Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XX.: USE TO BE MADE OF THE POWER OF EDUCATION. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 1 (Principles of Morals and Legislation, Fragment on Government, Civil Code, Penal Law)
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CHAPTER XX.: USE TO BE MADE OF THE POWER OF EDUCATION. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 1 (Principles of Morals and Legislation, Fragment on Government, Civil Code, Penal Law) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 1.
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USE TO BE MADE OF THE POWER OF EDUCATION.
Education is only government acting by means of the domestic magistrate.
The analogies between a family and a kingdom are of a kind which are obvious at the first glance. The differences are less striking, but it is not less useful to indicate them:—
1. Domestic government may be more active, more vigilant, more occupied with details, than civil government. Without continued attention, families could not subsist.
Civil authority has nothing better to trust to than a reliance upon the prudence of individuals in the conduct of their personal interests. But the head of a family must continually supply the inexperience of those committed to his care.
It is here that censorship may be exercised; a policy which we have condemned in civil governments. Domestic government may keep, from those subject to it, knowledge which might become hurtful to them: it may watch over their connexions and their reading; it may accelerate or retard the progress of their knowledge, according to circumstances.
2. This continued exercise of power, which would be subject to so many abuses in a state, is much less subject to them in the interior of a family: indeed, the father or the mother have for their children a natural affection, much stronger than that of the civil magistrate for the persons who are subordinate to him. Indulgence is in them the most frequent movement in nature; severity is only the result of reflexion.
3. Domestic government may employ punishment in many circumstances, in which civil authority could not. The head of a family knows individuals; the legislator knows only the species. The one proceeds upon certainties, the other upon presumptions. A certain astronomer may perhaps be capable of solving the problem of the longitude: can the civil magistrate know this? ought he to direct him to solve it, and to punish him if he do not? But the private tutor may know if his pupil understand an elementary problem in geometry—that obstinacy has put on the mask of impotence. The tutor can scarcely be deceived; the magistrate necessarily would be so.
In the same manner, there are many vices which the public magistrate cannot repress, because it would require the establishment of offices of detection in every family. The private magistrate, having under his eyes, under his hands, those whom he is charged to conduct, may stop in their origin those vices which the laws can only punish in their last excess.
4. It is especially in the power of rewarding, that these two governments differ. All the wants, all the amusements of youth, may be clothed with a remuneratory character, according to the manner in which they are bestowed, upon certain conditions, after certain work is done. In the island of Minorca, the subsistence of the young boys is made dependent upon their skill with the bow. The honour of suffering in public was, among the Lacedemonians, one of the prizes for virtue among the youthful warriors. There is no government so rich as to do much by rewards: there is no father so poor as not to possess an inexhaustible store of them.
It is especially in youth, that season of lively and durable impressions, that the legislator ought to keep in view the directing of the course of the inclinations towards those things which are most conformable to the public interest.
In Russia, the young nobility have been seen engaged in the public service by means as powerful as they were well imagined. There have arisen, perhaps, fewer good effects as respects military spirit, than as respects civil life. They have been accustomed to order, to vigilance, to subordination. It has obliged them to leave their retreats, where they exercised a corrupting domination over slaves, and placed them upon a wider theatre, where they have met with equals and superiors. The necessity of association has given rise to the desire to please; the mingling of different conditions has diminished reciprocal prejudices; and the pride of birth has been obliged to bow before the gradations of service. An unlimited despotism, as that of Russia was, could not fail to gain by being converted into a military government, in which authority has its limits.
Hence, in the given circumstances of that empire, it was difficult to discover a plan of general education which would answer more useful objects.
But in regarding education as an indirect mode of preventing offences, it requires an essential reform. The most neglected class must become the principal object of care. The less parents are able to discharge this duty, the more necessary is it for government to fulfil it. It ought not only to watch over orphans left in indigence, but also over the children whose parents no longer deserve the confidence of the law with regard to this important charge—over those who have already committed crimes, or who, destitute of protectors and resources, are given up to all the seduction of misery. These classes, absolutely neglected in most states, become the hotbeds of crime.
A man of rare benevolence, Le Chevalier Paulet, had formed an establishment at Paris for more than two hundred children, whom he took from among the most indigent class among the beggars. Every thing turned upon four principles:—To offer to the pupils many objects of study and labour, and allow the greatest possible latitude to their tastes;—to employ them in reciprocal instruction, by presenting to the pupil the honour of becoming master in his turn, as the greatest recompense for his progress;—to entrust all the domestic service to them, in order to unite the double advantage of their instruction and economy;—to govern them by themselves, and to place each one under the inspection of one older, in such manner as to render them securities for each other. In this establishment, every thing wore the appearance of liberty and happiness; there were no other punishments than forced idleness, and a change of dress.* The more advanced pupils were as interested in its success as its founder, and every thing advanced towards perfection, when the revolution overwhelmed this little colony amid its public disasters.
Greater extent might be given to institutions of this kind, and they might be rendered less expensive, either by multiplying the number of workmen in them, or by keeping the pupils until the age of eighteen or twenty-one, that they might have time to pay for the expense of their education, and to contribute to that of those who were younger.
Schools upon this plan, instead of costing the state any thing, might become lucrative enterprises. But it would be necessary to interest the pupils themselves in their labour, by paying them nearly the same as free labourers, and by forming for them a saving fund, to be given them when they leave the establishment.
[* ]The two punishments employed were called, one the little idleness, the other the great idleness. Nothing could be more ingenious than thus giving to punishment itself the name and character of a vice: the salutary association of ideas which results from it, is immediately perceived.