps constitutif, c’est à dire le peuple, au-dessus de vous: ainsi, ce n’est que provisionellement que l’on vous verroit placé pour le vie; puisque non seulement le corps législatif mais aussi le corps constitutif, auroit toujours le pouvoir de vous deplacér.
Mais, au lieu d’un pouvoir adverse, le pouvoir du corps constitutif seroit pour vous une sauvegarde: car si, par avoir bien servi les intérêts du peuple, le corps legislatif s’aviserait de vous deplacer, il ne manqueroit pas d’encourir le ressentiment du peuple, et par là, l’influence individuelle des membres de ce corps seroit reduite à nullité.
Et ce pouvoir du corps constitutif, quelque grand qu’il paroisse, puisqu’il renferme celui de déplacer tous ses fonctionnaires—qu’estce en effet? Ce n’est qu’un pouvoir purement défensif, et il n’y a aucun motif par lequel il pourroit être conduit à en abuser. Oui; s’il s’y trouvoit attaché le pouvoir de placer, ne fût-ce qu’un seul individu, dans une situation, douée, soit d’un grande masse de richesse, soit d’un grand pouvoir; dans ce cas, il en auroit et la tentation et le moyen; car, dans chaques corps de votans il y auroit quelque meneur, qui, pour acquérir, soit pour lui-même, soit pour un associé, l’objet désirable, s’efforcerait d’en faire dépouiller le possesseur. Mais sous le code proposé, hormis les sièges dans l’assemblée legislative, ni le corps constitutif en son entier, ni aucune de ses sections, n’a la moindre place à donner; de toutes les places, le patronage se partage entre vous et le ministre de la justice; et ces places dans l’Assemblée, il n’y en a aucune, qui donne au possesseur dans son particulier le moindre objet de convoitise: le seul objet de la sorte, dans la collation duquel il possède la moindre influence directe, c’est l’office de premier ministre: et dans l’exercice de cette fonction il n’a qu’un pouvoir fractionnaire, n’étant à cet égard rien par lui-même:—rien, sans avoir avec lui la majorité de ses collègues. Je finis à la Romaine—Vale et me ama.
Encouraged by Bowring, I venture to address you in this manner, my son, for the purpose of suggesting to you a few considerations which present themselves to my view, as being applicable to the position you are in. Of the liberty I am thus taking, the motives are too obvious to be in danger of being misunderstood. For a postulate I assume—for, but for this supposition, all motive for reading further would be wanting to you—I assume that, in regard to this or that part of my project of a constitutional code, there will not be on your part any insurmountable repugnance to the making more or less use of it. To this supposition I add another, namely, that in you I behold the destined chief of the republic. In this code of mine, the appellation of the chief single-seated functionary is simply Prime Minister—his situation altogether subordinate to that of the legislative body, as that of the legislative body is to that of the people, in their quality of constitutive body. Notwithstanding this two-graded subordination, here, in my view of the matter, is a situation not likely to be an object of disdain, even to a person who otherwise would be a chief, and even the sole chief; for, you see, or at least may see, how it is, that under his direction are all the several ministers, in whose departments, taken in the aggregate, is comprised the aggregate of the administrative authority, and in what way it is in his power to dislocate them (as I call it) as well as locate them; and that his authority is not, like that of the chief of the United States, clogged by that of a senate, which, while on the one hand it lightens to such a degree as almost to render inefficient the yoke of his responsibility, strips him, at the same time, of one-and-twenty out of two-and-twenty parts of his power of location, with regard to each of a great part of the whole number of functionaries whose situation is subordinate to his. For (the number of the members of the senate being forty) nothing in this way can he do without the consent of a majority of that number, that is to say, one-and-twenty at the least; a consequence of which is, that it rests at all times with each of them to obtain a situation of this sort for one of his protégés, on condition of leaving to the president (such being their title of their chief functionary) the undisturbed nomination of one other, and no more than one.
