Front Page Titles (by Subject) ADVERTISEMENT. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 5 (Scotch Reform, Real Property, Codification Petitions)
Return to Title Page for The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 5 (Scotch Reform, Real Property, Codification Petitions)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
ADVERTISEMENT. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 5 (Scotch Reform, Real Property, Codification Petitions) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 5.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Contained in the present publication are three papers:—
Paper the first, Proposed Petition for Justice, at full length.
Paper the second, Proposed Petition for Justice in an abridged form.
Paper the third, Proposed Petition for Codification.
I. Petition for Justice at full length. Parts of it these:—
Part I. Case made:—Grounds of the hereby proposed application to the House of Commons: inaptitude, to wit, of the existing system of judicial procedure, with reference to its alleged and supposed ends, as also of the judicial establishment occupied in the application of it: proofs, the several heads and instances of abuse and imperfection, which are accordingly brought and held up to view.
Part II. Prayer consequent:—Remedy proposed, for the disorder composed of those same abuses and imperfections.
Prayer, its parts,—
Part 1. Outline of the proposed judicial establishment.
Part 2. Outline of the proposed system of procedure. Model, the domestic system: that, to wit, which is pursued of course by every intelligent father of a family, without any such idea as that of its constituting the matter of an art or science: sole difference the necessary enlargement and diversification, correspondent to the difference in magnitude between the two theatres.
II. Petition for Justice in an abridged form. Parts of it these.—
Part I. Abridgment of the case part of the full-length petition.
Part II. Prayer part. Matter of it the same, word for word, as that of the full-length petition: reference accordingly sufficient; repetition, needless.
Reasons for the two different forms, these:
1. In the full-length petition, number of the pages, as will be seen 207. Cumbrous would an instrument of this length be, if presented in the only form in which it would be received,—cumbrous, and that to such a degree, that its bulk might of itself be found an insurmountable obstacle to its being carried about for signature. This form is—that of a roll of parchment, composed of skins tacked on, one to another; length, whatever is necessary for receiving the signatures, in addition to the matter of the petition.
2. Compared with that of the abridged instrument, the expense of the operation of engrossing would of itself be a serious obstacle.
3.Readers in greater numbers—readers and thence signers, may of course be expected for the shorter than for the longer instrument: to each reader the two will here present themselves for choice.
For reading, the instrument presented to a person looked to as disposed to promote the design, will be of course a printed copy of this work. In this way it is perusable by any number of persons at the same time; while, if there was no other copy than the above-mentioned roll, years might elapse before this instrument could pass through the number of hands in succession, to each of whom a single day might suffice for the persual of a copy of it.
III. Petition for Codification. Intimately connected is the subject-matter of this petition with that of the petition for justice. No otherwise than by codification can the reform here prayed for—or any effectual reform in any shape—be carried into effect. A petition, in the terms here seen, having been honoured by the approbation of Mr. O’Connell, has by that gentleman, as a letter of his informs the author of these papers, been put into the hands of the Catholic Association for the purpose of its being circulated for signatures.
Of this publication—the ultimate object being the engaging Parliament to take into consideration the subject matter of it, the immediate and instrumental object is, the engaging individuals to concur, by their signatures, in the endeavour to induce Parliament to take the desired course.
Persons looked to for signatures, who? Answer: Every person, in whose breast any such desire has place as that of seeing made, in relation to any subject-matter touched upon by it, any change not looked for by him from any other source: any change whatsoever, be the complexion of it ever so different from, or ever so opposite to, that of the change here proposed.
What? (says somebody)—co-operation expected from persons entertaining desires directly opposite? Yes, even from them. How so? Because, supposing Parliament taking the matter into consideration,—to each person, for the seeing such his own desires gratified, would thus be afforded a chance, such as he would not possess otherwise.
But if, at the hands even of persons entertaining opposite views and wishes, such co-operation may not unreasonably be expected, with how much stronger assurance may it be expected at the hands of persons whose views and wishes are more or less in accordance with what is here endeavoured at?
Now as to the ground of expectation in regard to Parliament. This is the distinctive character of the present work, presenting, as it does, in addition to the statement, and that an all-comprehensive one, of the alleged disorder, a proposed remedy. So far as regards the mere disorder, the work is an operation, an easier than which could not easily be found: at no time can any hand be incompetent to it. While, in any such task, as that of the exhibition of a remedy so much as approaching to co-extensiveness with the disorder, no ground appears for supposing any other hand at present engaged,—or, without invitation, likely in any way to engage.
