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CHAPTER VII.: LEGISLATOR’S INAUGURAL DECLARATION. * - 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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LEGISLATOR’S INAUGURAL DECLARATION.*
Art. 1. In the front of the Election District Office, in face of the assembled multitude, immediately after the notification made by the Election Clerk of the person in whose favour a majority of the votes has been declared,—the person so elected will, in token of assent, read aloud with his name thereto subscribed, the Legislator’s Inaugural Declaration, in all the several words in and by which it stands expressed in the sections hereinafter following.
Art. 2. In case of unavoidable absence on his part, by reason of sickness or other accidental cause,—as also to provide for the case, in which, without his knowledge, or without his consent, he has been proposed to be elected as if he had been a candidate,—any person,—acting on his behalf, with his consent, and in proof thereof, producing an exemplar thereof, signed by the proposed member, as above,—will, upon declaring, on his responsibility, the cause of such absentation, be admitted to read the Inaugural Declaration in his stead: saying, immediately before the commencement of such his reading—“I, (mentioning his name,) at the desire of A. M. (mentioning the member’s name,) read this his Inaugural Declaration in his stead: and it is his desire, that the words of it be considered as his as effectually as if it had been by himself that they were read.”
Art. 3. For prevention of insincerity, and that it may be left without excuse,—any person so elected may, in manner following, subjoin to the so attested exemplar of his Declaration, any such exceptions, or say expressions of partial dissent, and any such supposed amendments, and explanations, as he thinks fit.
Art. 4. In this case, whatsoever be the words or clauses from which he means to state himself as dissenting,—or to which he is desirous of seeing any proposed amendment made or explanation given,—he will give indication of them, by enclosing them respectively in brackets, with a numerical figure, letter, or other mark of reference, which will accordingly be repeated at the commencement of such his statement.
At the same time, and in the same way, he will, if so minded, declare the considerations, which, in the character of reasons, have been the causes, by which such his dissent, or indication of supposed amendment, or requisite explanation, has been produced. But, (to prevent confusion,) in the exemplar in which such his reasons are written, he will not be at liberty to write more than [NA] lines in any one page, referring the overplus, if any, to a separate paper: which paper, if published, will be published by himself, and at his own expense.
Art. 5. Lest, by any such exceptions, amendments, or explanations, dissent to the essence of the declaration should, under pretence of assent, be virtually expressed,—any other member of the Legislative Body may, at the time that such supposed virtually dissenting member is taking his seat, move that he may be considered as virtually refusing to officiate as member thereof: whereupon, if such be the judgment of the Assembly, his election will be declared of no avail, and the appropriate arrangements will be taken for the election of another deputy in his stead.
I. Ends aimed at.
I, A. L. in testimony of my attachment to the principles of the Constitution, do hereby make the solemn declaration following:
1. I recognise as the all-comprehensive, and only right and proper end of Government, the greatest happiness of the greatest number of the members of the community: of all without exception, in so far as possible: of the greatest number on every occasion on which the nature of the case renders it impossible, by rendering it matter of necessity to make sacrifice of a portion of the happiness of a few, to the greater happiness of the rest.
2. I acknowledge, as and for the specific and direct ends of Government, these which follow:—
I. Positive ends—maximization of subsistence, abundance, security against evil in every shape,—against evil from every source: against physical calamity, against human hostility; against hostility from external, against hostility from internal, adversaries; against hostility from internal resistible adversaries; against hostility from internal irresistible adversaries: for such, so long as they rule, and in proportion as they rule ill, are evil rulers: such,—unless by apt arrangements debarred from all hope of sinister success,—are and ever will be all rulers everywhere.
II. The all-comprehensive negative and collateral end of Government I acknowledge to be—avoidance or minimization of expense in every shape: in the shape of money; in the shape of unintended hardship; in the shape of intended hardship, intended for the purpose of punishment: minimization of expense,—as in the shape of punishment, so in the shape of reward and the matter of reward: seeing that, without certain hardship and eventual punishment, the matter of reward cannot be extracted from the grasp of individuals, and placed at the disposal of Government.