As to the above-mentioned double-graded subordination, so to style it, I see nothing in it that will, when viewed in its true light, present to you the image of a troublesome yoke; troublesome either with reference to the interest of the community at large, or with reference to your own personal interest in particular. It seems to me, that if you have the felicity of possessing that degree of popularity which you are said to possess, the yoke, such as it is, is one from which you will not feel any real inconvenience; for it seems not to me in what way it is possible for a man who, under a popular form of government, is in effect as well as in name the chief of the state, in any other way more effectually to recommend himself to the favour of the whole body of the people, than by putting and keeping that same body in effect over the head of the legislative authority—that same authority which, but for this subordination, would be in possession of absolute power, not being shackled by any other authority that is co-ordinate to it, by any other body politic, nor by a veto in the hands of any single person. This being the case, if so it be that, by giving your acceptance to the situaation which I have thus marked out for you, a sacrifice of any sort would be to be made by you, my notion of the matter is, that in your own individual instance any such sacrifice would be in appearance only; the case being, that for whatever you lost in nominal and ostensible power, you would gain more than the equivalent in effective influence: in which case, the diminution of power would not apply to you; it would be confined to your successors. This power, substantial as it is, you would possess for life, in every other case than that of the legislative body’s taking upon itself to displace you; but if you do but so comport yourself as to preserve the esteem of the people, the legislative body, subject as it is to the constitutive power of this said people, liable as every member of it is to be displaced by that part of the people of which his electors are composed, would not dare to attempt to remove you.
Nor yet, in regard to this power, which I call the dislocative power, and which I give to the people, exercisable not only on the members of the legislative body, but also on the prime minister himself, fear not its being abusively employed to your prejudice. Yes, if, after displacing a prime minister, it were also in their power to put another in his place; for in that case seldom would there be any want of this or that demagogue, whose constant object and employment it would be to engage them to displace the functionary in office, whoever he was; to displace him without any sufficient reason, and for no advantage to anybody but this same demagogue, whose object it would be, either to possess himself of the spoil, or to get it bestowed upon some one with whom he was in league.
But under the code in question, no such sinister profit could any leader of the people make, either in this way or in any other, the sole power of filling up the gap remaining with the legislature. Thus it is, that, should there ever appear a person bold enough to bring forward any such proposition, it could not be any otherwise than under the persuasion, that the good of the state presented an imperative demand for the proposed change; a persuasion by which no effect could be produced in any other case than that of its being shared in by the majority of the people.
True it is, there would be the legislative body—there would be the constitutive authority; that is to say the people, in a situation superior to your’s; insomuch that it is but provisionally that you would be seated in it for life, since, as above stated, not only that same legislative body, but that same constitutive body, will always have it, each of them, in its power to displace you.
But instead of a power adverse to your’s, that of the constitutive body would be a safeguard to it; for if on account of your having done good service to the interests of the people, the legislative body were to take upon it to displace you, it could not fail thereby to incur the displeasure of the people; by which means, each individual whose conduct had been adverse to you, would find his influence in the body reduced to nothing.
And this same dislocative power, thus given to the constitutive body, vast as it appears, since it includes in it the power of displacing every other functionary in the state, what is it in effect? It is nothing more than a purely defensive power, not exposed to the action of any motive, of the operation of which the abuse of it would be a natural consequence. Yes, if attached to it there were any power of placing, though it were no more than a single individual, in a situation endowed with a large mass, either of the matter of wealth, or of the matter of power: in either case, the people would at once be in possession of the means and the motive for making a mischievous exercise of such its power; for, as above, in each body of voters there would be some leader, who, to obtain, either for himself or for some associate, this object of desire, would be making it his business to endeavour to despoil the possessor of it. But, under the proposed code, no situation whatever, except that of a seat in the legislative assembly, has the constitutive body, either in its entirety, or in any of its sections, the power of conferring. Of all official situations, the patronage would be divided between you and the minister of justice; and of these same seats in the assembly, there is not one which gives to the possessor in his single capacity any the least object of general desire; the only object of that kind, in the conferring of which any member of the legislative body possesses so much as the smallest degree of direct influence (with the exception of the situation of minister of justice) is that of prime minister, and in the exercise of this function, the member possesses no other power than what may be called a fractionary one, he being as nobody taken by himself—as nobody except in so far as he has along with him the majority of his colleagues.
I conclude in the Roman style, “Vale, et me ama.”
Letter from Bernardino Rivadavia to Jeremy Bentham.
