Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER I.: TERRITORY OF THIS STATE, NAME, SITUATION, BOUNDARIES, DIVISIONS. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 9 (Constitutional Code)
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CHAPTER I.: TERRITORY OF THIS STATE, NAME, SITUATION, BOUNDARIES, DIVISIONS. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 9 (Constitutional Code) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 9.
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TERRITORY OF THIS STATE, NAME, SITUATION, BOUNDARIES, DIVISIONS.
Article 1. [NA] is the denomination of this state. Its constitution is that which stands expressed in this present Code.
Art. 2. The territory appertaining to it is as follows. [NA] ☞ Here insert its situation on the globe, in latitude and longitude, with a designation of its boundaries, natural and conventional.
Art. 3. The whole territory is divided into Districts. Each District is an Election District (as to which see Ch. vi. Legislature) sending one Deputy to serve as a member of the Legislature. Subject to alteration by the Legislature, by union or division of entire Districts, each District is moreover the territory of a Sub-legislature, as per Ch. xxix. Sub-legislatures. Also, subject, in like manner, to alteration, it is the territory of an Appellate Judicatory, as per Ch. xii. Judiciary, and Ch. xxii. Appellate Judicatories. Of these Districts the denominations are as follows. ☞ Here insert the list.
Art. 4. Each District is divided into Subdistricts. Each Subdistrict is, as per Election Code, (see Ch. vi. Legislature section 4,) a Vote receiving, or say, Voting District. Each Voting District sends one Deputy to the Sub-legislature of the District. Subject to union and division, as above, each Subdistrict is the territory of an Immediate Judicatory, as per Ch. xii. Judiciary, and Ch. xiii. Judges Immediate. Of these Sub-districts, the denominations are as follows. ☞ Here insert the list.
Art. 5. Each Subdistrict is divided into Bis-subdistricts. Each Bis-subdistrict is the territory of a Local Headman, as to whom see Ch. xxv. In case of need,—for example, by change in populousness or condition in other respects,—Bis-subdistricts may come to be united or divided, as above. Of a Bis-subdistrict, if divided, the Sections will be Tris-subdistricts, and so on.
Art. 6. In this scheme of territorial division, the Legislature will, at all times, make any such alteration as in its judgment the exigencies or convenience of the time shall have required. Of the Districts originally marked out, it will make any two or more into one: it will divide any one or more, each of them into two or more, reserving to each the name and attributes of a District. So likewise as to Subdistricts and Bis-subdistricts. But, seeing the complication and confusion that might ensue,—it will not, but in a case of urgency, at any of these three stages in the course of division, proceed upon any plan, which shall not be, as above, commensurable with the one originally employed.
The several portions of territory, for the denomination of which the above-mentioned appellations are respectively employed, are the supposed results of so many supposed sectional operations, having for their subject-matter the entire or aggregate of the dominions of the state in question, whatever it be,—distant dependencies not being taken into account: so many of these denominations, so many grades or stages in the process of division:—a process, the effect of which is to multiply the subject-matter of the division, by a number equal to that of the divisor employed. Thus, for simplicity of conception, suppose the same divisor 20 employed at each operation: divide the whole territory of the state by 20, you have 20 of the portions above denominated Districts: divide the districts each by 20, you have in each District 20 Subdistricts; in the whole territory, 400 Subdistricts: divide the Subdistricts each by 20, you have in each Subdistrict 20 Bis-subdistricts, in each District, 400 Bis-subdistricts; in the whole state, 8000 Bis-subdistricts: divide the Bis-subdistricts each by 20, you have in each Bis-subdistrict 20 Tris-subdistricts; in each Subdistrict 400 Tris-subdistricts; in each District 8000 Tris-subdistricts: in the whole state, 160,000 Tris-subdistricts.
For any such divisional operation, it appears not that any practical use can be assigned, other than that of its being employed in furnishing stations for functionaries; for functionaries of some sort or other, one or more, in the several sections of territory which, taken together, exhibit the result of it.
If, in any state, application be made of the principles of the present proposed Code, the number of the sectional operations performed, and thence of the stages, or say grades, of division produced and employed, as above, will naturally be influenced by the magnitude of the aggregate territory of such state, combined with that of the population. It will not, however, increase in any regular proportion: for, after a certain number of these grades or stages, every good effect contemplated by addition to the aggregate number, may be produced by augmenting the divisor, and thence the number of the sections of territory at one or more stages; thus avoiding the production of the bad effect, to wit, the complication, which would be the necessary result of every addition made to the number of these same stages.