I acknowledge,—that, of all these indispensable ends, no one can be compassed, but by and in proportion to appropriate aptitude, on the part of the several functionaries of Government: more particularly on the part of those of the people’s upper servants, of whom I am one: appropriate aptitude in all its several shapes, moral, intellectual, and active: appropriate intellectual aptitude, in its two several shapes—knowledge and judgment. Appropriate moral aptitude, I acknowledge, it will be my own fault if, on any occasion, I fail to invest myself with: namely, by taking for the guides of my conduct the several above-mentioned ends: appropriate intellectual and active aptitude it shall be my diligent endeavour to invest myself with, according to the measure of my faculties.
These same uncontrovertible ends of all good government, I once more acknowledge accordingly, and in these few words bring together and recapitulate:—Greatest happiness of greatest number maximized; national subsistence, abundance, security, and equality maximized; official aptitude maximized: expense, in all shapes, minimized.
II. Appetites guarded against.
On my guard I will accordingly, on every occasion, keep myself, against the power of all those appetites, to the sinister influence of which, the inalterable nature of my situation keeps me so constantly and perilously exposed: appetite for power, appetite for money, appetite for factitious honour and dignity, appetite for vengeance at the expense of opponents, appetite for ease at the expense of duty.
Constant, in particular, will be my endeavours, to keep extinguished in my breast, all appetite for respect in every shape in which it is factitious. To pre-eminent respect at the hands of the community at large, I acknowledge no other title, than what is constituted by pre-eminent service:—service, proved and made universally manifest, by appropriate evidence. In the mass of those honours, or, as they are also called dignities, which are factitious,—I behold an instrument of unmerited triumph in the hands of those who share in them, of unjust depression on the part of all besides: the work of imposture, on the part of him by whom the draught for respect is drawn; of folly, on the part of him by whom it is paid.
III. Economy and Uncorruption Promised.
Unremitted shall, on every occasion, be my care, and my exertions, to keep the official establishment clear of all those drains, by which, in exorbitant excess, the substance of the people is drawn into the coffers of self-seated rulers, or unfaithful stewards: clear of all needless offices, of all useless offices, of all overpay of overpaid offices, of all dutiless offices, of all accumulation of offices in one hand: numbering among dutiless offices every case, in which, not serving in fact, a man serves in words, by deputy: the deputy being thus the working functionary, the principal an impostor, by whom money is obtained on a false pretence; nor moreover will I forget, that he who accepts a second office, holding at the same time one, for the exercise of which, the whole of his disposable time may eventually be requisite, manifests thereby his intention of neglecting the duties of one or both.
On the subject of official pay,—never will I cease to remember, that all pay, given to him who would serve equally well without pay, is given in waste: that the less a man is content to receive, for taking upon himself the duties of an office, the more conclusive is the evidence given, of his relish for the functions of it: that if, instead of receiving, he would be content to give, money for the occupation, the evidence would be still more conclusive,—the more so, the more he would be content to give for it: that the higher the pay of an office is, the greater the probability is, that the functions of it may be the object of his abhorrence, and every occasion embraced for avoiding the pain of exercising them: that, the higher the pay, the stronger the temptation to substitute,—and the more surely adequate the means, of substituting,—as far as possible, to the services due to the public, any such private occupations as to the individual are most agreeable: that, of the quantum of pay that will be satisfactory to a man, no other man can be so good a judge as he: that, if a comparatively indigent man is exposed to the temptation of breaking his trust for money,—so is the comparatively opulent man;—who moreover with more expensive habits, has proportionably augmented means of engaging accomplices and protectors: and that, as universal experience demonstrates, the most extravagantly paid of all functionaries have, everywhere, and at all times, been the most extravagant of prodigals, and the most rapacious of depredators.
Bearing in mind, that no desirable office, and in particular, that no lucrative office, can have place anywhere, without being a source of corruption;—of corruptingness in him by whom it is conferrible, of corruptedness in him by whom it is receivable;—bearing this in mind,—I will, were it only for this reason, keep my attention steadily bent, on the means of minimizing—as well the number, as the pay, of all such offices: never ceasing to remember, that, as waste produces corruption, so does corruption waste; till thus, by depredation, oppression, and dissipation, the body politic is exhausted, debilitated, destroyed.
In particular, in no act of waste, in no act of corruption, will I ever participate, under any such cloak, as that of a pension of retreat: never ceasing to remember, on how widely different a footing stands every such grant from that of the compensation, granted to military men, for disablement incurred in military service: knowing, and duly considering, that no such pay without service is ever received or looked for, by him whose means of subsistence are composed of the retribution received by individuals for services rendered to individuals; remembering, that no physician has any pension of retreat from his patients, handicraft from his employers, or shopkeeper from his customers,—nor yet is there any want of physicians, handicrafts, or shopkeepers.