J’ai emporté de votre ville le profond regret de n’avoir pas eu le bonheur de vous trouver visible, lorsque je me rendis à votre maison, afin d’avoir l’honneur de prendre congé de vous. C’est une occasion de m’instruire que le sort m’a ravie, et que je souhaiterois bien reparer, autant que possible, en obtenant quelques mots de réponse à celleci. Jamais le souvenir flatteur des procédés obligeans dont vous avez daigné m’honorer, pendant mon sejour à Londres, ne s’éffacera; et croyez que je saisirais avec bien de l’empressement l’occasion qui s’offrirait de vous en temoigner ma vive reconnaissance.
Depuis le dernier instant que j’eus l’honneur de passer avec vous (il y a plus de dix-huit mois,) je n’ai cessé de méditer vos principes en matière de legislation; et à mon retour ici, j’ai éprouvé une satisfaction bien grande, en voyant les profondes racines qu’ils jettaient, et l’ardeur de mes concitoyens à les adopter. Vous verrez, Monsieur, que le réglement de notre chambre des deputés cijoint, que j’ai eu l’honneur de lui proposer et qu’elle a sanctionné dans une de ses séances, est entièrement basé sur les incontestables et frappantes vérités contenues dans votre ouvrage sur la tactique des assemblées legislatives; et dans la chaire de droit civil que j’ai fait instituer, se professent les principes eternels, démontrés si savamment dans votre cours de legislation (publié par M. Dumont,) ouvrage déstiné à faire marcher à pas de géant la civilisation chez les peuples assez heureux pour savoir l’apprécier.
Vous me ferez le plus sensible plaisir si vous daignez, dans la réponse que j’ai déjà sollicitée de votre bonté, et que j’attends avec une impatience proportionnée au prix que j’y attache, me donner votre avis sur ce même réglement de la chambre, et m’indiquer les changemens, additions, ou modifications qu’il vous parâitrait nécessaire d’y faire. L’amour de l’humanité qui vous anime, me porte à croire que ma prière ne vous semblera point importune, et aussi, que vous ne lirez point sans intrêt, le précis des ameliorations que la nation se glorifie de devoir à l’impulsion que je m’efforce de donner aux choses, guidé par vos sages préceptes. Ainsi donc vous saurez que je me suis appliqué à réformer les anciens abus de toute espèce, qui pouvaient se rencontrer dans l’administration; à empêcher que d’autres ne s’établissent; à donner aux séances de la Chambre des Représentans la dignité qui leur conviennent; à favoriser l’établissement d’une banque nationale sur des bases solides; à réformer, après leur avoir assuré une indemnité juste, les employés civils et militaires qui surchargeoient inutilement l’état; à protéger par des loix repressives la sûreté individuelle; à ordonner et faire exécuter des travaux publics d’une utilité reconnue; à protéger le commerce, les sciences et les arts; à provoquer une loi, sanctionée par la chambre, qui réduit de beaucoup les droits de douane; à provoquer également une réforme ecclésiastique bien necessaire, et que j’ai l’éspérance d’obtenir: en un mot, à faire tous les changemens avantageux que l’espoir de votre honourable approbation, m’a donné la force d’entreprendre, et me fournira celle d’exécuter.
Agréez, Monsieur, l’assurance de ma parfaite estime, et à l’avance, l’hommage de ma reconnaissance, pour la réponse que j’attend de votre bonté.
(Signé) Bernar. Rivadavia.*
Buenos Ayres, le 26 Aout 1822.
I sincerely regret not having had the pleasure of seeing you, when I called at your house previous to my leaving London, in order to bid you farewell. It would have proved an opportunity of instruction, of which fate has deprived me, and which loss I wish to repair in as far as it is possible, by obtaining a few words of reply to this letter. Never will the flattering marks of kindness which you loaded me with during my stay in London, be effaced from my recollection; and believe me, I shall embrace eagerly every opportunity of showing my lively gratitude.