On the above grounds, and others, which will appear presently, the number of stages represented by the denomination Tris-subdistricts, is the number here regarded as the greatest number, for which, in the most extensive state, there can be any use: while, on the other hand, as, for example, in a Swiss Canton, the smallness of the aggregate territory may have the effect of reducing the number of these stages or grades to one, or even rendering any such divisional operation, with its results, altogether needless.
In Ch. xxv. of this proposed Code, the existence is assumed of a demand for a public functionary in every portion of territory, which, according to the above explanation, comes under the denomination of a Bis-subdistrict—a portion of territory resulting from the division of the above-explained portion called Subdistrict, as that does from the division of the portion styled a District, as above explained: both of them susceptible of different denominations, according to the different purposes to which they are respectively made applicable. This same least portion of territory is the portion employed as the seat or station of a sort of functionary, who, in Ch. xxv., will be found designated by the appellation of a Local Headman: a functionary, of whose situation and proposed functions some conception, though very rough, and subject to great amendment, particularly in the way of addition, may be conveyed by the word Maire, in the sense in which it is universally employed in France; the word Mayor, in the sense in which it is in some instances employed in England; and the word Alcalde, in the sense in which it is employed in Spain, and the dominions still or of late belonging to Spain, in America, and elsewhere.
A further, though tacitly made assumption, is—that in each territory belonging to an Immediate Judicatory, (so called in contradistinction to an Appellate Judicatory,) there will be a demand for Local Headmen, (number indetermined, because on the present occasion impossible to be determined,) each with his appropriate territory—constituting his local field of service.
A state of things, which might perhaps come to be found exemplified, is—that, in which, in the instance of this or that territory of an Immediate Judicatory, territory and population considered together, the extent might be so small, that a single Local Headman’s station, having for its limits the same as those of the territory of the judicatory, would be found sufficient. But, by this circumstance, no demand would be produced for any change, in the arrangement, here grounded on the supposition of an indefinite number of Local Headmen’s territories, included in every Immediate Judge’s territory.
Of a demand for a sort of territory of a still inferior grade—of a sort of territory which would come under the denomination of a Tris-subdistrict, the notion may naturally enough be presented in English by the word parish; in the several other European languages, by the several words derived in those languages respectively from the same root: that is to say, the Greek word, which signifies a cluster of neighbouring habitations, and which, in Latin characters is expressed by the word paroecia, or in Greek παϱοιϰὶα. But, supposing the existence of a peremptory demand for a class of territories, of a grade so low as the one expressed by this same word Tris-subdistrict,—no sufficient reason will, it is believed, be found for the allotment of anything more than an extremely limited logical field of action to the corresponding functionary: no reason for any such field of action, comparable in extent to that which will here be seen allotted to the Local Headman in his territory.
Only, as above observed, for simplicity of conception,—has the same division, to wit, twenty, been assumed, on the instance of every stage or grade brought to view. In practice, the diversities incident to magnitude of territory and population considered, together with the ever-variable magnitude of population in each territory,—whatsoever be the state in question, divisions of very different magnitudes, in the several grades or stages compared with one another, will be found requisite; and, by means of all these diversities taken together, the same number of stages or grades will be found applicable to different states, the aggregate portions of which are of the most widely differing magnitudes.
What is plain is—that to no state whatsoever can application be made of this Code, without its finding such state already subjected to some all-comprehensive scheme or other of territorial division, as above explained. But, by no such existing scheme will any naturally insuperable impediment be opposed to the scheme here proposed, in so far as, by the adoption of it, a promise may be thought to be afforded, of any specific and assignable advantageous effects. By separation or aggregation, or both together, the existing portions of territorial divisions, whatsoever they may be, and howsoever denominated, may be made applicable to all the several purposes which will here be seen proposed: and thus may they be made the seats of functionaries, invested with the functions herein respectively defined.
As to the names herein given to the results of the several successive divisional operations, some conception of the peculiar use of them can scarcely fail to have presented itself to view. For, thus it is that the order, of which the numeration-table gives the expression, may be given to any scheme of division established or proposed, which otherwise, by the total want of all indication of the relation between one elementary part and another—in a word, by the perfect arbitrariness of the import of every denomination employed, must impose so heavy and needless a task on the conception and memory of every person, to whose cognizance it comes to be presented.*
To the forming of an adequate idea of the disadvantages attendant on the existing system of denomination for this class of objects, and thence of the advantage producible by the adoption of the here proposed one,—it would be necessary to look over the list of them, as they stand exemplified in some one or more political state: and that of the British dominions, compared and contrasted with those of France, will perhaps be deemed sufficient. In the case of France, as regenerated by the Revolution, simplicity and uniformity will be found observable; natural expressiveness, not: in the case of England, Scotland, and Ireland, natural expressiveness equally wanting; and, instead of simplicity and uniformity, a chaos.†
In France, the whole kingdom, distant dependencies out of the question, is divided into departments; each department, into arrondissements; each arrondissement, into Cantons each Canton, into communes. Of paroisses, (in English, parishes,) no mention is made.