As little, under any such notion as that of affording honour to the nation, dignity to its functionaries, encouragement to piety, to learning, to arts, to sciences, and in particular to fine arts, or merely curious sciences or literary pursuits,—as little, under any such delusive pretence, will I concur in laying burthens on the comparatively indigent many, for the amusement of the comparatively opulent few: at their own expense will I leave them to pursue the gratification of their own tastes.
In the application made of punishments, never will I concur, in afflicting with factitious affliction, a fellow-citizen, for no other cause than that of his differing from myself, or from others, on a matter of opinion, or on a matter of taste. No such privilege will I arrogate to myself as that of deciding what things he shall or shall not believe, or by what things he shall or shall not be pleased. By no such means will I ever seek to constitute my opinion the standard of other men’s opinions, my taste the standard of other men’s tastes.
Never, on the occasion of the treatment to be given to delinquents,—never will I suffer myself to be guided by any other wish or rule, than that by which a surgeon is guided in the treatment given to his patients. No more will I be guided by anger in the one case, than he is in the other. Never will I concur in administering, to any such patient of mine, pain, in any quantity, exceeding the least, that, in my eyes, is sufficient, for preserving the whole community, himself included, from pain in some greater quantity.
In my endeavours for the maximization of official appropriate aptitude, on the part of the several functionaries of the state in their several situations,—I will not forget the keeping all candidates for office, subjected, in the most public and universally satisfactory manner, to the most demonstrative tests, which, in the case of each Department, and each function of that Department the nature of the duty admits of: nor, on the occasion of whatever provision may be made for their appropriate instruction, will I be unmindful of the incontestible truths—that the only effectual security for appropriate aptitude with relation to any office, is the rendering such demonstration of it an indispensable condition to the attainment of that same office,—and that, in proportion as, in addition to adequate means, adequate inducements for the attainment of such aptitude are found by individuals at their own expense, all provision for that purpose, at the expense of the public, is probable corruption, as well as certain waste.
IV. Notoriety of Law to all, promised.
Mindful, that a portion of law, in relation to which, in proportion as it is known, it is known that execution will not be given to it, is no better than a dead letter; and that a law, in relation to which, while by some it is known, by others it is not known, that execution will be given to it, is so much worse than a dead letter as to be a cruel snare,—my sincere endeavours shall at all times be directed, to the keeping the field of Government clear of all such snares.
To this end, my anxious attention shall, at all times, be applied,—not only to the securing, to the text of the law, at all times, an extent corresponding and equal, to that of the whole aggregate of the obligations to which the people stand subjected,—but also to the keeping the whole mass of the law itself in such sort methodised and divided into parts, as that each individual may have in hand every portion of law in which he has a special interest in any shape, clear as possible of all matter in which he has not any such interest: the whole, in a form as clear, correct, complete, concise, and compact as possible: those parts of it, in which all persons have an immediate interest being, under all the variations which it may happen to them to undergo, kept in such a state, as that they may, without difficulty, form the matter of the earliest instruction administered in schools.
V. Justice, accessible to all, promised.
Mindful I shall ever be—that the services of Judicial functionaries, are the only instruments, by which execution can be given to the law, and security or redress to the citizen, against injury in any shape at the hands of internal adversaries.
Mindful, that upon this as upon any other sort of instruments, to impose a tax, is to deny the use of it to all who cannot pay the tax, and in this case to sell to all who can and will pay it, the power of employing the instrument in the destruction of those who cannot.
Mindful, that the effect of this denial is the same, whatever be the pocket that receives the produce of the tax.
Mindful, that to impose any such injury-promoting and security-denying prohibition, is to sell to the rich the means of irresistible and unpunishable aggression,—to deny to the poor the possibility of self-defence,—to establish oppression, to join in depredation, and to produce by law the evils of anarchy.
Mindful, that every particle of needless delay and vexation, introduced or left by the Legislator or the Judge, in the proceedings, produces the afflictive and prohibitive effect of a tax, without the profit of it.
Mindful, that where no intention of injury has place, on either side, the effect of every such tax, and of every such neglect, is to heap affliction upon affliction on both sides.