Since the last moment that I had the honour to pass with you (now more than eighteen months ago,) I have never ceased to meditate on your principles of legislation; and on my return here, I have experienced very great satisfaction in seeing the deep root which they have taken, and the ardour of my fellow-citizens to adopt them. You will observe, Sir, that the annexed regulation of our chamber of deputies, which I had the honour to propose to it, and which it has sanctioned in one of its sittings, is entirely founded on the incontestable and striking truths contained in your work upon the tactics of legislative assemblies; and in the chair of civil law which I have instituted, they profess the eternal principles so learnedly demonstrated in your course of legislation, (published by Mr. Dumont,) a work destined to cause civilization to march with gigantic strides amongst those states that are happy enough to appreciate it.
You will confer upon me the most sensible pleasure, in your reply to this, which I have before solicited, and which I anxiously wait for, with an impatience equal to the high value I attach to it, by giving me your advice respecting this same regulation of the chamber, and to point out to me the changes, additions, or modifications, which you may think proper to make in it. The philanthropy which animates you, induces me to hope my expectations will not seem importunate, and also that you will read with interest the particulars of the amelioration of a nation, who glory in having, through my exertions, received the impulse from your sage precepts. You will also perceive that I have applied myself to reform the ancient abuses of all kinds found in our administration, and to prevent the establishing of others, to give to the sittings of the chamber of representatives the dignity which becomes them; to favour the establishment of a national bank upon a solid basis; to retrench (after having allowed them a just indemnity) those civilians and military who incumber uselessly the state; to protect individual property; to cause to be executed all public works of acknowledged utility; to protect commerce, the sciences, and the arts, to promulgate a law sanctioned by the chamber, which reduces very materially the custom-house duties; to promote equally an ecclesiastical reform, which is very needful, and which I hope to accomplish: in one word, to make all the advantageous alterations which the hope of your approbation has given me the strength to undertake, and will enable me to execute.
Accept, Sir, the assurance of my perfect esteem, and my anticipated gratitude for the reply which I hope from your goodness.
(Signed) Bernar. Rivadavia.
Buenos Ayres, 26th August 1822.
(Copy.)—José del Valle, Guatelama, to Jeremy Bentham.
Sus obras le dan el titulo glorioso de legislador del mundo. Los que han sido llamados por sus destinos á formar ó discutir projectos de codigos civiles ó criminales han pedido luces a V.; y yo tengo mas que otros necessidad de ellas.
La Assemblea de este Estado de Guatemala se ha servido nombrarme individuo de la comision que debe formar nuestro codigo civil. Yo he vuelto los ojos a V. y sus dignas obras. Tengo algunas; me faltan otras; y sus pensamientos serian por mi de precio infinito.
Permitame V. le suplique vuelva su atencion á una republica que acaba de nacer, y cuia felicidad me intereza en el grado mas alto. Sirvase comunicarme sus pensamientos. Sabrá apreciarlos quien ofrece á V. los respetos y consideracion con que tengo el honor de ser su mas ato. serv.
Jose del Valle.
A Mr. Jeremias Bentham.
Your works give you the glorious title of legislator of the world. Those whose lot it has been to be called on to prepare, or to discuss, projects of civil or criminal code, have requested your guidance; I, more than any, feel the want of it.
The Assembly of this State of Guatemala has been pleased to name me a member of the committee for forming our civil code. I turn my eyes to you and your excellent writings: some I have, others I have not; but your thoughts would be of infinite value to me.
Allow me, then, to entreat you will turn your attention to this newly-born republic, whose happiness is of the highest interest to me. Kindly communicate your ideas, which will be duly appreciated by him who offers you all the respect and attention with which, &c. &c.
(Signed) Jose del Valle.
To Mr. Jeremy Bentham.
*∗* In Brazil, a little before the act of despotism, or say the revolution, by which the Emperor dissolved the Cortes, shipping off the supposed democratically disposed members, some to the Peninsula, others to Goa, in Hindostan, Jose Bonifacio d’Andrade, the then prime minister, made no secret of his intentions, on the meeting of the Cortes, to move that application should be made to Mr. Bentham for his assistance in the formation of a code for that state. This intention of his had been twice declared in conversation, with William Effingham Lawrence, Esq., who, in a vessel of his own, touched at Rio Janeiro, in his way to Van Diemen’s Land. This information is contained in a series of highly interesting letters, written from thence by Mr. Lawrence to Mr. Bentham.