This or none, such alone is the option presented to every person on whose part any disposition has place to employ his signature in applying to the disorder its sole possible remedy. To wait till a draught to this extent presented itself, to no part of which he saw anything to object, would be to wait till the end of time!
In regard to codification, included in the object of this publication, is, it will be seen, not only the presenting to view the fruit of the author’s own labours, but the engaging other candidates in the greatest number obtainable in the same, so supremely and all-comprehensively important, service.
Nor to this purpose is the same sanction of authority altogether wanting. By implication at any rate, codification has in its favour the declared opinion, and recommendation of the Real Property Commissioners: witness the questions circulated by them. Sufficiently manifest at any rate is the recommendation, while, in pursuance of their labours, something should be done. But by Parliament, whatever it be, either by codification or not at all, will it have been done: and whatever be the length to which this indispensable operation has been carried—why it should stop there or anywhere short of completion, is a question to which it rests with any declared opponent of codification to find, if it be in his power, anything like a rational answer: by his refusal to answer it, or his silence, in relation to it, judgment of inconsistency against him will be signed.
These things considered, requisite assurances are not wanting, that as soon as the press of more urgent business admits, the matter of both petitions will, by appropriate motions, be brought to the view of the Honourable House.
Instructions as to the mode of proceeding for obtaining signatures.
Provide a skin of parchment, tack to it, one after another, others in sufficient number to contain the matter of the petition, with the addition of signatures in such number as you expect to obtain for it. A thing desirable is, that all persons who join in the petition may be distinguished, each one from any other: for this purpose, let each subscriber add to his name at length an indication of the place of his abode. If it be where there is not a town, the name of the county and the parish will be the proper mode of designation: if in a town, the name of the town, with that of the street or other mode of address, employed in sending a letter by the post. To save bulk and expense,—divide the roll into parallel columns, each of them wide enough to receive a signature of an average length, in which case, when it exceeds that length, two lines will always be necessary, though commonly sufficient. To each signature prefix a number expressive of the order in which it stands.
As to the instrument thus employed—in general, if not exclusively—it will be the abridged petition: the full-length petition being much too large, and the transcription of it too expensive, for general use. To any person disposed to use his endeavours to obtain signatures for the longer petition, should it present itself as being too long, an easy operation it will be to strike out of it such parts as, it seems to him, can best be spared. Where any abridged petition is the one employed—in this case, a copy of the petition at length, as printed, should be left with the person applied to, that he may peruse it, if so inclined, before the roll is put into his hands for signature.
Of the opposition which every such coadjutor has reason to expect, it is material that he should be sufficiently aware. From all persons to whom any change in the existing system would be an object of regret, such is the reception which should of course be looked for and provided against: and in this number are included of course all those by whom, to any amount, in any shape, in any way, direct or indirect, profit is derived, or thought by them to be derived, from any abuse or imperfection, to which, by the proposed draught, a remedy is endeavoured to be applied: more particularly all attornies or solicitors, as of late years they have been called, and persons especially connected with them by any tie of interest or relationship, not to speak of judges, other persons belonging to the judicial establishment, and barristers.
Nor as to the whole class, and its several ramifications, let it ever be out of mind, that, on their own principles, by their own showing, being incontestably interested, they are, one and all, in relation to this matter, not to speak of so many other matters, to use their own language, so many incompetent, incredible, and altogether inadmissible witnesses.
Of this publication one natural effect is the producing addresses, in one way or other, to the author, from correspondents, to the number of whom no certain limits can be predicted, and which, if precautions were not taken, might be such as to be oppressive. For, so it is, that whatever probability there may be of the presentation of petitions, or though it were no more than a single petition, in the course of the present session, the like probability may continue during an indefinite length of ulterior time: but for the arrangement thus requested, this publication might therefore have for one of its effects the imposing upon the author a charge to an indefinite amount, and not terminating but with his life.
On this account it is requested that no communication be addressed to the author but through the medium of the bookseller: nor to the bookseller, but either post paid, or accompanied with an order for a copy of the work.
Lastly, as to the usefulness of this production, and the endurance of which it is susceptible. To those whom the design may be fortunate enough to number amongst its well-wishers, and the production among its approvers, a consideration that cannot fail to be more or less agreeable is,—that, whatsoever may be its capacity for attracting signatures, the same may remain to it during an indefinite length of time: and that so long as the remembrance of this publication lasts, no one to whom the existing self-styled instrument of security is a source and instrument—of depredation, of oppression, in a word, of injury in any shape, can be in want of a ready vehicle for the communication of his complaints.