Sensible I am, that a Legislator is accessory to every injury, against which he withholds protection, as well as to every injury to which he gives or leaves facility:—sensible, that he is the accomplice of every oppressor and every depredator, into whose hands he thus puts an instrument of injury, or in whose power he places a victim, by keeping the means of redress out of his reach.
Bearing all these things in mind,—I promise and declare, that, on no occasion shall my diligent endeavours be wanting, to the keeping at all times excluded from the system of Judicature, not only every particle of expense purposely imposed, but every particle of needless delay and vexation, which, for want of such attention, may be liable to have place.
VI. Impartiality in Elections, promised.
On the Election of the several Ministers, in the filling of whose situations a Member of the Legislature has a vote,—namely, the Prime Minister, the Justice Minister, and the Legislation Minister,—I will, on each occasion, after the fullest and most impartial inquiry and consideration in my power,—with scrupulous fidelity, give my vote, in favour of that individual, in whom, in my judgment, the aggregate of appropriate aptitude, in all its several branches, has place in the highest degree; and who accordingly is, in the corresponding degree, able and willing to give execution and effect to the ordinances of the Legislature, in so far as guided by the principles in this my Declaration manifested.
VII. In International Dealings, Justice and Beneficence, promised.
On the occasion of the dealings of this our State with any other States,—sincerely and constantly shall my endeavours be directed to the observance of the same strict justice and impartiality, as on the occasion of the dealings of the Legislature with its Constituents, and other its fellow-countrymen, of this our State.
Never will I seek to add, to the opulence or power of this our State, at the expense of the opulence or power of any other State, any otherwise than, in the competition between individual and individual, each may, without injury, seek to advance his own prosperity in preference to that of the other.
All profit, by conquest in every shape, I acknowledge to be no other than robbery: robbery, having murder for its instrument; both operating upon the largest possible scale: robbery, committed by the ruling few in the conquering nation, on the subject many in both nations: robbery, of which, by the expense of armament, the people of the conquering nation are the first victims: robbery and murder, the guilt of which, as much exceeds the guilt of the crimes commonly called by those names, as the quantity of suffering produced in the one case exceeds the quantity produced in the other.
Seeing, that in all war, it is only through the sides of the unoffending many that the guilty few can ever receive a wound,—never will I, for any other purpose than that of national self-defence, or receipt of compensation for pecuniary damage actually sustained, consent to make war on any other State: nor yet for pecuniary damage, till all endeavours for the obtainment of compensation, in the way of arbitration or other means less destructive than general war, are hopeless: nor unless, if not prevented by war, future injury from the same source as the past, is actually apprehended by me.
Never will I consent to the receiving, under the dominion of this our State,—even though it were at the desire of the inhabitants,—any portion of territory, situate at any such disstance from the territory of this State, as to prevent any of the wants of the inhabitants of such other territory, from receiving, at the hands of the Supreme Legislature of this our State, relief as effectual, as that which they could receive, were their places of habitation situated within the pristine limits of the territory of this our State: regarding, as I do, all such dominion, as no better than an instrument, and device, for the accumulation of patronage and oppressive power, in the hands of the ruling few in the dominating State, at the expense, and by the sacrifice, of the interest and felicity, of the subject many, in both States.
No recognition of superiority, on the part of this our State, in relation to any other State, will I ever seek to procure, or consent to receive: no factitious honour or dignity will I seek to procure, or consent to receive, for this my own State, or any of its citizens, at the hands of any other State.
I acknowledge all honour to be false honour, all glory to be false glory, all dignity false dignity,—which is sought to be advanced, or maintained, at the expense of justice, probity, self-regarding prudence, or effective benevolence: I acknowledge all such words to be words of delusion, employed by rulers, for the purpose of engaging subject citizens to consent, or submit, to be led, for the purpose of depredation, to the commission of murder upon the largest scale: words, which, as often as they are employed, will, in proportion as the eyes of men are open to their true interests, reflect dishonour, more and more intense and extensive, on all those by whom they are thus employed.
On every favourable occasion,—my endeavours shall be employed to the rendering, to the subjects, and for their sake to the constituted Authorities, of every foreign State, all such positive good offices, as can be rendered thereto, without its being at the expense of some other State or States, or against the rightly presumable inclination, as well as at the expense, of the majority of my fellow-countrymen, in this our State.