These letters, with the two passages to the above effect in them, were seen by several of Mr. Bentham’s friends; but, having been lent out or mislaid, cannot at this moment be recovered. The passages particularly in question were scarcely longer than those here employed in giving intimation of them. But in those same letters there was a great deal more about the cognizance taken of Mr. Bentham’s works by the statesmen in question, and others belonging to different parties.—Ed. of original Edition.
end of volume iv.
[* ]This was said in presence of Sir S. Romilly, and by his deportment and silence stood confirmed.
[* ]Meaning, in England.
[† ]The instrument is from an engraving, with blanks for names and dates.
[* ]These funds are composed of bequests made for charitable purposes.
[† ]A work entituled ESPIRITU DE BENTHAM Sistema de la Ciencia Social.—Ideado por el Jurisconsulto Inglis Jeremias Bentham y puesto en ejecucion conforme a los principios del Autor original por el Dr. D. Toribio Nuñez, Jurisconsulto Español, Salamanca: Imprenta nueva: Por D. Bernardo Martin, 1820: 8vo, pages 140.
[* ]This body was composed of four members: The Conde de Sampaio, President, and Messrs. Carvalho, de Sao Luis, et Soto Maior.
[* ]March 15th, this letter of the 3d of December has not yet come to hand.
[† ]See No. 5, which was afterwards printed in Appendix.
[* ]The following paper exhibits the proportion, between the number of lawyers, and the number of men of all other professions, in the Congress of the Anglo-American United States, anno 1820. It is an exact reprint of a slip of printed paper, sent without explanation, to Mr. Bentham, by a diplomatic functionary:—
“CONGRESSIONAL ‘COMPOSITION.’ “A Statement of the Professions of the Members of the present Congress, made out by a Member.
“In House of Representatives.—100 lawyers; 13 physicians; 62 planters and farmers: 9 merchants; and 2 mechanics.
“188 Representatives, 2 Delegates, 44 Senators. Whole number of Members of Congress, 233. From New England and New York, in the house of representatives, 40 lawyers. Whole number of representatives from do. 68: deduct lawyers, 40; other professions, 28.”—(Western Journal.)
[* ]He was, in Corfu, Mr. Hamilton Browne’s master for the Greek language.
[* ]At this time, all that in England was known of that gentleman was, that in his own country he had filled the highest situations of public trusts.
[* ]May 1827. Of the two volumes of which it consists, an impression (a translation of the first) is far advanced: translator, Dr. Puigblanch, late professor of Hebrew at Alcalá, and subsequently, Deputy from Catalonia to the last Spanish Cortes.
[* ]Theodore Negris, who was at this period Minister of Justice, was one of the few men who had formed a correct estimate of the wants of his country; and since his death no individual has appeared to supply his place by forwarding, or even by recommending the adoption of any code of laws, which has long been, and still is, one of the primary necessities of Greece. Negris had the sagacity to see the necessity of a prompt attention to this subject, and the virtue to urge the early consideration of it on all whom he could influence. But his power was inconsiderable, even when he possessed office, and he died soon after the dispatch of the above letter.
[* ]By the ill health of that excellent man, this design was frustrated.
[* ]Nakos, having for a considerable time been labouring, to an alarming degree, under the indisposition called, in familiar language, mother-sickness, and his mother, at the same time, under the corresponding malady, was, at their joint request, sent back to Greece, under the care of the then Greek envoys, Messrs. Orlando and Luriottis; but, when he went, it was with a declared intention to come back again, if he could find means, after a residence of a year or two in his native land. Rallis, before he had passed at Haslewood his term of three years, had made such progress, and conducted himself so well in every respect, that he received from the masters an invitation to continue his residence at the school, in quality of usher, which invitation he accepted.
[* ]At the recommendation of Mr. Bentham, Mr. Rivadavia sent two of his sons to Messrs. Hill’s school, at Hazlewood, near Birmingham, from which an off-set is just planted at Bruce Castle, near Tottenham; and so well satisfied has Mr. Rivadavia been with the situation of these his sons, that six more pupils have come from that part of late Spanish America, making, in the whole, eight, among whom some others are relations of Mr. Rivadavia.—Ed. of orig. Edit.