In the here proposed plan of nomenclature, they would be thus denominated:
From the example of England, no instruction,—equivalent to the time, space, and labour requisite for the extraction and communication of it,—could be obtained: so great the diversification, so thick the complication and confusion, in which it is involved. If a county be taken as corresponding to district, the number of grades of division is, in some counties, different from what it is in others: and, in two counties in which the number of these stages is the same, the denominations given to the results, are different. See Mr Rickman’s highly instructive preface, prefixed to the Population Returns made to the English House of Commons, and printed.
For different purposes, two schemes of division have place:—the one, called civil or temporal, instituted for the purpose of security against adversaries, internal and external; the other, called ecclesiastical or spiritual, instituted in a dark age by a foreign potentate—foreign with reference to the British Isles—for the purpose of extracting money, on pretence of saving souls.
On the temporal plan, the result of the division, made in the ultimate grade, is called a township, village, or hamlet: in the spiritual, a parish; in some instances, the two results are coincident; in others, not. For a multitude of important purposes, in particular for taxation and registration, the spiritual plan has, in the case of this ultimate result, been adopted into the temporal; and by this adoption, vast and various is the confusion and mischief that has been produced. See Ch. xxvi. Local Registrars.
In a political state, the territory of which, (distant dependencies out of the question,) were not much different from that of France, England, Scotland, or even Ireland,—the result of the ultimate sectional operation might, perhaps, be of a magnitude between that of the French arrondissement, and that of the French commune. With a view to the present purpose, all these integers of territory are put upon a level: for, great as is the difference between the largest of them and the smallest—between France and Scotland—still, it is not (it is believed) so great, as not to be capable of being made up for, by a difference in number; that is to say, by giving, to a country resembling France in magnitude, a greater number—to a country resembling Scotland, a lesser number, of these same atoms of territory, if such they may be called: for atom is from the correspondent Greek word, which means that which is not susceptible of ulterior division, or at least has not been subjected to it.
Note here as to economy, and the effect produced in relation to it, by the number of grades of territorial divisions. On one account, the greater this number, the greater the aggregate mass of expense: on another account, the greater this same number, the less the mass of expense. The circumstance by which the increase is effected in the expense is this—that, by each grade of divisional operation, are produced a set of sub-territories, each of them with a set of officers and official residences to be provided for. The circumstance by which diminution is effected in the expense is—that in proportion to the increase in the number of those same sets of officers, and official residences, is the diminution in the magnitude of each such sub-territory: and thence, (supposing them rendered as equal as may be in magnitude,) the less is their magnitude, and the less the journeys which those inhabitants whose habitations are at the greatest distance from the seat of business—the official residence—will have to make in passing to and from it, with the intervening demurrage. Too apt to be overlooked, but not the less real and important, is this latter item of expense. In the case of the vast majority, expense in time is expense in money. The expense in officers’ pay and official residences is borne proportionably by the opulent few and the unopulent many: the expense in time employed, as above, in journeys, is borne almost exclusively by the unopulent many: by those to whom their time affords no profit, no loss is sustained from the unprofitable expenditure of it.
[* ]In this scheme may be seen exhibited a portion of universal language applicable to the subject with equal advantage and facility to the several different languages of all civilized nations: the language of the numeration table being alike needed by all, and accordingly alike employed by all: and thus far the language of each may be understood by the natives of every other, and to incomparably greater perfection than at present the language of any one is understood by the natives of that one.
[† ]If, in the present instance, this same principle of denomination is, in its nature, applicable with more or less advantage, so it will, it is believed, be found to be in a great variety of other instances: if to any natural and material whole, so to any ideal or other factitious aggregate—say, for example, to any of those aggregates which form the subject-matter of natural history: and in particular, if classed by divisional operations, performed in the dichotomous mode, as exhibited table-wise in Dr Dumeril’s admirable French work on Zoology. But, ere it had proceeded far, this mode of designation would probably be found too unwieldy for use, at any rate unless figures could be substitutes for words.