Never, by force or intimidation, never by prohibition or obstruction, will I use any endeavour to prevent my fellow-countrymen, or any of them, from seeking to better their condition in any other part, inhabited or uninhabited, of this globe. In the territory of this State, I behold an asylum to all: a prison to none.
VIII. Impartiality, in the general exercise of power, promised.
On every occasion, in the exercise of this my vocation, sincere and anxious shall be my endeavour, to keep my mind as clear as may be, of undue partiality in every sense: of partiality in favour of any class or individual, to the injury of any other: of partiality, through self-regarding interest: of partiality, through interest inspired by sympathy: of partiality, through interest inspired by antipathy: more particularly will I be on my guard against partiality in favour of superiors, to the prejudice of inferiors: of superiors, in whatsoever scale of comparison: opulence, power, reputation, talent—natural or acquired.
In my conduct towards my fellow-countrymen, I will, on every occasion, in this my situation, apply my closest attention to the observance of the same strict rules, as if it were that of a Judge. Acting as a Legislator, I acknowledge myself to be acting as a Judge; bound, to the observance of the same inflexible impartiality in this case as in that: bound—but by ties, as much stronger, as the number of the persons, whose happiness is at stake, is greater.
IX. Assiduity, promised.
Mindful, that by absentation, half the effect of a vote on the wrong side is produced, I will not, on any occasion, by plea of sickness or other excuse, seek to exempt myself from the obligation of attendance.
X. Subordination to the Constitutive Authority, promised.
Never, except for the avoidance of determinate and clearly preponderant evil,—nor for that purpose but during the absolutely necessary time,—never will I concur, in withdrawing the proceedings of the Legislature, from the view and scrutiny of the people: the people its Constitutional superiors: the people—the only legitimate source of power: the people, by whose authority, for whose sake, and at whose expense, all power, conferred by this our Constitution, has been created.
XI. Encroachment on subordinate Authorities, abjured.
Sensible, that, if duly fulfilled, the duties specially attached to the situation of Member of the Supreme Legislative, never will or can cease to be sufficient to occupy the whole of a public man’s disposable time,—and that nothing but disobedience, tardiness, inaptitude, or casual and momentary want of time, on the part of Subordinates, can create, on the part of the Supreme Legislative, any such necessity as that of assuming to itself, in the whole or in part, business belonging to any one of their several departments:—strictly and constantly will I keep myself on my guard against every such temptation as that of acting, without necessity, in any part of the field of service belonging to any one of those several subordinate authorities; sensible, how prone, for want of such due caution, man in authority is to afford, in this way, to the appetite for patronage and oppressive power, an irregular and mischievous gratification. Saying this, I have in mind, in a particular and distinct manner, the functions and branches of business belonging to the several Departments subordinate to the Legislature; namely, the Administrative, the Judicial, and the Sub-legislative.
XII. Insincerity, abjured.
Never, by deception or delusion in any shape,—never will I seek, to compass any point, either in the framing of Legislative ordinances or other authoritative instruments, or in debate. In all such discourses, my endeavours shall be constantly directed to the giving to them the greatest degree of transparency, and thence of simplicity, possible.
On every occasion, it shall be among the objects of my endeavours, to keep my own discourse, and, as far as depends upon myself, the discourse of others, as pure as may be from the taint of fallacy: of fallacy in every shape; and in particular, in those shapes in which it is delineated in the Table of Fallacies, which, to this purpose, is kept hung up, to serve as a perpetual memento, for the use of all hearers, as well as of all speakers: of all persons judging, as well as of all functionaries judged.
XIII. Arrogance, abjured.
Acknowledging that I am but an Agent, chosen by my Constituents, to bear a part in the managing of such of their concerns, as the nature of the case places them under an incapacity of managing for themselves,—I arrogate not to myself any superiority over them, or any one of them, on that score.
Of no power or influence attached to my situation, will I ever avail myself, to any such personal and sinister purpose, as that of creating dependence, or exacting or receiving homage. To avoid wounding, by haughtiness of demeanour, the sensibility of such of my fellow-citizens, whose business brings them into communication with me, shall be among my sincere and constant cares.
[* ]Of a formulary of this sort, the chief use is to keep the Legislative and other constituted authorities in the more effectual subjection to the Constitutive: to wit, by means of the power of the moral sanction, as exercised by the Public-Opinion Tribunal,